Drug Dealers in Lab Coats

For decades, America has waged an ineffective war on drug pushers and drug lords, from Bronx street corners to Medellin, Colombia, regarding them as among the most contemptible specimens of humanity. One reason our efforts have failed is we ignored the biggest drug pushers of all: American pharmaceutical companies. Our policy was: You get 15 people hooked on opioids, and you’re a thug who deserves to rot in hell; you get 150,000 people hooked, and you’re a marketing genius who deserves a … [Read more...]

Preventing the Next American Gun Tragedy: One Mother’s Story

The attack in Las Vegas earlier this month was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with 58 dead and hundreds of people injured. While the families of the victims and Americans around the country grieve the catastrophic loss of life, legislators and lobbyists are already strategizing how to use this shooting as a catalyst for pushing their gun policies. Whether it is a pro-gun stance to endow schools and businesses with weapons of their own, an anti-gun position to reduce gun … [Read more...]

Ex-Inmates Behind Push for California Employers to ‘Ban the Box’

  Many of the 7 million Californians with a prior arrest or conviction likely can relate to Sandra Johnson’s job hunting experience nearly a decade ago. On every employment application, she checked a box that inquired about criminal history. “It was terribly hard,” the 59-year-old mother and grandmother said of the months she spent seeking work after completing a San Francisco drug treatment program. “I would go and apply and I would never hear back because that box was always … [Read more...]

Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017

With growing public attention to the problem of mass incarceration, people want to know about women’s experience with incarceration. How many women are held in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in the United States? And why are they there? While these are important questions, finding those answers requires not only disentangling the country’s decentralized and overlapping criminal justice systems, but also unearthing the frustratingly hard to find and often altogether missing … [Read more...]

Black Identity Extremists and the Dark Side of the FBI

Leaked documents remind us of the agency’s history of dirty tricks. ecent political developments have helped put the FBI in a favorable light. The agency and its leadership have been praised for its performance throughout the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Former director James Comey affirmed the agency’s fundamental goodness in a letter to his colleagues after he was relieved of his post President Trump. “I have said to you before that, in … [Read more...]

Both Red and Blue States Rely on Prison Labor

Earlier this month, Steve Prator, who heads the sheriff’s office in Caddo Parrish, one of the largest in Louisiana, held a press conference in which he bemoaned the state’s newly passed prison reforms, which could reduce the inmate population by as much as 10 percent by gradually releasing nonviolent offenders who would be eligible for a new early-release program. Why? Apparently, he didn’t want the parish to lose its captive labor pool. “That’s the ones you can work,” Prator said of the … [Read more...]

New Police Crimes Database Provides Law Enforcement Accountability Tool

n September, Bowling Green State University in Ohio published the country’s first online police crime database. It’s a small but noteworthy milestone for groups like Black Lives Matter who have called for greater law enforcement accountability as police brutality and the shootings of African Americans by officers have continued to dominate headlines. The Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database covers a seven-year period from 2005 to 2012 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia: 8,006 … [Read more...]

What Is Prison Like for Women and Girls?

or the past few years, America has started to take a closer look at our soaring prison population. Decades of tough-on-crime policies mean we now incarcerate 2.3 million people — the highest rate of imprisonment in the world. And who are the fastest-growing group of prisoners in the U.S.? Women and girls. The U.S. makes up just 5 percent of the global population, yet nearly one-third of all the female prisoners in the entire world are here in America. There are more than 200,000 women and … [Read more...]

100,000 U.S. Prisoners Trapped in Isolation Units

here are nearly 100,000 people being held in solitary confinement today in America’s prisons. They are locked up in cramped, often windowless cells for nearly 24 hours a day. They eat alone. They exercise alone in small fenced-in areas known as cages or dog runs. They are almost completely segregated from the mainstream population and there are no programs available to them. Most aren’t allowed to make phone calls to loved ones. And they are often subject to extreme and excessive punishment, … [Read more...]

The FBI’s New U.S. Terrorist Threat: ‘Black Identity Extremists’

s white supremacists prepared to descend on Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, the FBI warned about a new movement that was violent, growing, and racially motivated. Only it wasn’t white supremacists; it was “black identity extremists.” Amid a rancorous debate over whether the Trump administration has downplayed the threat posed by white supremacist groups, the FBI’s counterterrorism division has declared that black identity extremists pose a growing threat of premeditated violence against … [Read more...]