the stand

A Prisoners’ Pen Pal Finds Making Connections is a ‘Beautiful Thing’

For four decades, a Syracuse, N.Y. woman has been writing letters to death row inmates and other prisoners, enriching their lives and hers. But things got a little more personal when she began writing to someone who was a student at an elementary school where she once worked.

muslim

How the Law Complicates Tracking Hate in Oregon

Some hate crimes are so heinous there’s no debate about whether they should be prosecuted. But the law isn’t always so clear-cut for police. Oregon is a good example.

handcuff

After Raise the Age, Where Will Adolescent Offenders Go?

New York has finally joined other states in barring 16- and 17-year-olds who get in trouble with the law from being tried as adults. But now officials are scrambling to find a secure place to house them and keep them out of the justice system.

jail

Rural Jails and Mental Health: The Hardest Challenge

Jail officials in rural communities frequently cope with staff shortages, overcrowding and budget shortfalls—all of which make it especially difficult to meet the needs of mentally ill inmates. One official in northeast Nebraska says the problem is the worst he can remember in nearly four decades.  

toilet roll

Billion-Dollar Prison Budget, But Where’s the Toilet Paper?

Women in Arizona’s state prison complex at Perryville claim that chronic shortages of toilet paper force them to use wash rags instead. Authorities deny the allegations, but a state representative blames cost-cutting and a correctional culture that is largely “designed for men.”

‘Never Give Up:’ A Returning Citizen Finds Hope After Prison

Obtaining a steady job has been a struggle for former Syracuse, N.Y. parolee Shallah “Brooklyn” Beal, who was released in 2016 after serving three years for assault. But he discovered that the first, and hardest challenge, is to break down the emotional walls he built in prison—and learn to trust in himself.

MeToo

Do White Men Still Have a Singular Claim to Power in Politics?

In a new podcast, titled “The Dream Was Not Mine,” on The United States of Anxiety, produced by WNYC studios, Amanda Aronczyk and Nancy Solomon explore how midterm elections could be affected by the rise of women pushing back against sexual and domestic abuse in politics and in the White House.

Leann Bertsch

North Dakota Changes the Rules on Solitary

In a response to the growing consensus that the practice of solitary confinement  is cruel and ineffective, North Dakota has reduced the number of infractions that sends prisoners into isolation—and has changed how inmates are treated if they are sent into “administrative segregation.” The reforms came after a visit by Leann Bertsch, the state’s prison chief, to Norway.