In Natural Disasters, Are Inmates Expendable?

Prisoner rights advocates say the safety of inmates in areas threatened by climate change is dangerously low on the priorities of disaster planners. Exhibit A, they argue, are the thousands of prisoners in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico who were among the victims of this fall’s devastating hurricanes.

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America’s Expensive Prisons

Does shrinking the size of prison populations save taxpayers money? Not always, says a study released May 23 by the Vera Institute of Justice. The study found that 25 states increased their spending on prisons even though the nation’s overall prison population has declined.

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White, Rural Counties Become New US Incarceration Leaders

Prison admissions of offenders from big cities have declined sharply over the past decade–by 36 percent in Indianapolis, 37 percent in Brooklyn, 69 percent in Los Angeles County, and 93 percent in San Francisco. The reverse is true many less populous places. A New York Times analysis shows people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than city dwellers, raising questions about equal protection.


‘The Worst Way to Address Mental Illness’

More than 350,000 people with severe psychiatric conditions are currently languishing in the nation’s jails and prisons. Could early intervention have prevented them from landing behind bars?

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How Prisons Trap the Mentally Ill

Our country’s jails and prisons house 356,000 people with serious mental illnesses. Most would be better off outside—if there were sufficient funds for mental health treatment programs.