As the pandemic threatens the lives of those behind bars, the country must confront a system that has never had rehabilitation as its priority.
A new approach to fighting the opioid crisis as it quietly rages on
Crime-free-housing programs are quietly giving police widespread influence over landlords and their tenants.
Harvey Weinstein may be headed to prison, but few women will ever see their perpetrators brought to justice.
A class developed in Duluth, Minnesota, has heavily influenced how domestic abusers are rehabilitated across the U.S. But critics question whether it works.
Drug companies are courting jails and judges through sophisticated marketing efforts.
Paroled from prison, Kelly Savage entered a world that could feel as restrictive as the one she left.
Incarcerated people who are dying can apply for “compassionate release” in some states—but very few of them get it. This is the story of one who did.
Women in jail typically have limited prenatal support and return to custody soon after giving birth. One program is testing a different approach.
A nonprofit is trying to match newly released prisoners with hosts who can support them. But it’s hard to find funding for unconventional ideas.
Slack, one of Silicon Valley’s more diverse companies, has hired three formerly incarcerated coders.
Where mistrust between communities and law enforcement runs high, can people with criminal histories bridge the gap?
Arrestees who are mentally incompetent to stand trial are supposed to be sent for treatment. But thousands are being warehoused in jails for months without a conviction.
Jails and prisons are becoming substance-abuse treatment facilities—even for those who haven’t been accused of a crime.
Bill Clinton took responsibility for contributing to mass incarceration. He has yet to say he’s sorry for his role in mass deportation.
My friend Twist and I are both incarcerated. But I’m getting a college degree, and he, like most prisoners in recent decades, hasn’t been able to.
Dozens of states and D.C. have restricted when companies can ask about job applicants’ criminal records—but many aren’t following the rules.
When a longtime resident started stealing her neighbors’ Amazon packages, she entered a vortex of smart cameras, Nextdoor rants, and cellphone surveillance.
As a progressive district attorney in one of the reddest states, Dallas County’s John Creuzot is a controversial figure.
Teens are paying the price for school-shooting threats—whether they’re real or not.
Imprisoned for decades for a crime he committed as a juvenile, “Red Dog” Fennell was released as an old man into a baffling world.
One company has become the biggest provider of jail health care. Sheriffs are worried: “If you’re the only dance in town, you can pretty much call your own shots.”
Why aren’t more cities using it?
FOIA documents and a whistle-blower uncover how the Obama and Trump administrations used solitary in ways that critics say are arbitrary, cruel, and in violation of federal rules.
A campaign for suffrage is growing inside prisons. Is anyone listening?
How a Pakistani-born retired pilot took on a controversial, data-driven policing program in Los Angeles—and won
A set of unusual cases in North Carolina brings new attention to racism in death-penalty trials.
Violence perpetrated by cops doesn’t simply boil down to individual bad actors—it’s also a systemic, judicial failing.
When a Nashville officer killed a black man, his mother and other activists didn’t just seek an indictment—they fought to give citizens oversight of the whole police department.
While cities are trying to reform their criminal-justice systems, smaller, more far-flung locales are struggling to provide basic services.
What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them
Garry McFadden is taking a stand. But will North Carolina’s legislature strip his office of the powers he’s using?
Many states and cities are putting Americans’ fates in the hands of algorithms.
In 1987, the Supreme Court came within one vote of eliminating capital punishment in Georgia based on evidence of racial disparities. Instead, it created a precedent that civil-rights advocates have been fighting for decades.
Republican state legislators across the country have joined with Democrats to ban capital punishment—including in New Hampshire, which recently became the 21st state to end the practice.
New laws in New York and elsewhere could keep women out of prison for crimes against their abusers.
Activists have swept a new wave of prosecutors into office. Is the focus now shifting to the judiciary?
The justices strike a blow against policing for profit.
The “permanent campaign” made some Republicans fear being cast as soft on crime.
Roughly half of the state could be designated as reservation land. No one’s sure what that would mean for Native inmates whose crimes occurred within those boundaries.
Why were police officers called to the scene in the first place?
A reader weighs in on the Chicago Police Department’s culture of intimidation, and describes her own experience processing the shooting of the 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
For the first time, police have compelled a suspect to unlock his phone using Face ID. The case reveals an interesting inversion: More advanced password technology is less protected from police seizure.
A white policeman was convicted of murder in the killing of a black teen—an outcome that goes against the many forces aligned to prevent the officer from facing consequences.
They worry that algorithms used to determine a person’s flight risk will only perpetuate racial discrimination.
A ballot amendment in the November election could restore voting rights to 1.5 million felons in Florida, one of just three states that permanently bars felons from voting.
The unicorn start-up Slack is launching an apprenticeship program for formerly incarcerated people. But will the industry ever hire from the inside en masse?
It doesn’t make the police or public any safer. But figuring that out exposed the dearth of useable data on law-enforcement practices.
The change may be the biggest help to low-income students of color, who are disproportionately likely to have been convicted of a crime.
In America’s deadliest big city, the task of announcing each new murder falls to police spokesman T. J. Smith. One year ago, he confronted a killing like no other.
Across political, racial, and geographic lines, more Americans seem ready to move past the age of mass incarceration.
Joe Arpaio made his name by building a harsh jail in the desert. Now, Trump is promising to take his punitive approach to immigration national.
On Tuesday, the district attorney in Durham, North Carolina, dismissed all remaining charges in the August case. What does that mean for the future of statues around the country?
At the height of the Black Power movement, the Bureau focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.
Officers involved in fatal incidents keep getting acquitted, but a team of Baltimore cops who stole from suspects and taxpayers alike during a years-long criminal spree are facing serious jail time.
This week a detective gave stunning testimony about abuses by the city’s gun-trace task force and an officer was charged with fabricating evidence.
The COMPAS tool is widely used to assess a defendant’s risk of committing more crimes, but a new study puts its usefulness into perspective.
Under Governor Terry McAuliffe, the state embarked on a campaign to grant clemency more often, and to restore the civil rights of convicted felons.
The public wants it, and the Tenth Amendment demands it.
Although only 7 percent of non-citizens in the U.S. are black, they make up 20 percent of those facing deportation on criminal grounds.
“The consensus that we would do this, that we would all do it, gives us cover that we wouldn’t be labeled as liberal or too soft on defendants.”
Young offenders in juvenile detention don’t get the best education. But those held in solitary confinement can go weeks, even months, without any instruction at all.
“Implicit bias” training is spreading to departments around the country, the theory being it can influence officer behavior on the street. But it’s still not clear that the classes actually work.
Areas that are changing economically often draw more police—creating conditions for more surveillance and more potential misconduct.
A policy that seemed like common sense yielded perverse consequences.
A Massachusetts case illustrates the glaring difference between the medical community’s approach to addiction and the laws on the books in the United States.
Why? Because there's very little known about the thousands of victims who survive deadly shootings.
It’s one of several ways local officials are trying to reform a bail system that the state largely controls.
Why clemency advocates don’t have high hopes under the current administration
Daniel Shaver was unarmed and begging for his life. This week, a jury found the police officer who killed him not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
They’ve helped combat the flames since World War II. But with more—and more intense—fire seasons still ahead, a series of prison reforms have cut their ranks.
Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump’s agenda are inspiring some police to more vocal advocacy. But their project—ending racial bias in the profession—is a decades-old one.
Daniel Shaver begged officers not to shoot him. What role will his death play in the push for law-enforcement reforms?
A Q&A with Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who insists his 40-year-old squad is still relevant in a safer-than-ever city
Justices found common ground in asserting the relevance of the Fourth Amendment in the electronic age, even as they cited sharply different rationales.
Officials in Louisiana have embraced a much softer approach to school discipline than they did just a few years ago. And suspensions are down dramatically.
Training programs help officers brush up on policing techniques and best practices. But in one instructor’s course, they study literature, history, and philosophy instead.
The state has “one of the best and most impressive bail statutes in the entire country.” Trouble is, in the most populous city, the courts don’t actually follow it.
Bipartisan support is still no guarantee that a bill to strengthen the federal background-check system will pass.
State bar associations often have ambiguous character requirements that preclude their admission.
The energy in the firearms debate remains on the side of inaction.
If it seems like the shootings are becoming more frequent, it might be because mass murder can catch on like an epidemic.
Larry Krasner is a longtime defense attorney with zero prosecutorial experience who made his career suing law enforcement.
A new report shows how far the rest of the U.S. has to go to catch up on bail reform.
Recent reports highlight school disciplinary practices and suggest ways to stop them.
A debate over mens rea stalled the last push for reform. Now, a similar battle could be brewing.
A new TV spot in the Virginia gubernatorial election captures an unusual political moment for criminal-justice reform.
The most incarcerated city in the most incarcerated state is experimenting with programs to reduce its jail population. And so far, they seem to be working.
Since last year, a detention center in Philadelphia has had one of the strictest visitation policies in the country. “Now it’s a different world in there,” one local lawyer said.
The Supreme Court will resolve a standoff between Microsoft and federal prosecutors who want access to customer data stored in Ireland.
The Manhattan district attorney has come under fire for campaign donations he received—one from Harvey Weinstein's lawyer and others from a Trump family attorney.
The next district attorney of Philadelphia plans to condone safe-injection sites, where people can use the drug under medical supervision.
The state still disenfranchises more of its eligible voters than any other—but this year, it has the chance to change that.
In the new term, which starts Monday, the justices will hear cases on digital privacy, qualified immunity, and other major criminal-justice issues.
A new federal report explains why the number of people jailed for unpaid fines can’t be fully quantified across the U.S.
In many jurisdictions, cops’ noncompliance with the law has led to strain and miscommunication with the deaf community.
Violence in a few major cities drove the national murder rate higher in 2016, according to new FBI statistics.
How will law enforcement handle the deluge of new information available from DNA?
In Durham, the sheriff and district attorney appear divided over whether civil disobedience deserves greater leniency from the judicial system.
Despite the Sixth Amendment, in many jurisdictions, defendants don’t get legal representation the first time they go to court.
Apple’s new Face ID technology raises questions about constitutional protections for personal devices.
A Florida sheriff department's plan to check warrants at shelters could risk lives among evacuees and first responders alike.
When DNA evidence exonerated two men convicted in a 1987 murder, one took his chances on a retrial to overturn his conviction. The other accepted a special deal and left prison immediately—as a convicted killer.
The average prisoner has neither the power to compel transportation to court nor the money to hire an attorney. But one Chicago court may have found a fix.
A forensic veterinarian is on a mission to convince law enforcement that people who harm pets often commit other serious crimes.
A new high-security facility in Auckland flips the incentives on for-profit incarceration to keep inmates from returning.
A Q&A with Georgetown University professor Marc Morjé Howard on parole boards’ incentive to keep inmates in jail
Trump picked the notorious Arizona lawman for his first-ever act of presidential absolution.
Neo-Nazis and counter-protesters alike think that local and state police should have done a better job keeping violence from breaking out over the weekend.
But only if officials at all levels of government are willing to invest in it up front.
As jails install systems that let inmates videochat with "visitors" no matter where they may be, it’s private companies that appear to have the most to gain.
This is the age of the plea bargain—and millions of Americans are suffering the consequences.
The practice has its roots in “broken windows”-style policing.
In Philadelphia and other cities, prosecutors have formed “conviction review units”—special teams that reinvestigate cases they may have gotten wrong.
The president suggests he sees the rule of law as an impediment to getting tough on crime.
A new law could alleviate hardship for those thrown into debt—or jail—because of mounting fines. But does it go far enough?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions expanded the controversial police practice on Wednesday by rolling back Obama-era reforms.
To combat crime on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the tribe is considering partnering with area law enforcement. But the proposal would need to overcome members’ wariness of state encroachment on their sovereignty.
Governor Dannel Malloy’s allies worry the policy changes implemented under his watch will be undone once he leaves office.
The U.S. Supreme Court has spent a decade limiting the harshest sentence given to juvenile offenders. But state supreme courts are still grappling with how those rulings should play out.
A new report lays out design guidelines for community-based “justice hubs”—jails that create positive effects inside and outside their walls.
Federal appeals courts covering half of U.S. states have now ruled that Americans have a First Amendment right to videotape encounters with law enforcement.
Through a suburban Philadelphia program, they learn how to help their relatives' criminal defense—and do some of the nitty-gritty work lawyers would typically handle.
Why didn’t the fall of former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams on fraud and corruption charges doom his reform-minded agenda?
In a 302-page opinion this week, a federal judge in Montgomery condemned the dire conditions faced by prisoners with mental illnesses.
A new study finds that adults view them as less child-like and less in need of protection than their white peers.
In a new paper, researchers dispute a popular argument for arming everyday citizens. “There is not even the slightest hint in the data that [these] laws reduce violent crime,” they write.
Opponents of the practice won a series of notable cases at the U.S. Supreme Court this term, even as total victory in their war against the death penalty moved further out of reach.
And if so, why won’t the justice system or the NRA stand up for it?
A class-action lawsuit in Illinois argues that medical treatment inside the state’s corrections system puts inmates “at risk of pain, injury, and death.”
Local jails in smaller counties are seeing enormous growth. A new report explains why.
On the Hill, the president’s adviser and son-in-law is seen as the best chance to get support from the White House.
In exchange for coverage, insurers can demand that police departments implement new policies and training, and dismiss problem officers.
Most pretrial detainees in Philadelphia’s jails are there for breaking the terms of their court supervision—not because they can’t afford bail.
Louisiana just passed a suite of prison-reform bills, but that may not put a huge dent in incarceration rates.
Some police chiefs are concerned that the legislation may harm efforts to stop crime rather than helping.
The deal: $400 a week to stay in school. Is it worth it?
A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative shows that the populations of local jails are swelling for reasons that have little to do with crime.
States are grappling with how to care for a growing population of registered offenders in long-term care facilities.
The women left out of national conversations about misconduct and reform
The attorney general doesn’t plan on using his oversight authority to monitor and intervene in local departments. Can states compensate for that absence?
The president’s budget proposal calls for the hiring of more prosecutors, more immigration judges, and more federal marshals.
The National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys lobbied against the last major push for criminal-justice reform in Congress. Now their former president is working in the Justice Department.
As assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, Sheriff David Clarke might have less direct authority than he wields over inmates in the county jails.
The U.S. Supreme Court could soon consider whether police can review a cellphone’s whereabouts without a warrant.
As indictments loom over Milwaukee County Jail after a high-profile death in custody, the county’s controversial sheriff is moving into a role in the Department of Homeland Security.
Larry Krasner has big goals for the city’s justice system. But there’s no telling if he’ll succeed where others have failed.
California’s steep penalties help generate funding for government programs. But they’ve come with an additional cost.
A new report finds that the global insurance companies underwriting bonds are reaping their rewards while shouldering virtually none of their risk.
The U.S. attorney general is bringing back the harshest sentences for low-level drug offenses, rejecting Obama-era reforms.
The jail is a microcosm of everything wrong with America’s criminal-justice system—but may also offer a model for how it can be righted.
A California nonprofit uses lessons on Latin American heritage to keep at-risk youth on the straight and narrow.
A handful of cities and states are funding pro-bono legal counsel for deportation proceedings—and making a political statement about the Trump administration in the process.
A new project from The Atlantic focuses on efforts across the United States to move beyond the age of mass incarceration.
Side effects include inordinately powerful prosecutors and infrequent access to jury trials.
A new “restorative justice” court in Chicago will test this idea, by soliciting broader input on how offenders can make amends and stay out of jail.
A new book examines how black communities inadvertently helped lay the groundwork for mass incarceration.
Critics accuse federal judges of too easily trusting law enforcement in cases involving excessive force. This week, the Supreme Court declined its chance to echo—or dismiss—that allegation.
Alabama could soon create something unprecedented in American legal history: a police department run by a church.
One researcher argues that issuing professional licenses to law enforcement improves the oversight of local departments.
Over the 11th-hour objections of the Justice Department, a federal judge signs off on a deal to overhaul the troubled law enforcement agency.
New legislation in Pennsylvania would change the now-costly and time-consuming process—and mitigate the employment obstacles people face when they cannot shake their old convictions.
The Supreme Court justice reiterated his wariness of the controversial police tactic earlier this month. A new Justice Department report seems to support his concern.