Petty Charges, Princely Profits

The Marshall Project reporter Joseph Neff obtained data offering a rare glimpse into how private companies profit from the steady march of low-level offenders into Mississippi jails. Over 18 recent months, this industry took in $43 million, with 36% of revenues generated from small bonds in a state where the average income is under $22k. Corbett Bonding, the largest company and a major focus on this story, has a troubling cozy relationship with jails and courts in the state.

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Shackled: Refugees are Being Jailed at the Ankle

Often when a person thinks about GPS ankle shackles, that person thinks about people who’ve committed deadly crime. What many people don’t know is that over 30,000 people wearing GPS ankle shackles are undocumented people. Many of those thousands are asylum seekers. That’s right, people who are fleeing persecution and who come to America as refugees now must walk around with this stigmatizing device on their ankle.

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Olivia Thompson
Shackled: The Realities of Home Imprisonment

Typically release from prison is a good thing. No one wants to be holed up in a small, dirty cell with a stranger, away from family and friends. Some people, particularly innocent people, are so desperate to get out of a cell that they’ll plead guilty to charges they’re innocent of, because probation is cheaper than electronic monitoring. For others who are in no better financial predicament but who have many responsibilities or dependents who rely on them, ankle monitoring is the only alternative to incarceration.

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Olivia Thompson
Alice Marie Johnson is Commuted

In our line of work, we don't get good news too often so we love to celebrate victories when they happen.

This one is special: President Trump pardoned Alice Marie Johnson, who served 21 years of a life sentence without parole for a single non-violent drug offense.

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How 7 Million People have been Penalized for being Poor

More than 7 million people nationwide may have had their driver’s licenses suspended for failure to pay court or administrative debt, a practice that advocates say unfairly punishes the poor, a Washington Post analysis found. About 10 percent of that total involved residents of Virginia, Maryland and the District.

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John Legend and Rashad Robinson: End money bail now

Dismantling the commercial bail industry is a steep hill to climb. Prosecutors, mayors, legislators and governors across the country are responding to the community-led movement for bail reform and reconsidering the role of money bail in our justice system.

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New Federal Prison Policies May Put Books and Email on Ice

World Book and Copyright Day falls on April 23rd each year. To mark the occasion, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, observed that "Books are at the intersection of some of the most essential human freedoms, primarily freedom of expression and freedom to publish. These are fragile freedoms. "

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Historic Resolution Agreement Made in Alabama to Reform Money Bail

A historic Resolution Agreement was reached yesterday with the United States Department of Justice and the Tenth Judicial District of Alabama, requiring the use of risk-based assessments and pretrial alternative services rather than monetary means to determine which defendants are released prior to trial.

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Alternative Facts

Our national conversation can be a little bleak these days. Continually fighting the good fight – against poverty, inequality in our justice system, or any of your own personal causes – can be exhausting, frustrating and downright infuriating. So, here’s your chance to join us for a little levity and add some color back to our national picture.

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Stephanie Storey