The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism
The Washington County Detention Center — one of the largest jails in Arkansas — released a third of its inmates, including some homeless detainees, over a 10-day span to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak behind bars.
For some, getting released from incarceration means getting to go home to their families. For others, it means a new sentence to homelessness, unemployment and missed opportunities.
People living in outdoor homeless encampments should not be evicted during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus unless they can be moved to individual housing units, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended.
The United States was the only country to condemn minors to life in prison with no chance for parole. In recent years the Supreme Court has ruled this unconstitutional. Yet more than 2,000 so-called juvenile lifers remain in prison in what the court says is cruel and unusual punishment.
In most states parole commissions decide who should be released. Only three require the governor to sign paroles. Each state has handled the court’s rulings differently.
Former Gov. Parris Glendening’s “life means life” policy changes criminal sentences for hundreds of prisoners. It is a decision he calls “a mistake,” but its impact continues to this day.
Urban heat islands vividly illustrate the price humans will pay in the world’s growing climate crisis. With an abundance of concrete and little shade, they get hotter faster and stay hotter longer. And the people who live there are often sicker, poorer and less able to protect themselves.