Downsizing Prisons

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In the American Prospect, Robert Dirnan surveys the alarming growth of the prison population in the United States, and the various problems that’s quite obviously causing. The piece ends with a rousing call to arms: “The time to act is now.” Okay, but what? My preferred solution is to focus on the parole process; according to a 2002 Justice Department study on recidivism, 51.8 percent of released prisoners get right back in within three years. And about half of those are put back in prison for technical violations of parole—oftentimes they don’t even need to commit a crime, they can just miss a few meetings with their case officer. Pretty clearly, attacking this problem would be one of the easiest ways to keep the exploding prison population under control. The question is whether state budget crunches are going to lead governors and state legislatures to seek out actual solutions; but both inertia and vested interests augur for continuing to expand prisons without bound.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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