Inside New Orleans' 'Debtors' Prison' System

City courts have been banking on fines levied against defendants who can’t afford to pay them. A federal class-action lawsuit calls this illegal.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Should People With Criminal Histories Be Banned From Public Housing?

HUD Secretary Juliàn Castro says the agency is reconsidering rules that make it difficult for ex-offenders to access public housing.

Photo courtesy Jackson Free Press via WAPT, used by permission

The Sagging-Pants-to-Prison Pipeline

Yes, this is really a thing.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The Long, Ugly History of 'Law and Order' Candidates

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rhetoric carries with it a deeply unsubtle context.

AP/Mel Evans

Saggy Pants and 'Respectability Politics' in Dadeville, Alabama

Policing the appearance of marginalized communities is an American tradition. Making it actual law can have life-destroying consequences.


Mass Incarceration, Visualized

Sociologist Bruce Western explains why the rate of incarceration is so high for young black men in the U.S.

Lawrence Bryant/Reuters

One Way Forward for Ferguson Is Clear—And Still Impossible

The Ferguson Commission’s new report makes the simple case for consolidating the municipalities that make up St. Louis County.


How Hamilton, Ohio, Produced 'Slim Jesus'

The rising teenage “drill rap” star comes from a tiny, economically depressed, mostly white city with lots of guns and one high school.

REUTERS/Richard Clement

Can We Talk About Urban Violence Without the Word 'Black'?

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and NFL stars Ray Lewis and Jim Brown struggle with whether being black is really an issue in discussions about violence.

Tory Lowe Facebook

Walking the Talk on 'Black-On-Black' Crime in Urban Communities

Last month, Tory Lowe walked from Milwaukee to Chicago to address ‘black-on-black’ crime, extending the mileage on this tortured phrase.

REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson

The Mainstream Appeal of Outlaw Street Art

Shepard Fairey was commissioned to paint a mural in downtown Detroit. Now the city is prosecuting him for destruction of property.

This July 30, 2015 picture shows a blighted home in west Baltimore. Murders are spiking in Baltimore—but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a trend.

How to Stop Misreading Homicide Statistics

Yes, some U.S. cities have experienced an uptick in murders this summer. Here’s what that doesn’t mean.

Flickr/Mike Arney

L.A. Restaurants With New Fair-Pay Practices Stand Accused of Price Fixing

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against businesses that charge an extra 3 percent to cover employee healthcare.  

Reuters/Rick Wilking

The Business Case for Legalizing Weed in Rhode Island

There are many reasons the tiny state should rush to be the first on the East Coast to make the sale of recreational pot legal.

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Why We Say 'Car Accident,' and Why We Need to Stop

The term suggests fatal crashes are inevitable and beyond our control—they're not.

Gerald Herbert / AP Images

How Katrina Sparked Reform in a Troubled Police Department

New Orleans' force, once a national symbol of corruption and dysfunction, has become a model for change.

KMD Architects

Future Jails May Look and Function More Like Colleges

A look at the push to design correctional facilities for rehabilitation rather than punishment.


A Shooting on Live TV in Roanoke

A reporter and a cameraman for CBS affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke were killed. The gunman, who the station said was a former employee, shot himself hours later.

AP Photo/U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The Coming Storm Over 'Stingray' Surveillance by Police

The technology is being deployed in secret by departments across the country, according to a recent investigative report.