Nightstand reading: Monday, 4/20/15

Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:

  • James Verini‘s tale of bravery and adventure at the point of a gun takes the reader inside a Somali-piracy case, showing the terrorized crew’s trauma through nearly four years of captivity. The crew of the Albedo was captured at the height of Somalia’s piracy problem, which Verini shows in all its cold, profit-minded cruelty. (The New Yorker)
  • Eli Saslow‘s daring, original writing turns this story of one police officer’s firing into a tense tale of small-town racism. (Washington Post)
  • Charles Blair shows how dismissing Timothy McVeigh as simply evil or crazy misses the real meaning of what happened before, during, and after McVeigh’s attack on the Oklahoma City federal building 20 years ago. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
  • On the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, a team of Tulsa World reporters and photojournalists produced this deeply moving package of reports on the victims and the aftermath of that infamous terror attack.
  • Here’s the backstory to, and a preview of, Jon Krakauer‘s latest: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. (Wall Street Journal) And here’s Janet Maslin’s review of the book, which she reports was rushed to print after the Rolling Stone debacle. (New York Times)
  • This year’s Pulitzer Prizes honor some notable criminal-justice journalism: The big prize, Public Service, went to the Charleston Post-Courier for its series on domestic violence (I blogged about it here). The Houston Chronicle‘s Lisa Falkenberg won for Commentary on Texas’ grand jury system (something of a misnomer, considering how deeply reported her stories were). And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch won the Breaking-News Photography prize for its coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

On the blog:

  • I critiqued Mother Jones‘ important report on the costs of gun violence. The story’s focus is on dollars, as that is the least-often told side of the story, but the victim stories in the report were powerful reminders of how much money and pain gun victims suffer.
  • I examined the questions about justice and victims’  rights prompted by the announcement by the family of Martin Richard, the youngest victim killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, publicly opposing the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

This periodic digest compiles and expands on posts I’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, and my other social media feeds. See the buttons on the left rail to follow me on one of those sites, or follow this blog via RSS or email.

Victims, let’s make a deal

lets-make-a-deal-doorsThe latest performance of an awkward game between crime victims and prosecutors is taking place in Boston, where the Marathon bombing trial’s punishment phase starts on Tuesday. While it’s not at all uncommon for victims like the Richard family to take the stand they did against the death penalty for their son’s killer, their eloquence in a public forum — immediately following a guilt-phase trial in which prosecutors emphasized their son Martin’s death — put U.S. attorney Carmen Ortiz in an especially tight jam.

Ortiz struck a diplomatic tone in her response, more so than some prosecutors facing similar predicaments in the past. Ortiz told the Boston Globe:

[A]s I have previously assured both Bill and Denise [Richard], I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors. As the case moves forward we will continue to do all we can to protect and vindicate those injured and those who have passed away.”

In other words, a polite thank-you-for-your-input brushoff. (Presumably she has the same response to the sister of one of the other four fatalities in the case, who has also come out against executing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.)

Not that it’s possible for her to fulfill the wishes of all victims of the two bombings and the subsequent manhunt, much less all members of the public she serves. But therein lies the rub. When prosecutors intent on winning the toughest possible sentences shift the focus from public justice to avenging the losses suffered by individual victims, they’re bound to confuse the issues and the stakes. Victims who need help beyond retribution end up believing that is society’s principal means of giving them justice. Victims, like the Richards, who oppose the harshest punishment — for any number of reasons, and often long after the trial when they discover it has not helped them heal — are told, in effect, to stand aside. And the public gets yet another lesson in defining justice solely as maximum punishment.

A pair of newspaper stories this week explain in two ways why the occasional prosecutor-victim conflict is a natural byproduct of tough-on-crime politics. First, Kevin Johnson’s 20th anniversary story in USA Today on the Oklahoma City federal building bombing summarized the many ways in which that case inspired a number of reforms in pro-prosecution, pro-death penalty victim rights. Left unstated: the usually silent victims who are not comforted by those measures.

Then, Los Angeles Times editorialist Michael McGough told how the victims’ rights movement redefined justice as a means “to avenge private wrongs and provide closure for crime victims and their families.” It’s a mistake, he concludes, only remedied by reverting to the traditional and official take on justice: treating crime strictly as an offense against the state. What should we do for victims in these circumstances? He doesn’t say.

There’s no single, simple solution. But, if we focused much more on what victims really need — all victims, in all their variety — then the inevitable conflicts that arise over victims’ role in our adversarial system might diminish in importance. A victim’s experience might be defined less by the outcome of her offender’s trial and more by what services we provided to ease her pain. Trials and punishment debates won’t go away, but if they occurred on a parallel track rather than existing as the only track, victims might come out of these situations with a better chance of feeling whole again.

Defining justice as anything other than punishment might sound kooky in a culture where that’s practically all we ever consider, and where the standard perspective we get of victims is as advocates for the harshest punishment. But do they choose that route because it’s the only just outcome, or because it’s the only outcome usually offered to them? As one restorative-justice advocate put it to me recently, our justice system is like the game show Let’s Make A Deal (“what’ll it be? Door Number 1, door Number 2, or door Number 3?”), but in this version there’s only one door. And of course they pick that one.

Giving them more choices and focusing on needs other than just vengeance will naturally lead to fewer cases in which victims must resort to writing newspaper op-eds to plead to be heard.

Numbers and lives

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 5.35.23 PMAs part of a memorable report on the true costs of gun violence, a Mother Jones team — Mark Follman, Julie Lurie, Jaeah Lee, and James West — powerfully tells victims’ stories alongside data-driven reporting on the dollars and cents. The data side of the report is impressive enough, as it methodically quantifies the knowns and unknowns of what gun violence costs this country. But the human side of the stories goes to the heart of what victims suffer when injured by gunfire, or when their loved ones die in gun violence.

In a companion package of stories, we meet eight victims and survivors who tell their stories in short form: how they were injured, and the financial and other loses they have suffered. One of them, Jennifer Longdon, is the focus of the main story as she eloquently describes the attack that left her and her fiancé profoundly disabled and her anti-violence advocacy in Phoenix. Accompanying the text story are three videos: one summarizing the nationwide costs of gun violence, and two on Longdon’s case. The first of those describes the crime itself. The second, shown below, addresses the costs to Longdon. Hear Longdon talk about her losses beyond the financial. “Nothing,” she says, “was ever going to be simple or easy again.”

Nightstand reading: Tuesday, 4/14/15

Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:

  • Ever since Bryan Burrough‘s days at the Missouri School of Journalism (he was an undergrad when I was there as a grad), I’ve been a fan of his reporting and writing. Through his front-page Wall Street Journal features, his books (Barbarians at the Gate and at least three others on my bookshelves), and countless Vanity Fair features, I’ve been drawn to his deeply reported narrative style. So, when I saw his excerpt from Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, I eagerly read it, and was richly rewarded. This is essential history, and discomfiting for reconstructed ’60s leftists who’d rather forget how violent their movement, at its fringes at least, turned. This excerpt focuses on the leaders of a bombing campaign targeting police, the military, and anyone else who got in the way. (Vanity Fair)
  • It’s been a tough few months for Rolling Stone and its reputation for good journalism. Along with legitimate criticism for its University of Virginia rape story, the magazine has been maligned unfairly as merely a music magazine that has no business attempting serious journalism, a view that’s ignorant of the magazine’s long, proud history for serious public affairs journalism. This story by Guy Lawson, on a group of high school wrestlers turned oxycodone kingpins, is the kind of work that I hope RS continues to produce. In the nut graf, he carefully spells out how he confirmed what he was told by the drug-gang participants — a sign, perhaps, that the magazine knows it is in damage control mode. (Rolling Stone)
  • Dahlia Lithwick tells the wrongful-conviction horror story to beat all others. Michael McAllister has been imprisoned 29 years for a crime that even his prosecutor has said since 1993 he didn’t commit. Now months past his official release date, McAllister remains locked up as a violent predator, though he’s almost certainly innocent. Lithwick gives credit for to the Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter, Frank Green, who’s pursued the story since 2002. (Slate)
  • Previously I linked to two excerpts from Masha Gessen‘s book The Brothers, on the Tsarnaevs of Boston Marathon bombing infamy. Now, it gets the lead-book-review treatment from The New York Times, with former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assessing this work of journalism as incomplete and too enamored of conspiracy theories. Gessen also weighed in recently once again, this time with a Times op-ed, posing her own list of questions unanswered in the trial of the surviving brother, Dzhokhar.
  • Kimberly Kindy and Kimbriell Kelly conduct a study that shows the odds favoring cops in disputed shootings: few get charged, even fewer get convicted. The story goes well beyond numbers to explain the factors affecting the investigations and verdicts. (Washington Post)
  • Stephen Battaglio reports on Chris Hansen’s crowd-funding campaign to reprise his “Catch a Predator” gig. The former NBC reporter’s schtick — running sting operations to lure Internet predators intent on sex with minors — always struck me as a creepy cop wannabe act that milks ratings from crimes that wouldn’t have happened but for him. But maybe that’s just me. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Criminologist David Kennedy, using journalist Jill Leovy’s book Ghettoside as a discussion point, explains what the world would look like to whites if they faced what blacks do in cities where there’s too much of the wrong kind of policing and not nearly enough of the right kind. (Los Angeles Times)

This periodic digest compiles and expands on posts I’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, and my other social media feeds. See the buttons on the left rail to follow me on one of those sites, or follow this blog via RSS or email.

Nightstand reading: Wednesday, 4/8/15

Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:

  • Robert Kolker, another big name in crime journalism appearing for the first time at The Marshall Project, tells a shocking story that calls into question the very rationale of long prison sentences. Rene Lima-Marin got sentenced to an excessive 98 years for a pair of armed robberies. Then, through an administrative error, he got released after just 10 years. He lived a productive life outside for more than five years as a hard-working, church-going family man, only to be sent back to serve at least 40 more years toward the balance of his original conviction. (The Marshall Project)
  • Katy Vine writes the hell out of this border tale of drug-cop corruption. Her story of the Panama Unit, a gang of Texas cops skimming drugs and cash from their extracurricular raids, reads like a literary short story. (Texas Monthly)
  • Brad Heath once again demonstrates his enterprise and skill as an investigative reporter with a story revealing a DEA program lasting 21 years that tracked huge numbers of phone calls by Americans. The story examines the legal and strategic factors underlying the secret program, and how Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations contributed to its demise. (USA Today)
  • A team from ProPublica (T. Christian Miller and Ryan Gabrielson) and from The New Orleans Advocate (Ramon Antonio Vargas and John Simerman) shows how the rape spree by former NFL player Darren Sharper could have been stopped much sooner, if only the policies meant to help investigate and prosecute rape had been used effectively. (ProPublica/New Orleans Advocate)
  • Chris Thompson tells the story of Mean Streets, a reporting project started by WNYC and continued by a Columbia j-school data journalism project, dedicated to documenting every traffic fatality. It does for traffic victims what other sites do for homicide victims, and this story shows what a huge effort that takes. (Poynter)
  • Christina Maza looks at the collision between revenge-porn laws, meant to protect victims, and a law that lies at the core of legal protections for web publishers. (Christian Science Monitor)

This periodic digest compiles and expands on posts I’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, and my other social media feeds. See the buttons on the left rail to follow me on one of those sites, or follow this blog via RSS or email.

Nightstand reading: Monday, 4/6/15

Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:

  • The Columbia Journalism School report on Rolling Stone‘s failures in reporting on an alleged rape at the University of Virginia doesn’t change the basic understanding we’ve had about the story since shortly after its publication. But the report adds voluminous detail to back its conclusions that everyone involved at the magazine, from the top down, failed to follow basic reporting standards of verification. Most interesting to me, given my work’s focus on crime victims, are the report’s mentions of the pitfalls of deference to victims’ claims in order not to worsen their trauma. This, of course, opens the journalist to error, exposes her subjects to unfair attacks, and invites backlash against the victim herself, as happened in this case. (Rolling Stone)
  • Ariel Levy takes a well-known phenomenon — the wrongly convicted, once freed, seeking compensation for their years in prison — and casts it in a new and captivating light with her story of John Restivo. After serving 18 years, from age 26 to 44, for a murder he didn’t commit, he has spent the past 12 years of his freedom pursuing the officials responsible for framing him. Levy’s story asks what that’s worth, by showing us how Restivo approaches the question. (The New Yorker)
  • In an excerpt from Masha Gessen‘s new book The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy, we see the amoral reactions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends and classmates as they realize he is one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Not one of them calls the police, even after finding bomb-making materials. Chilling, and sad. (BuzzFeed)
  • Gessen published another excerpt, this time focusing on the FBI’s shooting of Ibragim Todashev, the friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was questioned over his and Tsarnaev’s roles in a triple murder. The central character of this narrative is Todashev’s mother-in-law, whose immigrant faith in the U.S. was shaken by what happened.  (Slate)
  • Joel Rose uses a whistleblower’s claims to give an especially lucid explanation of why quota-based policing breaches trust with a community. As his ex-cop source Adhyl Polanco tells him, “Nobody in the community wants people selling drugs in their building. Nobody in the community wants shootings. So if we work with the people who don’t want that, together we can identify who the criminals are. But what happens when you start harassing innocent people because I have to come up with my 20 [tickets]?” (NPR Weekend Edition)
  • Joe Tone‘s muscular, dramatic writing keeps the momentum brisk in this long narrative about U.S. federal agents’ pursuit of the Zetas Mexican drug cartel through its leaders’ investments in American horse racing and breeding. (Dallas Observer)
  • Anand Giridharadas, author of The True American, summarizes the book’s narrative: the post-9/11 ethnic-hatred shooting of Raisuddin Bhuiyan by Mark Stroman, and of Bhuiyan’s efforts to spare Stroman of the death penalty. The ideas he stresses range far beyond criminal justice and forgiveness. The story is, he says in his talk, “an urgent parable about America” and the chances we give people to advance socially and economically. (TED)
  • Gary Gately tells the story of Ken Crawford, a juvenile lifer imprisoned for a double robbery-murder, and the Pennsylvania couple who overcame their skepticism and befriended the prisoner.  The legal-policy question posed by the story — the retroactive application of a ruling on the constitutionality of mandatory life-without-parole for juveniles —  runs alongside a personal story. Crawford’s nature painting introduced him to Keith and Cindy Sanford. Now that they know him and his story, their relationship runs deep. (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
  • Katti Gray reports on a half-dozen pilot projects that put social workers in squad cars with police when they go on mental-health calls. Instead of using arrests and jail as the default solutions, these teams try to connect people to needed services. (The Crime Report)

This periodic digest compiles and expands on posts I’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, and my other social media feeds. See the buttons on the left rail to follow me on one of those sites, or follow this blog via RSS or email.

Interview with a vulture

Winston Ross unburdens his journalistic conscience in this essay in Newsweek, wherein he portrays his work and that of his competitors in disaster coverage as purely self-aggrandizing and exploitative. There’s nothing redeeming about it, in Ross’ view, as he calls out himself and his cohort for behaving like “vultures” and “hyenas” toward victims and their loved ones.

Ross is, of course, more right than wrong about the bleak realities of breaking-news disaster coverage. Based on his experience, he offers a vivid and depressing view of that work from the scene of the Germanwings crash and apparent mass murder of 149 people.

But Ross offers no sensible alternatives, other than a tip of the hat to serious reporting on causes and prevention, and on the kind of narrative, victim-centered journalism after the fact that can teach about coping with grief.

When something this awful happens, it’s not an option to ignore the news. Nor is it realistic to expect that competitive journalists would avoid the scene of the disaster out of deference to victims in the vicinity. Would we even want that kind of news coverage? I’m picturing the media horde camped out not on the slopes of the Alps but in a German government or corporate conference room, waiting for a briefing. If that were the reporting standard, tragedy would be stripped of its emotional impact; victims become mere numbers, their losses reduced to abstractions.

So what should journalists and their managers do to discourage the kind of behavior Ross describes? One place to start looking for answers, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, offers tips to care for journalists on the scene and to treat victims with as much humanity as possible. These responses, it seems to me, strike a far more constructive tone than simply decrying craven behavior before the scrum rushes off to the next scene.

My response is colored by my own experiences in covering mass casualty disasters. Those experiences are but distant memories, but I will never forget what I saw and how I felt. I know that what motivated me and those I saw doing the same kind of work went far beyond the kind of glory-seeking, parasitic mindset that Ross describes.

It’s possible to do this work without losing your soul. But that’s not nearly so eye-catching as an essay confirming everyone’s worst suspicions about journalists.

Nightstand reading: Friday, 4/3/15

Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:

  • Joaquin Sapien tells a real-life version of Lord of the Flies, at a California group home for youth where caretakers utterly failed to keep control and protect children from being victimized. (ProPublica/California Sunday Magazine) The story includes a video version by Carrie Ching focusing on the frustrations of the staff, and a Q&A on how the project got produced.
  • Emily Bazelon displays her talents for subtle thinking, deep reporting, and clearly explaining legal and medical concepts in an afterward to the sad, disturbing case of Purvi Patel. She was sentenced to 20 years for the death of her newborn (or stillborn) child. Bazelon uses the case as a window into “feticide” laws that try to draw lines between nature, legal abortion, and homicide. (The New York Times Magazine)
  • Dana Goldstein reports on a study of recently released prisoners, rare for its depth and focus, shows a “stunning” correlation between childhood trauma and later incarceration. Forty percent, for example, witnessed a homicide, and 60 percent dropped out of school. Few received any help that might have headed off later misbehavior. For many, there never was a clear line between victim and offender. (The Marshall Project)
  • Phoebe Judge tells the story of a family’s long struggle to hold police accountable for an unjustified shooting on New Year’s Eve 2008. Robbie Tolan was in his own driveway after returning home from dinner when a Bellaire, Texas, police officer — mistakenly believing Tolan drove a stolen car — started a confrontation that ended with Tolan shot in the chest. He survived, and since then he and his parents have sought criminal or civil justice, so far unsuccessfully. Judge tells the story effectively through interviews with Tolan and his parents. (Criminal podcast)
  • Tom Meagher‘s Q&A with Thomas Hargrove, founder of a new nonprofit, the Murder Accountability Project, asks why 5,000 homicides per year go unsolved. Hargrove, whose project tracks these cases, offers one central answer: “lack of will.” In other words, police and those who set their priorities and resources just don’t care enough, especially about certain kinds of victims. (Marshall Project)

This periodic digest compiles and expands on posts I’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, and my other social media feeds. See the buttons on the left rail to follow me on one of those sites, or follow this blog via RSS or email.

Half-right about victims

Here’s a news story that sees a real problem in the way that crime victims experience criminal justice. But then it falls into a familiar trap in criminal justice thinking.

Liz Shepard of Gannett’s Times Herald in Port Huron, Michigan, wrote about a horrifying crime in which a teen, just before her 18th birthday, arranged for a violent attack on her adoptive parents. Her father died and mother was wounded. Tia Skinner and the two assailants were sentenced to life without parole in 2011.

Mara McCalmon describes to Shepard the trauma of going through that trial and sentencing, only to endure two resentencings of her daughter. Thanks to changes in the law governing life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, Michigan prosecutors twice put McCalmon back in court to describe her ordeal. At the third sentencing, Skinner’s defense team made the family feel under attack as it pursued claims of a troubled childhood, which might mitigate against the most severe sentence.

Quoting the defense lawyer as saying such experiences for victims are a necessary “reality,” the story barely explains the factors considered in sentencing or the reasons for the constitutional and statutory changes that called a juvenile LWOP sentence into question. The story’s primary message: silly legal technicalities that stood in the way of a speedy resolution only served to harm the victims without changing the outcome. If only we figured out, the story seems to conclude, how to make the system a little more punitive, we’d finally do right by victims.

This is the standard approach by American criminal justice, to assume our only societal obligation to the victims is to punish wrongdoing as severely and efficiently as possible. But what stares us in the face in this story is how inadequately that serves these victims. McCalmon, who graciously concedes that important questions were at stake in the resentencings, practically begs for alternatives that would not stick her and her family in the middle of win-at-all-costs adversarial system. She tells Shepard:

Victims never get over these life changing events, however we strive to carry on. And so while we begin and work through this process, with the help and support of our faith, family and friends, rulings that open wounds really re-victimize victims in so many ways.

The rulings are the central problem only if we see victims as tools to be used in achieving “justice” (defined strictly as punishment) and then left to sort out their problems on their own. All too often, victims like McCalmon never hear of methods proven to ease this sort of pain. In restorative justice programs, dialogue and group conferencing take words like McCalmon’s and then dig deeper, to discover what victims truly need that isn’t satisfied by the ultimate sanctions against an offender. Maybe it’s a bridge between the family and the defense team, so that sentencing can proceed without causing so much damage. Maybe it’s face-to-face meetings, after intensive preparation, between the family and the offenders so that the family can say what it needs to say, ask what it needs to know, outside of the harsh glare of a staged conflict in court. Restorative justice doesn’t preclude punishment, but it doesn’t define justice for victims as beginning and ending there.

The first step, though, is listening — really listening — to what victims tell us.

Nightstand reading: Tuesday, 3/31/15

Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:

  • Sasha Abramsky describes the making of the campaign for California’s Proposition 47, the “smart on crime” initiative that rolled back some of the state’s harshest tough-on-crime measures. Californians for Safety and Justice, the group Abramsky profiles, won by successfully arguing for better investments in public safety than just more and bigger prisons. (The Nation)
  • This is one of the most enjoyable narratives I’ve read in some time. Daniel Riley‘s story about a story — how one many’s tall tale of buried cocaine led his friends to attempt to find and smuggle it to the U.S. — has what passes in drug-enforcement stories as a happy ending, when the lead character, caught in a sting, gets off relatively easily. Riley’s brisk, lively writing makes this a great read. (GQ)
  • Jessica Benko describes a Norwegian prison in terms that will make many Americans sneer at European standards of justice. Not only does the treatment of prisoners sound extravagantly cushy by American standards, but when she takes a critical look at an important measure of success — recidivism rates — she finds that this method does no better than American prisons. Her final point is her most important: why else it matters that a nation dedicate itself to humane treatment of prisoners. Read alongside another story in the same issue (which I wrote about on the previous nightstand-reading list), there’s no doubt which approach reflects better on the national character. (The New York Times Magazine)
  • Mark Bowden profiles Judy Clarke, whose astonishing career of defending the most notorious criminal defendants now alights in Boston for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Though heavily reliant on others’ stories, Bowden presents some new reminiscences about Clarke’s past victories. And he places Clarke’s work in perspective by posing it as a struggle between legal theories: one that sees such defendants as evil, and another that sees them as ill. (Vanity Fair)
  • Michele McPhee traces the history of a years-long investigation by a Boston federal agent of a Rwandan immigrant in New Hamphire whom he suspected of a role in her country’s genocide. He proved his case and won her conviction on immigration charges in the U.S. Next, he hopes to bring her to justice in her homeland. (Boston Magazine)
  • Martin Kaste explores the reasons for the rise in unsolved homicides, even when overall murder rates are way down. Neglect of poor neighborhoods, no-snitch culture, tactics, resources — he looks at a number of factors, and provides a lookup tool to check local homicide clearance rates. (NPR Morning Edition)
  • Madison Missina explains the #FacesofProstitution campaign, which tries to distinguish between sex trafficking and sex work. By treating all sex workers as victims of trafficking, activists confuse the issues and end up mistreating people who choose to do this work, she says. (Mamamia Women’s Network)

This periodic digest compiles and expands on posts I’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, and my other social media feeds. See the buttons on the left rail to follow me on one of those sites, or follow this blog via RSS or email.

A writer and editor on law, crime, and business