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Rusty the miniature donkey's effect on the group of seven severely mentally ill inmates at the West Valley Detention Center, San Bernardino County’s largest jail, was obvious.
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President Obama could use his executive powers to promote rehabilitation instead of prison, and stop the record numbers of arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Picture of Alonso Yañez

Pretending that people only should consume cookie-cutter content is detrimental for our audience, our profession and our democracy.

Picture of William Heisel

A recent report by a federal agency found that prison workers who live in the community are suffering from valley fever in large numbers. In their case, the prisons themselves cannot easily be blamed.

Picture of Sandra Hausman

The U.S. locks up more individuals per capita than any other country in the world. We have 2.2 million people behind bars – up 500% from 30 years ago. This situation raises important questions for policy makers, and it’s a rich area for journalistic exploration.

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As prison populations continue to increase and budgets get tighter, reforming the system will become ever more important.

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Parole is allowed under a Virginia rule that enables the state to release people over 60 who have served at least ten years. More than a thousand inmates have been eligible under this geriatric provision, but only 40 have been released since 2001. One key question: Where would they go?

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Virginia houses approximately 30,000 inmates annually in state prisons, making the Department of Corrections the most expensive agency in Richmond, with a billion dollar annual budget. It spends $160 million on healthcare, but critics say that care is inadequate.

Picture of Sandra Hausman

Virginia has about 30,000 inmates in state prisons, served by 14 psychiatrists. Segregation, restraining chairs and solitary confinement are other means by which mental health patients in state prisons receive treatment.

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Utah is considered one of the healthiest states in the nation — but not everyone benefits. This is part two in a series examines the wide disparities in health based on residents’ education, ethnicity and environment.

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