Author: Jessica Piper

Staff writer since Fall 2015.

Whither the War on Drugs?

Note: This is the fifth and final piece in a series examining criminal justice in America. Read the earlier stories here, here, here and here. In December, I wrote that the election of Donald Trump would likely put a hold on many of the criminal justice reforms that President Obama had advocated, many of which once seemed to… Read more »

Can’t Afford Bail: Fixing Pretrial Release

Note: This is the fourth piece in a series examining criminal justice in America. Read the earlier parts here, here, and here. Most people sitting in local jails have not been convicted of a crime, and some of them never will be. Nationally, nearly 500,000 people are imprisoned while they await trial, according to a… Read more »

Aging Inmates, Little Release

Note: This is the third piece in a series examining criminal justice in America. Read the introduction here and the second piece here. American prisoners are getting old. Harsh sentencing laws from the 1980s and 1990s mean that more inmates are reaching retirement age behind bars. These aging inmates are forcing some prisons to provide… Read more »

A Fair Chance?

Note: This is the second piece in a series examining criminal justice in America. Read the introduction here. The people most likely to go to prison in the United States are the ones who have been there before. It is known as the “revolving door”: over 650,000 people are released from state and federal prisons… Read more »

Criminal Justice Under a Trump Presidency

Writer’s note: This piece is the first in a multi-part series on criminal justice reform. The series will examine variation in criminal justice policies between states and evaluate the effectiveness of local reforms that have aimed to reduce mass incarceration and improve treatment of ex-offenders. Six months ago, the prospects of criminal justice reform were… Read more »

The Fatal Flaw of Border Security

Maria Ochoa will not forget the day in June 2007 when her party stumbled upon human remains while searching for an undocumented immigrant in the southern Arizona desert. We were looking for a young woman that had stayed behind with her uncle and her husband because her uncle had become ill. She was seven months… Read more »

Losing the Game

American professional sports have a tendency to get wrapped up in grand narratives. The N.B.A. star who was homeless in high school but now makes millions on the court. The baseball team that makes an improbable and unprecedented September run. The hat trick. The Cinderella story. The Hail Mary. Professional sports have also created the… Read more »

The Other Refugee Crisis

Thousands of Central Americans—many of them minors—are making the dangerous trek north in search of safety and opportunity. A simple change in rhetoric could help them stay in the United States.

Socioeconomic Inequity and the SAT: A Brief History

The changes to the test coming in March 2016 are positive steps, but won’t eliminate the racial and socioeconomic biases that have plagued the SAT throughout its history​.