“It really felt like I was born all over again”

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Photo: luoman/E+/Getty Images

I n the United States today, there’s approximately 2,500 juvenile lifers, or inmates who were admitted into the prison system in adolescence with life sentences (most often for murder) and without the possibility of parole. Just over 500 of them live in Pennsylvania alone, making it the most draconian of any state towards young offenders. This high juvenile lifer population is owed to a mandatory life sentencing statute for juvenile murderers that existed until 2012, when the Supreme Court struck down such sentencing practices as unconstitutional in Miller v. Alabama.

Many states hesitated to extend Miller retroactively to those already convicted but were forced to by the Court four years later under Montgomery v. Louisiana. Suddenly, 2,500 offenders were eligible for resentencing, and 111 convicts in Pennsylvania have been released to date. The majority of them are from Philadelphia, like Douglas Hollis and Tyrone Jones, who both entered the system when they were teenagers and spent several decades there. I asked the latter — Ty for short — what it felt like to have his own wardrobe for the first time since he was eighteen. …


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Photo Credit: Spencer Norris

200,000 people stood silent for six minutes and twenty seconds.

Emma Gonzalez was a survivor of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas just a month and a half before. Yesterday, wearing a military-style jacket and close-cropped hair, she led the silent repose across the Capitol and in full view of the world.

Her silence spoke louder than any polemic at the D.C. rally. …


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Photo credit: Spencer Norris

One year after the inaugural Women’s March, the message remains the same, but with an eye towards broader inclusivity and goals for the future of progressivism.

In a rally staged in front of the Lincoln Memorial Saturday morning, a sampling of the Democratic Party’s most public faces, including DNC chairman Tom Perez, Minority Leader Nancie Pelosi and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, delivered impassioned speeches calling for a broader unification of feminist interests across demographics, including women of color and the LGBTQ+ community.

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Photo credit: Spencer Norris

The March has evolved its message from criticisms presented last year that it was focused too narrowly on a brand of feminism which privileged the voices of white women. The sharpened focus on breaching racial and gender barriers was reflected in the makeup of the crowd itself, which picketed signs signaling their own hunger for a brand of feminism that could represent all women — and their unerring distaste for the Trump administration. …


Documenting Hate is a collaborative effort headed by the investigative non-profit ProPublica, aiming to catalog hate crimes in 2017. The project includes an all-star team of heavy-hitting collaborators, such the New York Times, Google News Labs, WNYC and more. In addition to a potent body of investigative reporting, the project touts a publicly-available dataset consisting of thousands of stories from an array of news organizations across the nation, ranging from local news stations to special interest outlets to national publications. This is presumably the same data that backs their front-end application.

The dataset isn’t perfect — some events are duplicated across multiple events, non-authoritative organizations are heavily represented, and it generally lacks good metadata — , but it’s still worth digging through to get an idea of how the media reported on hate crimes this past year. …

About

Spencer Norris

Data Scientist, Freelance Journalist.

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