—Aaron Cantú focuses on the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, social inequality and post-capitalist institutional design.
“Prisoners of Profit Part 1: Private Prison Empire Rises Despite Startling Record Of Juvenile Abuse,” by Chris Kirkham. Huffington Post, October 22, 2013.
In this long-form investigative piece on the private youth prison industry, Chris Kirkham profiles the rise of the Youth Services International corporation under the shrewd leadership of its founder James Slattery. Slattery has turned the YSI into the most lucrative youth prison company in the nation, donating massive amounts of money to state politicians who have been more than willing to green-light the construction of more YSI houses of horror. The results of this calamitous partnership have been surging profit margins for shareholders and climbing rates of recidivism for emotionally scarred teenagers.
—Owen Davis focuses on public education, media and the effects of social inequality.
“Prisoners of Profit Part 2: Florida’s Lax Oversight Enables Systemic Abuse At Private Youth Prisons,” by Chris Kirkham. Huffington Post, October 23, 2013.
Chris Kirkham’s vivid, horrifying long-form piece exposes the sump of venality and abuse that is the for-profit prison system. It charts the sordid rise of prison executive James Slattery, an archetypal corporate villain whose company’s reported brutalities read like Dickens fodder: maggot-infested meals, sanctioned youth fights, unreported sexual and physical abuse, vermin infestations and staggering negligence. Bonus: a HuffPo article you can read without the usual parade of inane sidebar links (“What Victoria’s Secret Models REALLY Eat”).
—Omar Ghabra focuses on Syria and Middle Eastern politics.
“Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed,” by Mark Mazzetti, Robert F. Worth and Michael R. Gordon. The New York Times, October 23, 2013.
This detailed timeline of the Obama administration’s decision-making process regarding the Syrian conflict paints a troubling portrait of indecision and faulty intelligence. It also reveals that Obama’s chief of staff, who the authors claim was heavily influencing the president during this debate, pushed for a policy that prolonged the war in the hopes of miring Iran in an extended quagmire. This article is a must-read for anyone who has been following the Syria debate for the past three years.