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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Proposal aims federal dollars at reducing state prison populations

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Monday, June 3, 2024   

In North Carolina, 57,000 people are behind bars, with most housed in state prisons.

A new proposal has surfaced to bring the numbers down but it would require approval from Congress. A proposed Public Safety and Prison Reduction Act would pay states to rethink their sentencing policies and reduce their prison populations.

Hernandez Stroud, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, which is making the proposal, pointed to state prisons as the core issue in mass incarceration, holding 87% of people incarcerated in the U.S.

"Congress could help states break the cycle of excessive imprisonment and its devastating impact on families and communities by offering funding as an incentive to both shrink state prison populations and implement humane alternatives," Stroud contended.

Earlier this year, North Carolina's Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety learned the state's current prison population has already exceeded projections not expected until 2027.

Stroud pointed out the Brennan Center proposal would emphasize accountability and community input. States would be required to partner with researchers and local stakeholders, including formerly incarcerated people, to track the impact of their reforms. Stroud believes it could also help to right some of the problems in the criminal justice system, such as wrongful convictions or extreme sentencing.

"This legislation could send a powerful message to the nation that some issues are bigger than partisan politics," Stroud asserted. "Like delivering public safety while promoting a fair and humane justice system."

According to the proposal, if the 25 states with the largest prison populations could reduce them by 20%, nearly 180,000 fewer people would be behind bars. But the Public Safety and Prison Reduction Act has yet to be introduced in Congress. Its $1 billion estimated price tag may be among the reasons.


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