And Justice for Some

Does the time fit the crime?

The number of women in U.S. prisons and jails has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for 25 years, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. This week on Reveal, we look at the causes behind this spike. Credit: Ben Fine for Reveal

This week on Reveal, we take a look at prisons as a part of our series And Justice for Some.

The number of women in U.S. prisons has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for nearly all of that time, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. Reveal Senior Editor Ziva Branstetter teams up with Allison Herrera and The Frontier, an Oklahoma-based investigative news website, to find out why.

Reporter Stan Alcorn brings us the story of how one man went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Rodney Roberts spent seven years in prison and another 11 in civil commitment after taking a plea agreement. We take a deeper look at the plea deal process, which accounts for most people who end up in prison.

Finally, reporter Daniel Gross brings us the story of a company that has a near monopoly on the typewriters available in prisons. Swintec Corp. makes its typewriters out of clear plastic, so they can’t be used to smuggle contraband. Inmates use their Swintec typewriters to write poetry, fiction and jailhouse appeals.

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Support for Reveal is provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mary and Steven Swig.

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