Study: Private prisons result in more inmates, longer sentences

The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.

  • After adopting strict sentencing laws in the '80s and '90s, many states have turned to for-profit prisons to handle growing prison populations.
  • A new study in Labour Economics found that privately-run prisons correlate with a rise in incarceration rates and sentence lengths.
  • While evidence is mixed, private prisons do not appear to improve recidivism or cost less than state-run facilities.
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    What is Novichok? A neurotoxicologist explains

    Novichok means "newcomer" in Russian.

    Maja Hitij/Getty Images
    The German government has announced that toxicology tests proved that the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the same nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter two years ago.
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    Water heist: Up to half of the world's supply is being stolen, study finds

    A new study examines the under-researched area of water theft around the world.

    Image source: Dan Gold/Unsplash
    • From 30% to 50% of the world's water is illegally or improperly taken.
    • Agriculture industries are implicated in the majority of water theft.
    • In some areas, it's so normal that it's barely noticed.

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    What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil?

    The banality-of-evil thesis was a flashpoint for controversy.

    Can one do evil without being evil?
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    Inside the brains of psychopaths

    Three scientists examine three dimensions of psychopathy: neurological, social, and criminal.

    • How are the brains of psychopaths wired differently? In this video, psychologist Kevin Dutton, neuroscientist (and psychopath himself) James Fallon, and professor of psychiatry Michael Stone take the wiring apart.
    • In neurotypical people, the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex inhibit one another to allow for reasonable, moral decision-making. Psychopaths don't have that mechanism.
    • Up to 80% of who a psychopath will turn out to be is down to environment. Intelligence, natural aggressiveness, and your family and friends determine whether a psychopath will grow up to make a killing or just "make a killing in the market," as a famous headline once said.
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