China tightens its grip on freedom in academics

Scholars often debate risking their livelihoods and personal safety in order to conduct research in certain areas.

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  • Authoritarian governments that rely heavily on coercion must be more intrusive about how education shapes the personality and character of its members.
  • In China, there are topics that scholars know to avoid — especially, the Three Ts: Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen Square.
  • While the majority of scholars are likely toeing the party line when it comes to their research, some are working toward encouraging academic freedom in the country, often at significant risk to themselves and their families.
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California to ban ICE detention centers, private prisons

"People are not commodities!" said Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

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  • California lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that would phase out private prisons, and four ICE detention centers in the state, by 2028.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom still needs to sign the bill, which he is expected to do.
  • Private prisons house a minority of the national prisoner population, but their populations have grown by 1,600 percent from 1990 to 2005, according to the Justice Policy Institute.
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How can felons be rehabilitated when prison labor is good for big business?

Until the use of prison labor is banned, many stakeholders will be incentivized to prevent felons from being rehabilitated.

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  • The Thirteenth amendment prohibits slavery in the U.S. except as punishment for a crime.
  • A considerable number of public institutions, private companies, and individuals benefit from prison labor.
  • Is true prison reform possible when some many stand to gain from this legalized form of slavery?
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FBI and ICE scan millions of DMV photos to find suspects, raising concerns

Researchers discover government agencies use facial recognition software on photos from local DMVs.

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images. 2004.
  • FBI and ICE routinely scan through millions of photos in state DMV databases.
  • The agencies use facial recognition software to find matches for suspects.
  • Congressmen on both sides of the isle are worried about privacy implications of such unregulated practices.
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One man's idea for the 'greatest PTSD healing curriculum' in America

Activist and Big Think reader Roy M. Arce explains his idea for a new community policing team and how it can halt vicious cycles of PTSD and homelessness.

Photos: Roy M. Arce.
  • Roy Arce is a U.S. veteran with PTSD whose traumatic experiences with police led him to draft a proposal for how communities and police can work better together.
  • A new kind of police response team – made up of at least one police officer and a trained community peace representative – would be part of what Arce calls "the greatest PTSD healing curriculum" in the U.S.
  • This civilian proposal would also seek to treat homelessness in one of the country's most affected regions.
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