Penal System
Associated Press/Photo by Steve Helber

Virginia lawmakers outlaw death penalty

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 2/22/21, 05:48 pm

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said he will sign a bill that would make Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions. The Virginia House and Senate approved identical but separate bills repealing the death penalty on Monday.

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AP Photo/Lisa Billings

Lisa Miller, mother in kidnapping case, in U.S. custody

Criminal Justice | The mother who fled to Nicaragua in a high-profile case over same-sex custody turned herself in to U.S. authorities last month
by Charissa Koh
Posted 2/05/21, 07:08 pm

After more than a decade in hiding, Lisa Miller has turned herself in to U.S. authorities.

Miller, 52, made headlines when she was charged with international kidnapping for fleeing the United States in 2009 with her daughter, Isabella, 7 years old at the time. Miller had previously been locked in a high-profile custody dispute with her former lesbian partner, Janet Jenkins, who also claimed parental rights over Isabella. Miller, the biological mother, feared she would lose custody of her daughter if she remained in the United States.

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Illustration by Rachel Beatty

COVID-19 behind bars

Prisons | Pandemic restrictions lead to extreme isolation for inmates who can’t access visitors, ministries, and education
by Emily Belz
Posted 11/18/20, 04:08 pm

In recounting the last few months in prison, Jamel Blackwell didn’t start with the story about how he almost died from COVID-19. Instead he talked about the New Jersey Department of Corrections shutting down visits, Bible studies, and education for inmates in mid-March. 

“I couldn’t see any of my Christian brothers on the other units,” he said. So he and several Christians segregated together in his unit started their own Bible study twice a week to study the Gospels, which he said was “relieving … during this stressful pandemic.”

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