This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.
On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the Washington Post explains why Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, the unofficial kickoff to the presidential election cycle, are “even whiter than you think.” The state “practices a de facto form of racial disenfranchisement: a lifetime voting ban for anyone ever convicted of a felony.” Although just 4% of Iowa’s population is black, black people make up 26% of the state’s prison population. And a piece from the Atlantic questions why so many prisoners are kept in jail long after they should have been released: our moral judgment is hardwired to prioritize what someone has already done over what they have the potential to do.
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece by Colorado Public Radio investigates the deadly combination of factors that contribute to Colorado’s exceptionally high police-shooting rate, including the prevalence of guns, drug use, and aggressive police tactics. Cops there have shot someone once a week, on average, for the past six years. And a piece from New York Magazine examines the ongoing violence at Mississippi’s Parchman Farm state penitentiary, as well as the combination of factors – overcrowding, inhumane conditions, chronic understaffing and budget cuts – that contributed to the crisis: “Prisons are the way they are because we’ve allowed them, and even encouraged them, to become that way.”
In complex crime storytelling: A piece from NorthJersey.com and the Bergen Record recounts the capture of serial killer and rapist Khalil Wheeler-Weaver. Friends and family of the victims overcame police bias and shoddy investigative tactics to outsmart and eventually track down the killer. And a piece from the Los Angeles Times follows one woman’s desperate search for answers in the disappearance of her niece. Aubrey Dameron, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is one of thousands of indigenous women who have gone missing or were found murdered in recent years.
And in culture/true crime: The Nation interviews writer Emma Copley Eisenberg, whose new book The Third Rainbow Girl upends traditional true-crime tropes and pushes the boundaries of the genre. And the Washington Post reviews two new prime-time dramas, “Tommy” and “For Life,” that present fresh takes on the standard network crime show.