Under Texas' harsh sentencing laws, people convicted of relatively minor crimes — such as stealing a sandwich — can get life in prison.
Under Texas' harsh sentencing laws, people convicted of relatively minor crimes — such as stealing a sandwich — can get life in prison. Read More
A Cottonwood family resurrects the once-hot business of raising ostriches.
A Cottonwood family hopes to resurrect the once-hot business of raising ostriches — that is, if Americans will stop being so squirrely about their food. Read More
A D.C. group has asked the DOJ to investigate the alleged voter intimidation tactics of a West Texas sheriff featured in a recent Observer investigation. Read More
Pamela Elliott was the new sheriff in town. But instead of law and order, she brought chaos.
Pamela Elliott was the new sheriff in town. But instead of law and order, she brought chaos — voter intimidation and botched investigations — to West Texas. Read More
Despite an uncertain welcome in Texas, these Syrian families are trying to rebuild their lives after fleeing civil unrest and violence half a world away.
The Al Afandi family is part of an exodus of four million displaced Syrian refugees (there are an estimated 7.6 million internally displaced within Syria). Most of those who fled the country live in camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands have somehow made it to Europe, sometimes braving the Mediterranean in unseaworthy craft. Read More
New studies show that trauma biologically alters the brains of young boys in ways that affect their adult behavior.
Texas executes more of its citizens—almost all of them men—than any other state. New studies show that trauma biologically alters the brains of young boys in ways that affect their adult behavior, raising the moral implications of the death penalty. Read More
An informal Observer survey finds complex religious beliefs among death row inmates.
Solitary confinement forces many inmates to do a lot of soul-seeking, but despite the misconceptions, not all death row inmates turn to religion for solace. In fact, some lose their faith in a prison system that denies their humanity. Read More
In an informal Observer survey, death row inmates describe a world of extreme isolation, where mental illness is both cause and symptom.
The Observer found that prisoners often choose a life of permanent isolation, refusing to leave their cages. It’s a catch-22: Mental illness can lead inmates to never leave their cells, never leaving their cells can exacerbate—or even cause—mental illness. Read More