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Data obtained by The Appeal show nearly 2,000 people in Mississippi and Louisiana are serving long—and sometimes life—sentences after they were labeled “habitual offenders." But most are behind bars for small crimes like drug possession.
While bans on capital punishment progress at the state level, the federal government is racing to carry out three more executions before President Trump's term end. Ten people have been put to death since July, the first such executions since 2003.
As the presidential election approaches, reformers should focus on the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which restricts the ability of incarcerated people to protest their conditions of confinement.