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Matt Ford

Matt Ford writes for and produces The Atlantic's Global channel.
Results 1-10 of 14

America's Largest Mental Hospital Is a Jail

June 8, 2015 It was 9 o’clock in the morning at Cook County Jail, but in the subterranean holding cells where dozens await their turn before a judge, you wouldn't be able to tell. Pre-bail processing here takes place entirely underground. A labyrinth of tunnels connects the jail’s buildings to one another and...

A State of Emergency in Baltimore

April 27, 2015 Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard on Monday night, "to address the growing violence and unrest in Baltimore City." Later Monday night, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that a week-long curfew would be imposed on the city. Maryland State Police said...

How the World Mourned Lincoln in 1865

April 14, 2015 On the night of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head. Lincoln—president of the United States, preserver of the Union, and liberator of four million slaves—died the next morning. He would be the last casualty of a war that cost some 750,000...

The Problem With Funding Government Through Fines

April 2, 2015 Last week, Jim Hardesty, the chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, warned that the state’s highest court was almost out of money. “If this is not addressed by May 1, the court will not have sufficient cash to operate,” Hardesty told lawmakers at a committee hearing last week. “I...

Guilty, Then Proven Innocent in North Carolina

February 10, 2015 Joseph Sledge’s timing could not have been worse. While serving a four-year sentence for stealing t-shirts in 1976, the 36-year-old man from Georgia escaped from a prison work farm in eastern North Carolina. That same day, Josephine Davis and her daughter Ailene were brutally murdered in their farmhouse in nearby...

A Paradoxical Reaction in Oklahoma

January 15, 2015 In the states in which it's practiced most often, the death penalty remains overwhelmingly popular. The Supreme Court seems uninterested in revisiting its core decisions on American capital punishment, preferring instead to tinker on the margins of the machinery of death. In many ways, its legal and constitutional footing has...

The Limits of Obama's Clemency

December 18, 2014 Few presidential powers are as unconstrained as the pardon. Neither Congress nor the courts need be consulted, and neither branch can override its application. President Lincoln, the pardon's most prolific wielder, liberally exercised the power of mercy. "Gen. Joseph Hooker once sent an envelope to the president containing the cases...

A Neo-Confederate in Nevada's Capitol

November 24, 2014 My hometown alt-weekly, the Reno News & Review, published an in-depth report this week on Nevada Assembly Speaker-designate Ira Hansen and the political columns he wrote for the local Sparks Tribune newspaper for many years starting in 1994. After the GOP swept the statewide offices and seized both chambers of...

In Texas, the Death Penalty is Slowly Dying Out

October 29, 2014 On Tuesday night, the state of Texas executed Miguel Paredes by lethal injection for murdering a woman and her two children sixteen years ago. With no executions scheduled by the state department of criminal justice for November or December, Paredes' death marks the tenth and final execution for Texas this...

Who Watches America's Executions?

August 25, 2014 After Joseph Wood's botched execution in July, journalists and other observers gave us grisly details about the convicted murderer's final moments. One of the reporters even counted the number of Wood's gasps—around 660 in total—as he lay on the gurney before finally dying after nearly two hours. The New York...