Searching for Something Better in West Baltimore

Monica Potts spent months following men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s from West Baltimore as they tried to make honest lives for themselves and find decent paying jobs.

Uneducated, Poor White Women Are Dying Younger

In The American Prospect, Monica Potts examines why low-income white women who don’t finish high school in the U.S. have seen their life expectancy drop by five years, while most Americans, including high school dropouts of other races, have seen their life expectancies rise. Though Potts walks us through the story of Crystal Wilson, who lived in Cave City, Arkansas and died at the age of 38, the answer still remains unclear.

‘Pay It Forward’ Gets Interest From Other States

Last month, we noted that Oregon’s “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” program was unanimously passed by its Senate and House. The program would essentially give students who attend college in the state free tuition in exchange for 3 percent of their incomes post-graduation for, according to one model, a 20-year period. In The American Prospect, Monica Potts reports that several other states have been inspired by the proposal and are rushing to implement similar programs in their own states, and some educators are worried about the rush to put a good-sounding, yet untested idea into place.

“The Weeklies”

A look at families who pay by the week to live in motels.

Calls from Prison

How does a 20-minute phone call in a prison end up costing $20—which families end up paying for because calls are usually made collect? According to the American Prospect, states sign exclusive prison contracts with phone companies, and 42 states receive a “kickback” commission from each phone call, which is supposedly used to fund prison rehabilitation programs and sick prisoners.