Some red states like Louisiana and Texas have emerged as leaders in a new movement: to divert offenders from prisons and into drug treatment, work release and other incarceration alternatives.
By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. In recent years, sentencing reformers in the capital, Baton Rouge, have loosened some mandatory minimum sentences and have made parole slightly easier for offenders to get.
But as reformers in Louisiana push for change, they're also running into stiffening resistance — especially from local prosecutors.
After a half-century of the War on Poverty, an anti-poverty agency in Ohio has concluded that decades of assistance alone just hasn't changed lives. Instead, it says, the ongoing breakdown of the family is to blame.
"You're seeing the same people come year after year, and in some cases generation to generation. And so then you think, why is that happening?" says Jennifer Jennette, program manager of the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties in Ohio.
And now on to Sao Paulo, where NPR South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro caught the game at a bar. And, Lourdes, I assume there is collective anguish, albeit very loud anguish right now. What's the mood?
The images out of Brazil right now are of fans in tears, faces with looks of disbelief, hands covering mouths in shock. In the first of two semifinal World Cup matches, the home team is losing and it's losing big. Germany is leading 5-0. Let's go to NPR's Tom Goldman in Rio de Janeiro. Tom, what's the scene where you are in Rio?
In the fight against terrorist organizations, one weapon has been effective in the past: cutting off their funding.
Terrorist groups tend to get their money from outside donors or charities. But the Islamic State, the group that now controls huge areas of Syria and Iraq, doesn't get its money that way. So the methods the U.S. Treasury has used to fight terrorist groups in the past won't work as well.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health made an unpleasant discovery last week as they cleaned out an old laboratory: The lab contained vials of the smallpox virus, previously unknown to authorities. The vials have since been transferred to a secure lab at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Germany steamrolled over host Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday in their semifinal game to enter the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Five of Germany's goals came in the first half.
Thomas Muller scored in the 11th minute, Toni Kroos scored in the 24th and 26th minutes, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira scored in the 23rd and 29th minutes, respectively, and Andre Schurrle in the 69th and 79th minutes.
Oscar scored Brazil's consolation goal in the 90th minute.
Late last year, hackers breached Target's data security and stole information from millions of credit cards. Brian Krebs, who writes about cybercrime and computer security for his blog, Krebs on Security, broke the story. A few days later, he broke the story of a credit card breach at Neiman Marcus.
Krebs spends time in the dark areas of the Internet, where hackers steal data off credit cards and sell the information in online underground stores.
Within days of asking for a total of $10 to crowdsource his first potato salad, Ohioan Zack Danger Brown raised tens of thousands of dollars. He promised people he would read their names aloud as he made this salad, which was apparently an irresistible draw.
Being the geeks we are, we asked our NPR Science Desk interns Nicholas St. Fleur and Kara Manke to do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation.