Ray Downs

News

How Police Unions Are Using Protests, Boycotts, and Shady Tactics to Fight Reform

As the national debate over law enforcement tactics heats up, cops aren't hesitating to decry what they see as an assault on their rights.
Ray Downs
11.5.15
News

How It Felt to Be Inside the Ferguson Media Circus

As a local reporter in St. Louis during the protests over Michael Brown's death, I watched as the international press parachuted in. I'm glad they came.
Ray Downs
11.24.14
News

This Small Prison in Rural Alabama Is One of the Most Violent Places in America

St. Clair Correctional Facility has seen three fatal stabbings in the past ten months.
Ray Downs
6.23.14
News

Does It Matter That the Venezuelan Opposition Is Funded by the US?

Many of the anti-government opposition groups taking to the streets in Venezuela have been backed by the US for years and are supported by wealthy Venezuelans. Is that reason to be concerned?
Ray Downs
2.28.14
Sports

The Boxer, the Murder, and the Hard Fall from Grace

Evans Quinn was a local legend in rural Bluefields, Nicaragua, an immensely talented heavyweight who fought his way out of poverty. Then he lost some fights, returned home, and got into a feud that turned deadly.
Ray Downs
10.30.13
News

Corporations Are Cashing in on California's Prison Overcrowding Crisis

California is being forced by the courts to move inmates out of its overcrowded prison system, which is just another opportunity for the people who make money from incarceration to cash in.
Ray Downs
10.3.13
News

How Much Will the Defense Industry Make from a Missile Strike Against Syria?

Even as diplomats work on a last-ditch effort to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international authorities, the US gearing up to launch missiles if Obama gives the order. But just how expensive are those missiles?
Ray Downs
9.11.13
Travel

The Trickle-Down Economics of Nicaragua’s Drug Trade

When the Bluefields and the rest of Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast was a hub for cocaine traffic, violence went up and most of the profits went to unscrupulous kingpins—but the extra money was also a boon to many poor residents.
Ray Downs
8.29.13
Stuff

A Brief History of the US Government Spying on Its Citizens

The NSA’s surveillance of the internet and the phone records of millions of Americans isn't not the first time US government has taken an Big Brotherly interest in its citizens. The feds have been tapping into the private lives of Americans without...
Ray Downs
6.14.13
News

Public Schoolteachers' Pensions Are Partially Funded by Private Prisons

Retirement funds for public school teachers (as well as other government employees) in several states have a combined $90 million invested in Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, one of the largest private-prison companies in the...
Ray Downs
6.3.13
News

Who’s Getting Rich off the Prison-Industrial Complex?

Many of America's prisons are run by for-profit corporations, so clearly some people are making lots and lots of money off the booming business of keeping human beings in cages. But who are these people? Using public data, I came up with some names.
Ray Downs
5.17.13
Travel

Alabama’s Strip Clubs of Death

Most of the time, shootings in strip clubs are rare occurrences, the result of a drunk who’s thrown out of the club and comes back with a gun for revenge. But in Alabama the strip-club murder rate is completely out of control. Curious to see the sites...
Ray Downs
5.9.13
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