Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety is suspending a controversial prison policy before it takes effect.  Officials had planned to ban women visiting prisons from using tampons, because they claimed those sanitary products could be used to smuggle-in contraband. 

Part of why the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, is that the prison population keeps on growing, spreading like some kind of epidemic.  According to Virginia Tech researchers, that's exactly what's happening.  They did a study that found, going to prison is contageous.

University of Virginia School of Law

Experts believe that about 4% of people in prison or jail didn’t actually commit the crime for which they were convicted.  In Virginia state prisons alone, that means more than a thousand people shouldn’t be there. Sandy Hausman looks at why wrongful conviction happens, and why a literary celebrity is lending his name to the fight for reform.

Dave Nakayama / Creative Commons

Virginia has about 30,000 people in state prisons, and 15-30% of them could be infected with a deadly disease usually contracted when intravenous drug users share needles.  Treatment costs thousands of dollars, so the state doesn’t provide it to everyone who’s infected.  Now, however, one inmate is suing for the life-saving cure as Sandy Hausman reports.