While there have been some signs of improvement, America’s incarceration rate has grown pretty steadily over the past half century. “The number of people held in local jails on any day in the United States has increased four-fold since 1970.” And in recent years, there’s been a surge of incarcerations in small towns. “The jail incarceration rate of Lackawanna County, a small county with a population of 213,000, increased by more than 15 times between 1970 and 2014, with racial disparities in incarceration that are both egregious and indicative of uneven incarceration rates in small counties across the country.” From Vera: Why Are There So Many People in Jail in Scranton, PA?

+ The need for data-driven criminal justice reform is (at least as of now), one of America’s few areas of bipartisan agreement. President Obama makes the case that it should remain a focus in the Harvard Law Review: The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform. Obama also seemed to leave a message for his replacement. “Presidents are not private citizens. We need to be careful about speaking about legal matters before all the facts are in — even if it appears that everyone else in the United States is commenting on them.”