Monsters of 2021: Fancy government charts with no raw data

This monster always rears its ugly head just when I think I’m getting what I want: a public dataset that could shed light on some injustice or terror in the world. At first it looks alluring. It’s usually a government database presented in a veritable theme park of graphs and labeled numbers. But hiding just underneath the download button it lurks, silent. The option to download the raw data is not available.

Why is a mother serving more time than the man who abused her daughter?

When my colleague Ryan Little and I conducted a groundbreaking review of the state’s court records, we identified hundreds of people who were charged under the law since 2009, when a new version of the statute went into effect.
While the language of these laws refers to parents, prosecutors overwhelmingly target mothers, not fathers. Since 2009, at least 90 percent of the people incarcerated for the offense in Oklahoma were women.

An obscure law is sending Oklahoma mothers to prison in droves. We reviewed 1.5 million cases to learn more.

In Oklahoma, failure to protect is the only child abuse charge levied predominantly against women, and it is disproportionately charged against women of color. People charged with the crime there are less likely to have a previous felony record than defendants in firsthand child abuse cases—a sign of just how much more dangerous abusers are than those accused of failing to stand in the way of their abuse. Since 2009, when the latest version of the state’s law went into effect, at least 139 women have been imprisoned solely for failure-to-protect charges. At least 55 are still incarcerated.

We uncovered the impact of GOP voting restrictions in one key state. It's staggering.

A new data analysis by Mother Jones shows that the number of voters disenfranchised by rejected mail ballot applications skyrocketed after the GOP-controlled legislature passed sweeping new restrictions on mail voting last year. The law enacted in March 2021 shortened the time people have to request and return mail ballots, prohibited election officials from sending such applications to all voters, added new ID requirements, and dramatically curtailed the use of ballot drop boxes, among other changes.
During municipal elections in November, Georgia voters were 45 times more likely to have their mail ballot applications rejected—and ultimately not vote as a result—than in 2020. If that same rejection rate were extrapolated to the 2020 race, more than 38,000 votes would not have been cast in a presidential contest decided by just over 11,000 votes.

How Purdue Pharma paid out to politicians and pill-pushers

Before it was dissolved this fall, Purdue Pharma made billions selling the painkillers behind the overdose crisis while giving millions to patient advocacy groups, doctors’ organizations, and academia—spending that effectively served as an OxyContin marketing blitz.

Yet the details of this largesse have long been murky. Congressional and media investigations have named only a handful of recipients, and a more comprehensive view of Purdue’s payouts didn’t exist—until now.

Buried among thousands

NEW EVIDENCE: Trump extremists brought numerous guns to the Capitol on January 6

For more than eight months, Republican lawmakers have sought to rewrite the harrowing events of January 6. They have continually whitewashed the assault on the US Capitol despite copious footage showing mobs of Trump supporters ransacking Congress, threatening to kill Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and viciously attacking scores of police officers with chemical spray, fire extinguishers, hockey sticks, and flagpoles. The attack led to several deaths and was followed by