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Cellmates in Solitary, a Secret Gang Database and More in MuckReads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email?  Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Shocking force: Police in Maryland didn't follow Taser safety recommendations in hundreds of incidents, The Baltimore Sun

Tasers are widely seen as a less-lethal option when it comes to policing, but when used improperly, they can be deadly. This Baltimore Sun investigation found that Maryland police regularly use tasers on "suspects who pose no immediate threat," and in doing so, violate safety recommendations with sometimes fatal consequences.

The Deadly Consequences of Solitary With a Cellmate, The Marshall Project/NPR

Most imagine solitary confinement as a single prisoner, alone in a cell. But the fact is, over 80 percent of federal prisoners in solitary have a cellmate, according to a Federal Bureau of Prisons review. And experts say the cramped conditions can produce a "powder keg" situation, as when Illinois inmate Bernard Simmons was killed by his cellmate less than six hours after being placed in solitary confinement. This joint investigation by The Marshall Project and NPR examines what happens when prison overpopulation spills into solitary confinement.

Epidemic Ignored: Why does the number of mentally ill Oklahomans in prison continue to rise?, NewsOK

In Oklahoma and nationwide, more people with severe mental illnesses are finding themselves in prison facilities instead of receiving the help they need. In fact, 57 percent of the offenders in Oklahoma's Department of Corrections population are affected by mental illness. This is the story of one person in a justice system that is, according to the lead prosecutor in Oklahoma's largest county, "doing it wrong."

You may be in California's gang database and not even know it, Reveal News

In 1988, California created the STEP Act, a law allowing state judges to dole out harsher punishments to gang members. The law established criteria, "based on tattoos, gang-related clothing or self-admission," to identify gang members and paved the way for CalGang, a statewide database to track gang membership. But while less than half of California's population is Latino or black, "85 percent of those entered into the database as alleged gang members or associates are Latino or black," according to this investigation. And, advocates say, CalGang, may be ensnaring the innocent.

In N.F.L., Deeply Flawed Concussion Research and Ties to Big Tobacco, The New York Times

The National Football League often cites its own research as "scientific evidence that brain injuries did not cause long-term harm to its players." However, this New York Times investigation found that the league's studies omitted more than 100 diagnosed concussions – including those of prominent athletes such as Troy Aikman and Steve Young. By leaving these concussions out, one neuropsychologist says, "You're not doing science here; you are putting forth some idea that you already have."

#MuckReads Local:Hollow Columns Holding Up Some of Washington's Busiest Bridges Could Implode In Major Quake, KUOW

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