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Just after Marin County planners raised the roof on their new 110,000-square-foot prison in this affluent San Francisco suburban area, they hid it under a plush layer of grass. Nearby, citizens mill about the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Civic Center. But below more than 200 prisoners carry out sentences in 6-by-12-foot cells in a jail dug 60 feet into the earth. When they need to face a judge or jury, guards walk them through an underground tunnel to the courthouse. As far as sunlight goes, they get a glimpse while eating, thanks to the cafeteria’s domed skylight. And there is no unsightly prison to tarnish the Wright structure, a prospect that had concerned local preservationists. How do conditions compare with a notorious, former island prison nearby? Undersheriff Bob Doyle insists the jail is certainly more humane–“There’s no comparison to Alcatraz.” It’s surely less conspicuous. As Doyle says: “You can drive right by it and not even know it’s there.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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