Chevron may be merging with Texaco, but it recently sought a much more unlikely partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In an August letter — obtained by Mother Jones and excerpted below — the oil company proposes converting its “uneconomic” offshore drilling platforms into high-security cell bocks. George Steinbach, Chevron’s decommissioning project manager, enthusiastically terms his proposal a “recycling opportunity.”

But in an interview with the magazine, David Dorworth, chief site selector at the Prison Bureau, was quick to torpedo the idea. “Ever since the movie Waterworld,” he says, “we seem to be getting an inordinate number of these suggestions. The bottom line is: Island-type facilities are not cost effective, they’re not safe, and they’re not practical. All these issues,” says Dorworth, “contributed to Alcatraz being closed.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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