Amanda Hernandez

Amanda Hernandez

Amanda Hernández is a staff writer for Stateline, which first published this report.

A screenshot of the interface for Ohio’s sexual assault kit tracking system, d

Sexual assault survivors can now track their rape kits in most states

By: - September 8, 2023

It can take hours for a sexual assault victim to undergo the multiple swabs, hair samples, blood and urine collections, and other invasive procedures of a sexual assault examination. And then it can take months, sometimes years, for investigators to process that evidence kit. But now, responding to demands from survivors and their advocates, more […]

a sign outside Wisconsin's Columbia Correctional Institution

Stifling prison heat used to be just a Southern problem. Not anymore.

By: - August 15, 2023

While sweltering heat in prisons without air conditioning has long been an issue in the South, (see NC Newsline’s August 14 “Monday numbers” report) extreme heat waves worsened by climate change are expanding the problem into Northern states. In recent years, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin have seen extreme heat in prisons. Many […]

a sticker on a plastic bag reads "DANGER: contains Fentanyl"

States stiffen penalties for fentanyl, despite public health concerns

By: - July 20, 2023

As they struggle to reduce drug overdose deaths, policymakers across the United States are embroiled in a heated debate over creating and increasing criminal penalties related to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that’s up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Legislators pushing the new wave of criminal penalties say the laws will deter drug […]

customers wait in line outside a cannabis outlet

As more states legalize pot, their uneven safety rules can pose a risk

By: - July 10, 2023

Amid the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis use across the country, a concerning reality has emerged: The state-by-state patchwork of safety regulations can leave marijuana consumers wandering through a haze of uncertainty, exposing them to potential risks. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal — period. So, it’s up to individual states to determine their […]