Gabriel Thompson

Gabriel Thompson is an independent journalist who has written for publications that include The New York Times, Harper's, New York, Slate, and The Nation. His most recent book is Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture.

Recent Articles

California Ramps Up College Education Behind Bars

Prisons have been called universities of crime. What if they became, instead, actual universities?

Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece. In January 2017, Peter Fulks, a former police officer, stepped inside the California Correctional Institution (CCI), a sprawling supermax prison of more than 4,000 inmates, located just west of the foothill community of Tehachapi. The previous year, Fulks had accepted a teaching job at Cerro Coso Community College, which serves the sparsely populated eastern end of Kern County. The baby-faced 32-year-old had only a semester under his belt when he had volunteered to take his course about criminal justice inside a criminal justice facility, part of a daring experiment in California to provide face-to-face college courses to people behind bars. Fulks wasn’t sure what to expect at CCI. He admired the idea of teaching prisoners, and believed education could be transformative, but he was also prepared for...

What Will Become of California's Progressivism If the Court Sides with Janus?

The Supreme Court is expected to side in Janus v. AFSCME against public-sector unions, a key force in bringing the state’s progressive ballot initiatives to victory.

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece. Mark Janus, an Illinois child-support worker, will soon argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that his free-speech rights have been violated because he must pay “agency fees” to a union that negotiates contracts on his behalf. Last year, California elementary school teacher Rebecca Friedrichs made the same First Amendment arguments at the high court against the teachers association to which she paid agency fees. The court deadlocked on Friedrichs’s complaint following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, but his replacement, Justice Neil Gorsuch, is widely expected to cast a decisive vote in favor of Janus and against public-sector unions in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. In 2012, as Election Day neared, polls showed dwindling support for...