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Criminal (In)justice

Problems with police, prosecutors and courts have people asking: is our criminal justice system broken? University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris interviews the people who know the system best, and hears their best ideas for fixing it. Criminal (In)justice is an independent production created in partnership with 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station.
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Now displaying: February, 2018
Feb 27, 2018

Bill Cosby faces a second sexual assault trial after a hung jury scuttled the first one. But doesn't the Constitution protect people from being tried twice for the same crime?

Feb 24, 2018

Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania are threatening to impeach state Supreme Court justices over redrawn congressional districts. What could possibly go wrong?

Feb 23, 2018

A tale of ethical shenanigans by two married lawyers: when she's disbarred after a fraud conviction, he looks the other way while she continues practicing without a license. 

Feb 20, 2018

In the U.S., judges set bail – an amount of money defendants must deposit with the court -- to make sure people appear in court. Defendants must pay the bail amount to get released to wait for trial. Those with enough money to get out before trial, but those without cash stay in jail – regardless of the risk they pose. Could a data-based system do a better job of assessing these risks, and keep the poor out of jail before trial?

Matt Alsdorf is founder and president of Pretrial Advisors, and former Vice President for Criminal Justice at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Matt headed up the foundation’s effort to apply a data-based solution to the problem of pretrial incarceration – the Public Safety Assessment tool.

Feb 17, 2018

Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania. But increasingly, jurisdiction-level policy decisions are pushing cities toward decriminalization. This week, Philadelphia's newly-elected reformist D.A. announced his office is dropping all simple-possession marijuana cases. What's his reasoning, and how will the move affect policing?

Feb 14, 2018

More U.S. cities are considering opening "safe injection sites" where addicts can inject intravenous drugs under medical supervision. The goal is harm reduction, and there's strong evidence the practice saves lives. But is it legal?

Feb 12, 2018

Fired for allegedly stealing from her firm, a Pennsylvania lawyer is now accused of breaking into the office to rob her former co-workers.

Feb 10, 2018

President Trump's lawyers are anxious about the prospect of an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Can they avoid it? Should they try?

Feb 8, 2018

More and more states are legalizing marijuana, but California is taking it a step further by retroactively vacating old convictions. 

Feb 6, 2018

Private hold over 100,000 people in the U.S. Some say they provide needed flexibility as corrections populations change and budgets shrink. But what really happens when punishment is about profit? 

Lauren-Brooke Eisen is Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center’s Justice Program and author of Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

Feb 4, 2018

A small-town judge plants recording devices all over a New Mexico county courthouse to spy on employees and colleagues. 

Feb 3, 2018

In some states, people convicted of felonies lose certain rights -- notably, the right to vote. What's the legal justification for a practice that indefinitely suspends the civil rights of convicts, even after they've served their sentences?

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