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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: January, 2019
Jan 29, 2019

Criminal Injustice season 1 guest Sam Walker argues in the Illinois Law Review that criminal justice reform is still possible.

Jan 26, 2019

The Supreme Court delivers decisions on two criminal justice hot buttons: civil asset forfeiture and double jeopardy. 

Jan 22, 2019

Black Americans say they often experience difficulty with police that whites don't experience: extra scrutiny, harassment, profiling, even violence. Police say they have a difficult job that others just don't understand. What's it like to be both black and a police officer?

Matthew Horace is a former officer and the co-author of a fascinating memoir that explores this dynamic, The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America's Law Enforcement.

Jan 21, 2019

If Donald Trump goes on Fox News to issue what sounds like a veiled threat against Michael Cohen's family, isn't that obstruction? Or witness tampering, at the least? One school of thought holds that Trump's thinking is too disorganized, and his rhetoric too incoherent, to hold him accountable for much of anything he says.

Jan 17, 2019

President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer will serve three years in prison for campaign finance violations and other crimes, despite (sorta, kinda) cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's team. What did Michael Cohen tell them, and what did he leave out?

Jan 14, 2019

Some district attorneys' offices keep secret lists of police officers who are not to be called to testify because their credibility is in question. How widespread is the practice?

Jan 12, 2019

Following his death last month former president George H.W. Bush was eulogized as a moderate who carried himself with dignity and grace, recalling a kinder and gentler era in American politics.

But Bush's record on criminal justice tells another story. From the Willie Horton ad to the Oval Office speech in which he dangled a bag of crack before the camera, Bush weaponized tough-on-crime rhetoric laden with racial dogwhistles, pushing drug-war policies that led to mass incarceration and worse.

Jan 8, 2019

Since the creation of the first SWAT teams in the 1960s, militarized police units have multiplied. SWAT teams can rescue hostages or handle emergencies – but are they used that way? Do they increase public safety? And what’s the impact on the public, and on officers? Guest Jonathan Mummolo, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, discusses his new research into the effect of police militarization – on crime, on communities of color, and on police agencies themselves.

Guest: Jonathan Mummolo, Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Militarization Fails to Enhance Police Safety or Reduce Crime but May Harm Police Reputation

Jan 5, 2019

At the start of a new year, producer Josh Raulerson joins David for a recap of 2018's biggest criminal justice stories and a look at what may be in store for 2019.

Topics: repercussions from police shootings in Chicago and East Pittsburgh, PA; progressive elected prosecutors pushing reforms in a growing number of cities; the state of marijuana decriminalization and legalization; the endgame for Robert Mueller's investigation into Donald Trump and associates; Jeff Sessions exits the Trump administration; inmates organize around prison labor; the Supreme Court rules in Carpenter; and how the Justice Department's abdication of responsibility for fighting domestic terrorism from the right led to a surge in violent hate crimes.

Criminal Justice returns with all-new episodes on Tuesday, January 8.

Jan 1, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on January 8, 2019. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared May 29, 2018.

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The word “torture” conjures images of Abu Ghraib in Iraq, or waterboarding at CIA black sites. But in the 70s and 80s, torture went on in parts of the Chicago Police Department for years. We’ll learn what happened, and we’ll talk about the consequences for civilians and the justice system.

Steve Mills is a veteran journalist and Deputy Editor of ProPublica Illinois

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