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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: August, 2019
Aug 30, 2019

In another appearance on 90.5 WESA's The Confluence, Dave follows up on Donald Trump's reinstatement of the federal death penalty.

Aug 27, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with a new season on Tuesday, September 3! Until then, we're reposting one more of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared November 13, 2018.

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We often hear about new methods police try to achieve better results against crime. But do the police have any reason to believe that their new approaches will work? Are their new initiatives based on hope, or on actual evidence that they will really help?

Our guest, Dr. Cynthia Lum, is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Center for Evidence Based Crime Policy, George Mason University. She’ll talk to us about Evidence Based Policing – and how she and her colleagues pioneered an approach that can make sure that what police want to do will really improve things.

Aug 24, 2019

Regardless of how it looks, there’s no direct evidence that Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse death on August 10 was anything other than a suicide. But there’s abundant evidence of a systemic problem with prison suicide — something that’s far more common than most people realize.

Aug 20, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns soon with new episodes. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared November 21, 2017.

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An important rule of legal ethics is the obligation to keep client information confidential. Lawyers say that rule is fundamental to the attorney client relationship, so clients can speak freely. But what happens when following that rule keep someone else – an innocent person – in prison? That’s what happened to Alton Logan, who sat in prison in Illinois for 26 years, even though two lawyer who represented the guilty man knew the truth all along.

We talk to Berl Falbaum, who helped Logan tell his story.

Aug 15, 2019

Bucking a decades-long trend of fewer death sentences imposed by states, the Trump administration wants to bring back capital punishment in federal cases. What does that mean? What happens next?

Aug 13, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns soon with new episodes. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared January 23, 2018.

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Why has the US prison population has grown for decades, surpassing two million? We’ve put more people in jail, but new research shows it’s not just how many people go to prison. What counts, for prison growth, is how long they stay. Ryan King, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, has created a ground-breaking study of how the exponential growth in prisons has really been driven by the growth in long sentences. Even as some states have reformed incarceration around low level offenses, long sentences remain stubbornly in place, and receive almost no attention.

Aug 10, 2019

Here we are again: amid a worsening climate of white supremacist violence and right-wing terrorism, two more horrific mass shootings. How long are we going to keep doing this?

Aug 6, 2019

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

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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

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