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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: September, 2019
Sep 28, 2019

Are you a Criminal Injustice patron? If not, here's a taste of what you're missing on the members feed! Unlock this episode and more exclusive content at patreon.com/criminalinjustice.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign has offered meaty policy proposals on a variety of topics, and criminal justice is no exception. While many of her proposals on issues like mass incarceration, marijuana, and private prisons line up with those of other candidates, they're distinguished by the way Warren frames them: with a dual emphasis on reforming the system and upholding public safety.

Sep 24, 2019

A crime summit held recently in St. Louis was a virtual who's-who of high ranking city and state government officials. Conspicuously absent from the gathering were the progressive, African American district attorneys of St. Louis and Kansas City, who were excluded despite having been elected to the top law enforcement post in Missouri's two largest cities. We look at the latest in a trend of anti-democratic attacks on reformist elected prosecutors.


Support Criminal Injustice at $5/month to unlock extra bonus episodes and more on the Members feed: patreon.com/criminalinjustice

Sep 21, 2019

Following a string of bank robberies, Portland police put together a photo lineup of suspects -- including one man whose mugshot had been digitally manipulated to remove prominent facial tattoos that were not present on the robber's face as described by witnesses and as shown on surveillance video. Can they do that?


Support Criminal Injustice at $5/month to unlock extra bonus episodes and more on the Members feed: patreon.com/criminalinjustice

Sep 17, 2019

Urban violence kills thousands of Americans every year.  It accounts for almost three quarters of the murders in the U.S., and it traps a huge number of people in poverty, blight, trauma and despair.  What if there was a way cut murderous urban violence – by half?

Guest Thomas Abt says it can be done with the tools we have now. He’s the author of “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence – and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets.” 


Support Criminal Injustice at $5/month to unlock extra bonus episodes and more on the Members feed: patreon.com/criminalinjustice

Sep 16, 2019

Are you a Criminal Injustice patron? If not, here's a taste of what you're missing on the members feed! Unlock this episode and more exclusive content at patreon.com/criminalinjustice.


To understand Sen. Kamala Harris's criminal justice positions, you have to look at each of the three distinct phases of her career: politically ambitious prosecutor in San Francisco, controversial "top cop" AG of California, and Democratic primary contender lurching leftward as consensus shifts on the issues that defined her. Which is the real Harris?

Sep 13, 2019

The Justice Department has announced it will seek the death penalty in the case against Robert Bowers, the white supremacist gunman who murdered worshippers in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue last year. Dave discusses the decision on Pittsburgh NPR station WESA.


Support Criminal Injustice at $5/month to unlock extra bonus episodes and more on the Members feed: patreon.com/criminalinjustice

Sep 10, 2019

To celebrate the launch of our Patreon, we're sharing the first in a series of presidential candidate profiles: a look at frontrunner Joe Biden's amazing transformation from a tough-on-crime conservative Democrat during the '80s and '90s into a decarcerationist and would-be reformer on the 2020 campaign trail. 

In future episodes we'll be examining the records and rhetoric of each of the major presidential candidates. To hear the rest of the series, become a $5/month Criminal Injustice member and gain access to our new premium content stream! There we'll be releasing more special series like this one, along with extra bonus episodes and videos just for our Patreon supporters -- and, if you're one of the first 100 to join, you'll get a free signed copy of Dave's 2012 book Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science. 

Sep 7, 2019

As reform-minded elected prosecutors gain power across the U.S., they’re increasingly coming under fire from their federal counterparts — most recently, an anti-democratic tirade by U.S. Attorney Bill Barr, who attacked progressive district attorneys for doing what voters elected them to do.


Support Criminal Injustice at $5/month to unlock extra bonus episodes and more on the Members feed: patreon.com/criminalinjustice

Sep 3, 2019

Many people make their social media posts public.  Everyone can see them, like a signed billboard visible anywhere in the world. So, what should we think when we learn that *some* police officers, in some departments, have been posting racist messages or memes endorsing violence, visible to anyone on the Internet? 

Emily Baker-White is founder of The Plain View Project, an organization that gathered and analyzed thousands of social media posts by police officers, from many police departments. The results reveal much – none of it positive – about the racial and other attitudes of some officers. 

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