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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: December, 2019
Dec 31, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on January 7, 2020. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared June 12, 2018.

We often hear that police work requires split-second responses to keep officers and the public safe. But this might be less true than we think. Can we build a better cop, by training them to slow things down? Emily Owens and her colleagues have produced new research that shows that, with a simple and inexpensive intervention, police officers get better outcomes with less use of force.

Dec 24, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on January 7, 2020. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared 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.

Dec 17, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on January 7, 2020. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared Oct 30, 2018.


With every police shooting of an unarmed civilian, we hear calls for civilian oversight of police. But just creating an oversight agency is no magic bullet. What does a civilian review board need to succeed? What’s the evidence on the success of civilian oversight? Our guest, Brian Corr, is the President of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. He’ll talk to us about what makes for success – and what causes these attempts at reform to fail.

Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: Assessing the Evidence (2016)

Dec 15, 2019

Earlier this month, police killed four people on a South Florida highway: two robbery suspects, their apparent hostage, and a bystander. Whether they were right to do so is being fiercely debated. But as Dave tells the Washington Post, the key question is whether the officers' actions were in line with department policies. 

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

Dec 10, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on January 7, 2020. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared February 19, 2019.


We try to solve the problem of mass incarceration by eliminating mandatory sentences, or by getting rid of cash bail. But what about a better method of providing criminal defense services? Could this cut prison and jail populations, AND secure public safety? There’s a way to do this: use a holistic model for criminal defense services. Our guest is James Anderson, the director of the Justice Policy Program and the Institute for Civil Justice, and a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation, in Pittsburgh. He’s one of the authors of “The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes,” which will be published in the Harvard Law Review.

Dec 8, 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. Cory Booker has mostly progressive positions on criminal justice reform, but the one that really distinguishes him is his emphasis on aging prison populations and what happens to former inmates after they've left the system.

Dec 3, 2019

Recommended: NPR's November 4 report on the release of hundreds of prisoners in Oklahoma after their sentences were reduced by the state's Pardon and Parole Board.

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