#35: The Criminalization of Mental Illness

Criminal Injustice returns with a new season on Sept. 5, 2017. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite past episodes. This episode originally appeared Jan. 31, 2017. ================= The largest provider of services to the mentally ill in America is not a health care provider – it is the criminal justice system. And on any given day, Chicago's Cook County Jail is actually the largest mental health institution in the entire country. Sheriff Tom Dart runs the facility, and he's radically changed how the system in Chicago treats the mentally ill.

Best of Criminal Injustice: The Serial Effect (October 2016)

Our vast criminal justice system forces us to think about big issues like fairness and safety. But what can we learn from a deep examination of a single case, in which we dive as far down as we can and learn every detail? We ask these questions of Serial host and co-producer Sarah Koenig, who regularly reports and produces stories for This American Life. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

Bonus: "Please Don't Be Too Nice"

There's been a vocal response to President Trump's remarks before an audience of police officers last week, when he seemed to encourage rough handling of suspects. The president's defenders say it was a joke, but many law enforcement professionals aren't laughing.

Best of Criminal Injustice: Prosecutor as Innovator (September 2016)

Criminal Injustice returns with a new season on September 5th, 2017. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite past episodes. This episode originally appeared Sept. 12, 2016. ================= The prosecutor sits in a powerful position in the American criminal justice system, deciding who to charge and with what, and wielding significant discretion. Some prosecutors use this power to focus narrowly on crime, but San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon uses his office to attempt to better the system, increase public safety, and make his city a stronger community. He explains "Neighborhood Courts" and the merits of a "Behavioral Health Justice Center." Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

Bonus: What Happened to Justine Damond?

Details are still sparse in the fatal shooting of 40-year-old Justine Damond, an Australian national, by Minneapolis police on July 15. But what we do know points to a serious problem with the relationship between police and the people who rely on them for protection and safety.

#61: How Often Do Police Shoot Civilians? Don't Ask the Government

The federal government doesn't record anything when police shoot civilians, and there's no national database to tell us how big or complex the problem is. One newspaper journalist says he learned a lot requesting documents from more than 400 jurisdictions in his home state alone. In six years and more than 800 shootings, not one resulted in criminal charges. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

Bonus: Another Mistrial in the Police Shooting of Sam Dubose

Ohio prosecutors have declined to seek a third trial against a white University of Cincinnati Police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a 2015 traffic stop. Details and analysis on this bonus episode.

#59: Chicken Prosecutors: Why No One Went to Jail for the Housing Crash

Some of the biggest banks and financial institutions had a big part in the 2008 crash. Millions lost homes, jobs and savings – yet no one at the top went to jail. Our guest, Pulitzer Prize-winner Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica, says it's because federal prosecutors have joined the "chickenshit club." Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

Bonus: Was It Treason?

The latest bombshell development in the Trump-Russia affair — news of Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer he hoped would provide him with incriminating information on Hillary Clinton — has prompted some pretty intense rhetoric. Intimations of "treason," for instance. But does the concept apply here? We examine the legal definition of treason in the context of Trump and Russia.

#58: What Does 21st Century Policing Really Mean?

We hear it all the time: law enforcement needs to change for the 21st century. But what does "21st century policing" actually mean? Ronald Davis helped write the blueprint. He'll tell us where policing is now, and where it needs to go. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

# 57: Rethinking DNA Evidence

In the last 25 years, DNA has become a tool of unparalleled power, solving the coldest cases and overturning guilty verdicts. But a new process for analyzing DNA using computers means we have to re-think our DNA system.

Bonus: When Video Evidence Isn't Enough

The Minnesota police officer who killed Philando Castile has been acquitted, despite video evidence of the shooting seen by the jury. How did this happen?

#56: A Police Apology for a Lynching

A chief of police must create a strong relationship between officers in the department and the communities they serve, but in the past, the same department may enforced racial discrimination. One police chief decided to apologize – for an incident 77 years ago.

Bonus: What Happens After a Mistrial?

The rape trial of Bill Cosby has ended in a mistrial. What happens next?

#55: Mandatory Minimums: Judgment Without Justice

Being a federal judge is a lawyer's dream job – lifetime tenure, sophisticated cases, and a good salary, too. So why did Kevin Sharp, a well-respected federal trial judge, give all this up just six years in? Mandatory minimums are a problem for a lot of people on both sides of American courts, especially in the age of Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

Bonus: What is Obstruction of Justice, Anyway?

Three words you may have been hearing a lot lately: "obstruction of justice." What's the legal definition of obstruction? And how is it prosecuted? David has answers.

#54: License Plates As Mass Surveillance Tools?

They're called Automatic License Plate Readers: high speed cameras on police cars and light poles, capturing plate numbers. They're great for spotting stolen cars, or wanted drivers – but when did they become tools for watching the rest of us?

Bonus: SCOTUS and Cell Phone Surveillance

The Supreme Court will hear Carpenter vs. United States. a case with major implications for police use of location data from cellular networks. David reviews what's at stake.

#53: Forensic Science is No 'Science' at All

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of federal efforts to fix forensic science in April, but not because the problems were solved. Why stop these efforts now, just as better scientific standards were emerging? And what will it mean for wrongful convictions? John Hollway, associate dean and executive director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, explains. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

#52: The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice reform – it's always been a liberal issue. But in the last few years, reform efforts have started to emerge on the right too. It's one of the few issues seeing bipartisan agreement in our polarized country.

Bonus: What to Watch For in the Cosby Trial

With a jury now seated for the rape trial of Bill Cosby, we preview some of the arguments prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to make.

#51: Weaponized Flying Robocops are Watching You

Drones were developed as weapons of war, but they've begun to find their way into domestic police work as well. They could help officers trace suspects or missing persons or assess threats like toxic spills, but they also pose a threat to privacy. Matthew Feeney of the Cato Institute says those technological toys come with some serious concerns. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.

Bonus: Jeff Sessions

Analysis of Attorney General Jeff Sessions's May 10th memo directing federal prosecutors to pursue the strictest charges and the harshest sentences "the evidence supports."

#50: Establishing Innocence After a Guilty Verdict

The exposure of wrongful convictions began in 1989, and it upended the idea that guilty verdicts were always trustworthy. When there's a wrongful conviction, what has to happen to get a court to exonerate someone? Marissa Boyers Bluestine is the Litigation Director for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, and she tells us what it's really like, on the ground, working to establish innocence – after a guilty verdict. Find more at criminalinjusticepodcast.com.