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

Criminal (In)Justice

From 90.5 WESA

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.

Most Recent Episodes

Bonus: San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition

In the metropolitan heart of the tech industry, San Francisco bars police and city agencies from using facial recognition software. The latest in a string of recent stories we've been following on evolving technologies of surveillance. CI #36 Alvaro Bedoya CI #49 Barry Friedman

Ask Dave: What Can We Do About Surveillance?

Apropos of our recent episode on ALPRs, Holly from Idaho asks: what can we, as citizens, do about these surveillance systems that seem to be popping up in the digital world?

#104 From Mass Incarceration, to E-carceration

Mass incarceration remains the hallmark of the US justice system, as it has been for decades. In the last ten years, in some states, we see less jail in low-level cases and more electronic monitoring. But does this just trade one form of custody for another? Our guest, law professor Chaz Arnett, reveals the new world of e-carceration. He's the author of "Virtual Shackles: Electronic Surveillance and the Adultification of Juvenile Courts" and "From Decarceration to E-carceration."

Bonus: Chalk Talk

A federal court ruling on the practice of marking tires with chalk to enforce parking ordinances delivers an unexpected reinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment.

Bonus: ALPR Revisited

Using ubiquitous traffic cameras that can read license plate numbers, cities are building automated surveillance networks that indiscriminately scoop up data on the movements of individual vehicles. When an Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) system sees a plate that matches one in a police database, officers are dispatched — sometimes with guns drawn. These systems have shockingly high error rates. What could possibly go wrong? Charlie Warzel, "When License-Plate Surveillance Goes Horribly Wrong"

#103 The Redemption Project

The American criminal justice system is all about finding the bad guys, convicting them, and penalizing them — often by sending them to prison. But what does that do to help victims restore themselves? Can we imagine a system not of criminal justice, but restorative justice? Van Jones is a CNN contributor and host of The Redemption Project.

Bonus: Who Does Bill Barr Think He Is?

Where does U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr get off ordering immigration judges around? Turns out many federal officials commonly referred to as "judges" — those appointed under Article I — are actually employed by and accountable to federal agencies (in this case, the Justice Department).

Bonus: [REDACTED]

Now that a redacted version of the full Mueller report is out, how do its contents stack up against initial reaction to A.G. Bill Barr's four-page summary? Strap in, there's a lot to cover.

#102 Prosecution at the Crossroads

American prosecutors have always been powerful figures in our justice system: they decide the charges, and offer the plea bargains. But our guest says they have become far too powerful – resulting in mass incarceration and the wrecking of human lives over trivial offenses. Emily Bazelon, best-selling author and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, says it's time for this to change. She's the author of "Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Criminal Justice and End Mass Incarceration."

Bonus: Pittsburgh's Gun Gambit

The City of Pittsburgh made national news by passing gun control legislation that's all but certain to trigger lawsuits under a state law that bars municipalities from regulating firearm ownership locally. Will it hold up in court?

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