Law and Order

Law and Order
5:54 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Solitary Confinement Costs $78K Per Inmate And Should Be Curbed, Critics Say

The U.S. holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic country, according to critics of the treatment. Here, an immigrant detainee makes a call from his "segregation cell" at a detention facility in Adelanto, Calif., last November.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 6:43 am

Former prisoners spoke about the effects of solitary confinement Tuesday, in a congressional hearing aimed at banning the treatment for some inmates. The federal push to reduce solitary confinement is being led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who calls it "a human rights issue we can't ignore."

Inmates who are held in solitary confinement spend 23 hours a day in small windowless cells, receiving their food on trays that are pushed through a slot in the cell's door.

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Public Safety
3:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Before Lawmakers, Former Inmates Tell Their Stories

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Some members of Congress are calling for a more humane prison system. They're proposing a ban on solitary confinement for certain prisoners - among them, juveniles, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. Here's Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.

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Public Safety
5:54 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Missouri Execution Stalled Over Lethal Drugs In Short Supply

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:58 pm

A few years ago, Missouri, like other states, was having trouble finding lethal execution drugs. Europe was balking, and U.S. drug manufacturers didn't want a part of it.

So Missouri turned to a place called a compounding pharmacy to make up the needed drugs based on the ingredients. Missouri officials sent an employee to a place called The Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma, with thousands of dollars in cash.

Last week, George Lombardi, director of Missouri's Department of Corrections, explained to lawmakers why his employees had to go to such lengths.

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Public Safety
3:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

ID Check Repeal Prompts Spike In Murders, Study Finds

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Public Safety
10:50 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Is The Death Penalty Dying A Slow Death?

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 3:17 pm

This week, the state of Louisiana delayed the execution of Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of killing his 6-year-old stepson more than two decades ago.

Sepulvado’s lawyers argued that the two drugs that Louisiana officials wanted to use to put Sepulvado to death would violate his eighth amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

There’s a shortage of drugs used for capital punishment, and it’s leading some states to consider bringing back the electric chair or the firing squad.

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Public Safety
6:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

No Jail For Teen With 'Affluenza' Who Killed 4 In Crash

The Texas teen who was legally intoxicated last June when he caused a crash that killed four people and seriously wounded two others, was in a Fort Worth court Wednesday. Note: NPR avoids identifying minors who are prosecuted as juveniles or are victims of crimes. Other news outlets have reported his name, however.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:00 am

A Texas judge has rejected a request from prosecutors that she send a teenager to jail for driving drunk and causing a crash last year that killed four people and seriously wounded two others.

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Public Safety
2:46 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA

David Ranta speaks with reporters after being freed by a judge in March 2013. Ranta spent more than two decades in prison before a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the shooting of a Brooklyn rabbi.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:12 am

2013 was a record-breaking year for exonerations in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.

At least 87 people were set free for crimes they did not commit last year, the highest number since researchers began keeping track more than 20 years ago. Some of those people spent decades in prison before release.

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Public Safety
3:50 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Mentally Ill Are Often Locked Up In Jails That Can't Help

Mentally ill inmates who are able to shower, eat, sit quietly and otherwise care for themselves live in the jail's Division 2. A psychologist is stationed right outside the room, and officers are specially trained to deal with psychotic episodes.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 8:55 am

Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Tom Dart walks the halls of his jail every day. With 10,000 inmates, this place is a small city — except a third of the people here are mentally ill.

Dart has created some of the most innovative programs in the country to handle mentally ill inmates, hiring doctors and psychologists, and training staff. But if you ask anyone here, even this jail is barely managing.

"I can't conceive of anything more ridiculously stupid by government than to do what we're doing right now," Dart says.

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Public Safety
10:41 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Long Is Too Long? Congress Revisits Mandatory Sentences

Inmates walk around a recreation yard at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif., in January 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:14 pm

Mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug dealers were once viewed as powerful levers in the nation's war against drugs, a way to target traffickers, and punish kingpins and masterminds.

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Public Safety
6:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Common Story: Bullet's Trajectory Interrupts Child's Path

Ka'nard Allen, twice a victim of gun violence, started at a new this fall in New Orleans. Administrators say he's just like any other fifth-grader, despite all the adversity he's faced in his life.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:31 pm

Murders are down in New Orleans this year, bucking a national trend. Still, gun violence remains a problem — and children can't escape it. They're left with scars both physical and emotional.

What happens after the bullets stop flying? How does a child get up after being gunned down?

One boy's story shows the tragedy of gun violence and a community's efforts to heal its victims.

Caught In The Crossfire

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