90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
What American Prison Reform Could Mean
Attorney General Eric Holder, left, and U.S. Attorney Zane David, right, look on as former federal inmates Robert Warner who completed the Supervision to Aid Re-entry (STAR) program, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia. Holder is on a planned three-city tour to promote the need for innovative federal programs that help ex-offenders confront their return to society after years in prison. (AP)

Attorney General Eric Holder, left, and U.S. Attorney Zane David, right, look on as former federal inmates Robert Warner who completed the Supervision to Aid Re-entry (STAR) program, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia. Holder is on a planned three-city tour to promote the need for innovative federal programs that help ex-offenders confront their return to society after years in prison. (AP)

Prison reform in the United States is a big and sometimes controversial issue. What’s the best way to lower the world’s largest prison population in a time of severely-limited state and federal budget allocations without running the risk of improperly releasing dangerous criminals?

There’s no easy answer, and our March 20 hour on reform tried to dig through some of the heavier issues at hand. We thought guest Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio’s Prison Time Media Project did a fantastic job laying out the potential and peril in prison reform.

“[U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder’s working on a number of fronts here,” Mann said. “”These are things that would shift tectonically the debate over crime and punishment in America.” Ultimately, Mann said, the Attorney General’s efforts are aimed at lowering sentences for non-violent drug offenders and curbing the “recycling” of inmates in and out of jail.

“We’re seeing a patchwork level of experimentation [in the states],” Mann said.

What do you make of these patchwork prison reform efforts at the federal and state level? Is there a way for bipartisan reform? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Dee Dee B

    I highly recommend : The New Jim crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness –

    Thirty years ago, fewer than 350,000 people were held in prisons and jails in the United States. Today, the number of inmates in the United States exceeds 2,000,000. In this book, Alexander argues that this system of mass incarceration “operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.” The War on Drugs, the book contends, has created “a lower caste of individuals who are permanently barred by law and custom from mainstream society.” Mass incarceration, and the disabilities that come with the label “felon,” serve, metaphorically, as the new Jim Crow.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 24, 2014
Orchid (Galileo55/Flickr)

We’ll look at the new science of what plants feel, smell, see – and remember.

 
Jul 24, 2014
Youths seen playing basketball through bars on a window at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Ethan Allen School in Wales, Wis. (AP file)

The cold hard facts about juvenile prisons. And the case for shutting them all down. Plus: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is with us.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
1 Comment