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
Sep 16, 2014
Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

Sep 16, 2014
From "Rich Hill"

“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

 
Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment
 
Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

More »
1 Comment
 
Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

More »
2 Comments