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FROM THIS EPISODE

America's crackdown on crime is giving way to concern about the high-cost of mass incarceration. President Obama wants to give Pell Grants for college to inmates in prison — to find out if higher education makes them less likely to commit new crimes. Researchers say he already knows the answer.

Later on the program, we go inside a California prison class to hear what college-level education is like behind bars.

Producers:
Jenny Hamel
Jared Morgan

'Star Wars' Pushes Box Office Boundaries 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Hollywood set a box-office record two years ago, but it may not survive -- partly because of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is already breaking individual records this season.

Matthew Belloni is executive editor at the Hollywood Reporter.

Guests:
Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard (@THRMattBelloni)

Pell Grants for Prisoners? 33 MIN, 39 SEC

Pell Grants are for students who can't afford college. In the 1990's, America cracked down on crime, and President Bill Clinton signed a ban on Pell Grants for inmates in federal and state prisons. Then this year, President Obama plans to lift the ban — which he's allowed to do in the interests of gathering data. But the data is already in. With education, former prisoners do better on the outside; they're less likely to be imprisoned again, and that saves taxpayer money. Opponents say students who've never committed crimes are more deserving. We bring you that debate.

Guests:
Josh Mitchell, Wall Street Journal (@JMitchellWSJ)
Vivian Nixon, College and Community Fellowship (@ccf_ny)
Roger Pilon, Cato Institute (@roger_pilon)
Lois Davis, RAND Corporation (@LoisMDavis)

More:
Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for Incarcerated Individuals
Mitchell on mixed response to Obama's plan to restore Pell Grants for prisoners
Rep. Collins' new Kids before Cons legislation
Duncan defends Pell Grants in Atlantic interview
RAND study on the effectiveness of correctional education

Using Prison Education to Fight Recidivism in California 9 MIN, 44 SEC

This year, both liberals and conservatives have agreed that it's time to end the "mass incarceration" produced by the "crackdown on crime" of 20 years ago. KCRW is exploring how California is handling the "re-entry" of prisoners back into society. Our producer Jenny Hamel went behind bars to report on an educational program that offers everything from vocational courses to higher education. We also hear about recent legislation that has the State getting into the act.


Photo courtesy of the Prison Education Project

Guests:
Jenny Hamel, Producer, 'To the Point' (@HamelKCRW)
Brant Choate, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (@bchoate1)

More:
Prison Education Project
Rand study on education, vocational training in prisons reducing recidivism

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