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FROM THIS EPISODE

Forget about being labeled as "soft on crime," states all over the country are cutting back on prisons. A 20-year crackdown has led to a $100 billion financial shortfall.  Are there cheaper alternatives that still protect public safety? Will the crisis lead to reform? Also, Iran’s Supreme Leader endorses Ahmadinejad, and the remains of the first casualty of Operation Desert Storm have been identified after 18 years, but questions remain. How did he die? Why has it taken so long to find him?


Banner image: Inmates at the Mule Creek State Prison interact in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners in Ione, California, August 28, 2007. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Producers:
Gary Scott
Andrea Brody
Rebecca Mooney

Reporter's Notebook Pilot's Remains Found in Iraq after 18 Years 7 MIN, 31 SEC

Scott Speicher was the first casualty of Operation Desert Storm, his F/A-18 shot down on the first day of the Persian Gulf War. The Navy captain was the only American still missing until yesterday, when remains were positively identified in the province of Anbar, Iraq. Speicher's remains were found near the crash site, but at one point during the past 18 years, there were rumors that he had been captured. A spokesman says his family is still skeptical that he died in the crash. Thom Shanker is reporting the story for the New York Times.

Guests:
Thom Shanker, Pentagon Correspondent, New York Times

Main Topic Will Broken State Budgets Mean Prison Reform? 35 MIN, 40 SEC

The United States has more people in prison than anyplace in the world. China's a distant second. After 20 years of tough-on-crime legislation, state prison budgets have increased by 303 percent, outgrowing everything else except Medicaid. Five states spend more on corrections than higher education. But the crackdown is costing more than states can afford. The total shortfall is $100 billion, and even some hard-core conservatives support reforms in sentencing, parole and probation.  Recent evidence shows that less expensive alternative punishments can work. But it's also true that imprisonment keeps criminals off the street. Will the financial crisis produce real reform or temporary savings that risk public safety?

Guests:
Adam Gelb, Pew Center on the States (@pewstates)
Joan Petersilia, Stanford Criminal Justice Center
Michael Sullivan, former US Attorney
Marc Mauer, Sentencing Project

Making News Iran's Supreme Leader Endorses Ahmadinejad 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Iran's Supreme Leader has formally approved a second presidential term for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but important officials boycotted the ceremony and it was broadcast only on state-run TV. Borzou Daragahi is reporting from Beirut, Lebanon for the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Borzou Daragahi, Financial Times (@borzou )

Guest Interview Iran’s Supreme Leader Endorses Ahmadinejad 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Iran's Supreme Leader has formally approved a second presidential term for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but important officials boycotted the ceremony and it was broadcast only on state-run TV. Borzou Daragahi is reporting from Beirut, Lebanon for the Los Angeles Times.

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