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FROM THIS EPISODE

The US locks up more people than any other country — especially blacks and Hispanics imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes. Republicans agree with Democrats it's a waste of money, and bipartisan criminal-justice reforms are pending in both houses of Congress. Will they be stopped in their tracks by recent reports that crime is on the increase?

Also, North Korea says it has restarted its main nuclear facility. On today's Talking Point, polar bears get creative to stay alive. 

Photo: Tony Webster

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney
Katie Cooper
Jenny Hamel

North Korea Says It Has Restarted Its Main Nuclear Facility 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Iran may have agreed to limit its nuclear program, but North Korea says it's getting back into business. It has announced the upgrading and restarting of all its atomic fuel plants — which could be a prelude for a rocket launch to test missile technology. Joshua Stanton blogs at One Free Korea and is a writer for Foreign Affairs magazine.

Guests:
Joshua Stanton, attorney (@freekorea_us)

Will a Reported Crime Wave Kill Criminal Justice Reform? 32 MIN, 17 SEC

Law-and-order Republicans and liberal Democrats agree: federal prisons are overcrowded because tough sentencing laws in the 1990's went too far. Bipartisan criminal-justice reforms have emerged in the House and the Senate, but the pace is slow. Politicians can't survive the charge of being "soft on crime." Now, after decades of declining crime rates, there's a reported increase — especially in homicides. Is it real? Will it put a stop to one of the few measures lawmakers agree on — in a presidential year?

Guests:
Josh Gerstein, Politico (@joshgerstein)
Carl Bialik, FiveThirtyEight (@CarlBialik)
Fred Patrick, Vera Institute of Justice (@verainstitute)
William Fitzpatrick, National District Attorneys' Association (@ndaajustice)

More:
The Atlantic on Obama, backed by bipartisan consensus, seeking overhaul of prison system
Vera Institute report on reconsiderating incarceration, new directions for reducing crime
Brennan Center report on ineffectiveness of mass incarceration

Viral Photo of Polar Bear Captures the Story of Climate Change 11 MIN

Among the most conspicuous victims of climate change are polar bears. Now, a disturbing photograph of a polar bear has gone viral. The creature is reduced almost to skin and bone, hobbling along a narrow ice sheet somewhere in the Arctic. It's a graphic illustration of the devastating impact of climate change on wildlife. We hear how reductions in their habitat and food supply are making them more creative.


Photo by Kerstin Langenberger

Guests:
Kerstin Langenberger, nature photographer
John Platt, Scientific American magazine (@johnrplatt)

More:
National Snow & Ice Data Center on Arctic sea ice at fourth lowest in satellite record

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