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FROM THIS EPISODE

California car dealers want to see “Cash for Clunkers” re-funded. We get a progress report on negotiations with the US Senate. Also, a local judge takes a controversial case away from the jury, and a film critic says the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is making its own problems worse. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, forget about being labeled as “soft on crime,” states all over the country are cutting back on prisons. A 20-year crackdown has contributed to a $100-billion financial shortfall.  Are there cheaper alternatives that still protect public safety?  Will the crisis lead to reform?


Banner image: Cars traded in as part of the federal 'Cash For Clunkers' program are parked at the Galpin Ford in Los Angeles. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Producers:
Karen Radziner
Andrea Brody
Gary Scott

Reporter's Notebook No More Film Program at LACMA? 6 MIN, 24 SEC

After 40 years, the LA County Museum of Art has screened movie classics, but a declining audience for the weekend film program means it's been losing money.  LACMA says it's rethinking it approach to the art of cinema by shutting the program downKenneth Turan is film critic for the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Main Topic Cash for Clunkers Running on Fumes 8 MIN, 11 SEC

As it was leaving town for the August recess last Friday, the House of Represented voted to spend another $2 billion on Cash for Clunkers—which ran through its first billion in less than a week.  The Senate is still at work in Washington, but it may not be so eager to refund a popular program.  Peter Welch is President of the California New Car Dealers Association.

Guests:
Peter Welch, President, California New Car Dealers Association

Making News Judge Dismisses Suzie Pena Lawsuit 7 MIN, 28 SEC

Four years ago, a 19-month old Susie Peña was killed during a police shootout with her father. He was killed too after police stormed his office. Her mother sued the Los Angeles Police Department for wrongful death and negligence. Today, after three weeks of trial, Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu took the case away from the jury. Freelance journalist Celeste Fremon, who specializes on gangs and law enforcement, blogs at WitnessLA.com.

Guests:
Celeste Fremon, WitnessLA.com (@witnessla)

Main Topic Will Broken State Budgets Mean Prison Reform? 35 MIN, 20 SEC

In the past 20 years, state prison budgets have increased by 303 percent, outgrowing everything else except Medicaid. America's prison population is now much larger than China's, and five states spend more on corrections than higher education. But every state is now faced with the worst financial crisis in decades, and that's leading to cuts that only recently were considered off limits. The Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States funded a recent report on the fiscal crisis in corrections.

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

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