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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.

Also, China devalues its currency. On today's Talking Point, the Watts riot 50 years later. 

Photo: Pixabay

China Devalues Its Currency, Most in Two Decades 6 MIN, 9 SEC

China announced today it is devaluing its currency -- "blockbuster news" for economists, according to Neil Irwin. He's senior economics correspondent for the New York Times, where he writes for "The Upshot," a site for analysis of politics, economics and more.

Neil Irwin, New York Times (@Neil_Irwin)

The Alchemists

Neil Irwin

Pell Grants for Prisoners? 34 MIN

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. Now 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 and they accused Obama of thumbing his nose at Congress.

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)

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

What Watts Means 50 Years Later 9 MIN, 21 SEC

Fifty years ago today, police clashed with a black motorist in Los Angeles, beginning what came to be known as the Watts Riots or the "rebellion." The violence began after two policemen scuffled with a black motorist in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Thirty-four people died and $40 million in property was destroyed. Erin Aubry Kaplan grew up a few minutes away -- in what seemed like a "better neighborhood." But, in the latest edition of Los Angeles Magazine, she writes that Watts came to be a symbol of protest… and even pride.

Alma Reaves Woods Watts Branch Library
Photo: Laurie Avocado

Erin Aubry Kaplan, KCET / Los Angeles Times

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