FROM Michael Rushford
Crime and Punishment: Is It Time for Reform? After decades of “tough on crime” laws, the US has packed its prisons with young, black convicts for non-violent drug crimes. Many conservatives now agree a system that’s not working is not worth the cost, and the call for reform is becoming bipartisan. On Monday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 federal prisoners serving long sentences — including life -- for non-violent drug crimes. On Tuesday, he addressed the convention of the NAACP . Today he became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, the El Reno Correctional Institution in Oklahoma, as part of a campaign to overhaul America’s justice system.
Can a Hunger Strike Force Changes in State Prisons? After months in the planning stage, 30,000 inmates in California prisons began refusing food on Monday in what they hope will come to be recognized by corrections department officials as another full-fledged hunger strike. One of the organizers of this week's action is Todd Ashker, who's recorded voice is on the website of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity group. Asker lives in a Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay up near the Oregon border – a windowless cells where he spends 22 and a half hours alone every day. He's been there for 27 years.
A Change of Heart on California's Killers "The Briggs death penalty law in California simply doesn't work." That's according to Ron Briggs, who wrote the law, along with his father, then State Senator John Briggs, in 1977. It was passed by the voters in 1978. Ron, who's now in his second term as Supervisor of El Dorado County, is endorsing the SAFE California campaign, which would replace the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole. We hear from Briggs and others.
Can California Still Afford the Capital Punishment? Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, thirteen condemned inmates have been executed in California. At least 56 have died from illness, suicide or natural causes. No less than 713 now live on Death Row, and last week, Governor Brown cancelled a $356 million plan to build a new facility. Now his Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has put off any further attempt at an execution at least until next year.
It's OJ, All Over Again Former football star OJ Simpson has been acquitted of murder and convicted of wrongful death. Now he’s charged with ten felony counts, including kidnapping and murder. Reporters who covered the first two trials and lawyers who rode the case to fame on TV showed up in Las Vegas today to see Simpson released on bail for $125,000 dollars. It was a circus atmosphere including Marcia Clark , the prosecutor who failed to convict Simpson of killing his wife and her friend, Ron Goldman . Clark was covering the story today for “ Entertainment Tonight .” Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images News
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.