criminal justice | KALW

criminal justice

Holly J. McDede / KALW

After Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento police last year, state lawmakers proposed a bill to change the law around when officers can open fire. Activists rallied behind the bill. But when strictest stipulations of the bill were removed to win over law enforcement groups, some withdrew their support. Assembly Bill 392 has now passed the Senate Floor, and California's Governor is expected to sign it. 

George Nikitin / AP Images

The First Offender Prostitution Program is like traffic school, except the goal is to educate people who have been arrested for soliciting prostitutes.

City Visions: What is life like after incarceration?

Jun 10, 2019
Photo by M-SUR


Another in our series on criminal justice in the Bay Area, this show focuses on life after incarceration, or what’s known as “reentry.”

The prisoner who died twice, and lived

May 6, 2019
Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Wilbert Stoneham has been incarcerated since the 70s – a time when prisons were especially dangerous, guards were particularly unpleasant, and Stoneham was one of their targets. He had a terrible relationship with the “watchers” which continued for over 40 years ... until the day he died.  

Replace Our System of Bail 2019?

May 1, 2019

  Tonight, 7pm May 1, 2019, we discuss OUR SYSTEM OF BAIL: WHAT’S RIGHT AND WHAT’S WRONG? Should we still have a cash bail system? If we abolish, what would a successor program look like? If we maintain, is there a way to fix the current system?

Inside the hunt for a wildfire arsonist

Apr 23, 2019
Courtesy of Alan Carlson

Hundreds of California’s wildfires are set on purpose, and the arsonists who start them are rarely caught. This is how CAL Fire caught one of them.

Photo by RJ Muna



On this edition of Your Call, we’ll hear from women whose loved ones have been incarcerated. One in four women and nearly one in two Black women has a family member in prison. Seven million children have had an incarcerated parent. The US has a quarter of the world's prisoners, but only five percent of the world's population.

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

A lot of people are in prison for crimes related to marijuana. But some believe that cannabis could have kept them away from crime, and out of prison.

It's been a year since President Donald Trump signed a package of bills called SESTA-FOSTA to crack down on sex ads online. Supporters said this package would combat sex trafficking. Critics said it would only make the sex trade more dangerous. 

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:


When undocumented immigrants are released from prison they can face deportation. Charles Joseph, who was born in Fiji, says that is what will happen to him.

Courtesy of Nikki Jones

University of California, Berkeley sociologist Nikki Jones is a criminal justice researcher and her latest book is about violence in black neighborhoods and black men with criminal histories who are trying to change their lives. She spent years in the lower Fillmore getting to know the community and what it is like to live in their rapidly changing neighborhood.

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Life without the possibility of parole — LWOP — is a sentence in some ways equal to the death penalty. It means you will spend the rest of your life in prison. The only reprieve is by a governor's commutation or pardon, which is as rare as snow in Barstow, California.

Marc Klaas

Before Governor Gavin Newsom halted the death penalty in California, he met with parents, like Amanda Wilcox and Marc Klaas. Both of their daughters had been murdered, and they both had two very different reactions to the temporary moratorium on capital punishment. 

City Visions: Why has juvenile crime declined?

Apr 1, 2019


Tonight we continue our series on Criminal Justice in the Bay Area, this time with a focus on the juvenile justice system.

San Francisco Sherriff's Department / cropped and resized

From our Audiograph series:

San Francisco’s oldest working jail is located on the top floor of the city’s Hall of Justice. That jail is seismically unsafe, and it’s got a bad reputation — rats wandering behind the walls, peeling old paint, and even frequent raw sewage floods

Uncuffed poetry: Spoon Jackson

Mar 19, 2019

“At Night I Fly” by Spoon Jackson

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

One year ago today, two police officers shot and killed an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento.

Portrait by Christy Zuccarini



On this edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with Chris Wilson about his new book, The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose.

Photo by Sam Beebe

  On this edition of Your Call, we’ll discuss progress and next steps in criminal justice reform.

Flikr User Thomas Hawk / used under CC BY-NC 2.0

BART riders are on edge after a spate of killings on the system, including the brutal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson. In the wake of the violence, the transit agency announced plans for a $28 million dollar security package. That proposal includes a ban on panhandling, a fierce crackdown on fare evasion, and a ramped up surveillance system.

Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

When people who commit minor crimes can't pay their fines, they often end up in jail. It's just one aspect of systemic inequality in the criminal justice system. Peter Edelman explores this racially biased system in his new book Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America.

He argues that the phrases 'school-to-prison pipeline' and 'cradle-to-prison pipeline' are too narrow. The United States has developed a criminal justice system that ensures a cradle to coffin pipeline. What's being done to change a system that traps entire communities in inescapable cycles of poverty? We'll speak with Edelman and Brendon Woods, the first African American public defender in Alameda County.


Going To Court

Jan 25, 2017

Going To Court -- What Two Senior Judges Would Like You To Know Whether You Are a Plaintiff, a Defendant, or a Witness. Guests: Superior Court Judge Richard Livermore (Ret.)(San Mateo County); and Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman (Ret.)(Santa Clara County). Questions for Chuck's guests? Please call toll-free 1-866-798-8255. Also, tonight is Call-A-Lawyer Night: Once a month, while Your Legal Rights broadcasts on 91.7 FM (online, attorneys are available off-the-air as well -- 1-800-525-9917, for private no-fee consultation on a variety of legal issues, 7 'til 8pm PST.

"1st Ave. at International Blvd., Oakland" by flickr user AC ServiceInfo. Cropped and used under CC:

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. While trafficking might seem like an issue we’re all on the same side of, when it comes to how we should go about combating the problem, people don’t always agree.

How To Clean Up Your Criminal Record. Guest: Attorney Christopher Morales, a Specialist in Criminal Law who is Certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Questions for Chuck & Christopher? Please call toll-free 1-866-798-8255.

Your Call: Weapons of Math Destruction

Nov 23, 2016

On the November 23rd edition of Your Call, we’ll revisit our conversation with Cathy O’Neil about her new book Weapons of Math Destruction. 

Your Call: Weapons of Math Destruction

Oct 13, 2016


On the October 13th edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with Cathy O’Neil about her new book Weapons of Math Destruction.

Carla Hernández Ramírez

On the July 13th edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with journalist Sarah Shourd about her new play The Box, which is based on years of conversations with people who have lived in solitary confinement.

Daily news roundup for Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jun 23, 2015
(Courtesy of League of Women Voters)

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Report: African-American Adults Seven Times As Likely As Whites To Be Arrested in San Francisco // KQED

The Spot: Life Changers

Nov 6, 2014

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers...

On the November 6th, 2014 edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with Bryan Stevenson, author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. One in every 15 people in the United States is expected to go to jail or prison, and for  black men, the number increases to one in three. How can we generate empathy both for people who have committed crimes and compassion for victims? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and you.