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Two Rural Counties Take Diverting Paths to Jail Reform

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Where Texting Brings People to Court

After someone is arrested, there are multiple court-ordered actions after they make bail. Often, missing any of these--especially court appearances--complicates their situation and increases their punishment. Reporter Jenny Casas goes to Palm Beach, Florida, where something as simple as texting has made a significant difference in people’s lives.


A Pregnancy That Changed Texas Law, Part 2

If you haven’t already listened to Part 1 of this story, we suggest you do that first. In 2013, the Texas Jail Project gets a call from Bonnie Wyndham -- a mother whose daughter, Cat, is pregnant behind bars and not getting the medical care TJP has been fighting to guarantee. In this episode, we hear Cat’s story. Plus, nearly 15 years after their chance meeting in the Victoria County Jail helped launch the TJP, our reporter Rowan Moore Gerety brings Shandra Williams and founder Diane Wilson...


A Pregnancy That Changed Texas Law, Part 1

Shandra Williams had experienced five miscarriages by the time she and her husband Dawayne became pregnant with their son. Then she was arrested. Reporter Rowan Moore Gerety travels to Victoria, Texas, where Williams’ harrowing story of being pregnant behind bars unknowingly launched a reform movement.


Comedian Felonious Munk Stands Up for Reform

Comedian Felonious Munk was among the 13,000 formerly incarcerated people whose voting rights Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe restored in 2018. 70 Million creator Juleyka Lantigua-Williams talks with Munk about the years he spent in prison, the shock of losing his freedom, and his crusade for sensible justice reform.


An Open and Shut Case, Reopened

At 17, Mark Denny was wrongfully convicted of a rape and robbery in Brooklyn. It took nearly 30 years for that conviction to be overturned -- and it might never have happened without help from the same office that prosecuted him. Reporter Sabine Jansen tells the story of the Brooklyn Conviction Review Unit, the DAs who re-investigate their colleagues’ work, and the collaboration that finally set an innocent man free.


The Work of Closing a Notorious Jail

Five years after Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer galvanized criminal justice reform activists in St. Louis, they're gaining serious momentum to shut down the city's notorious Workhouse jail. Reporter Carolina Hidalgo spent time with the Close the Workhouse campaign and Arch City Defenders, their supporters, and detractors.


How Bail Shackles Women of Color

Tamiki Banks’ life was turned upside down when her husband was arrested, leaving her the sole breadwinner and caregiver to their twins. More than two years later, she’s still struggling, and he’s still in custody, even though he hasn’t been convicted of any crime. From Atlanta, Pamela Kirkland reports on the heavy burden women of color like Tamiki bear when a loved one is jailed.


When Disability Requires a Different Approach

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, known as I/DD, are overrepresented behind bars. One reason is that police officers, lawyers, and correctional staff don’t always know how to meet their needs. Reporter Cheryl Green brings us to Oregon, where case managers translate their needs for a system that’s not set up to accommodate them -- and where the proper diagnosis is the difference between incarceration and freedom.


Marching Toward Reform in New Orleans

For years, to fund itself New Orleans’ criminal legal system has relied on bail, fines and fees levied on the city’s poorest. But there are signs of change in the horizon, with a groundswell of community action and two landmark federal rulings in the last year. Reporter Eve Abrams takes us inside some of the big shifts happening in the Big Easy.


70 Million Is Back for Season 2!

70 Million is back for Season 2! Starting July 15, hear 10 weekly episodes from a new batch of reporters who will take a closer look at communities and programs trying bold solutions to solve big problems in criminal justice. Hear stories about cash bail reform, overturning wrongful convictions, and more from folks who make up the 70 million US adults with a criminal record and whose lives touch our own. (70 Million is made possible by a grant from the Safety and Justice Challenge at the...


Are Some of the Formerly Incarcerated Owed Reparations?

To close out season one, we invited two legal experts, Christina Swarns, President and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York and Scott Hechinger, Senior Staff Attorney & Dir. of Policy at the Brooklyn Defender Services, to look at what it would mean for the United States to provide financial reparations for individuals who have spent most of their lives behind bars. Moderated by 70 Million’s creator and executive producer, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, the...


How New Orleans Could Set a New Course for Bail Reform

New Orleans could become the battleground for bail reform. The city has one of the highest per capita incarceration rates in the world. And most people are there because they can’t pay their bail. The current arrangement with the local bail industry gives the impression that judges there could have a financial conflict of interest when setting bail. In this episode, Sonia Paul digs into how an ongoing lawsuit, pretrial consequences of bail, and poverty, bias, and algorithms come into play.


In Miami, Jailing Fewer, Treating More

Like in much of the country, jails in Miami-Dade County double as de facto mental health facilities for people with mental health issues cycling through the criminal justice system. But Miami-Dade’s Criminal Mental Health Project has taken the lead in addressing the needs of this population. Now it is a national model for how to tackle the interplay between mental illness and criminal justice, while driving down recidivism and jailing rates in the process. This episode is a special...


Undocumented Immigrants Are Tethered to ICE, and Private Companies, by Ankle Monitors

A handful of companies are making millions off ankle monitors strapped to undocumented immigrants in ICE custody. The makers pitch the monitors as an alternative to being jailed, but are they simply another form of bondage? Reporter Ryan Katz looks at what life is life while wearing one of these monitors. He untangles the complicated web of ICE, immigration bail agent companies, and the attorneys fighting them.


In One State, an Opioid Crisis Led Police to Start an Angel Program

In Massachusetts, Gloucester PD started an "angel program" to help people in the grip of opioid addiction get help. Instead of arresting people for opioid-related crimes, police directed them to treatment programs and resources. The angel program eventually grew into PAARI, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative. It’s now a national program. Reporter Maria Murriel visits the original program to see how it all works.


One State Is Disrupting the Pipeline from Foster Care to Jail

By age 17, over half of young people in foster care have already been convicted of a crime or spent a night in jail. After they age out, a quarter will go to jail or get in trouble with the law within the first two years. California is determined to keep foster youth out of jail. Reporter Liza Veale profiles two young people who are making their way out of the system, and talks with policy makers and social service workers trying to redirect the foster-care-to-prison pipeline.


Putting Women Already in Jail First

Oklahoma locks up women and girls at a higher rate than anywhere else in the US. Black mothers bear the burden of this crisis, which can curtail accessing public benefits and lower the chances of keeping their children. But a promising new public defender's office in Tulsa have found a way to change some women’s fates. Reporter Nissa Rhee goes inside a women’s jail for our story.


Reform Activists and a New DA Find Common Ground

Activists in Houston were galvanized by events in Ferguson in 2014 following the death of Michael Brown. First, they took to the streets in protest. Then they started organizing. Not long after, they found a kindred spirit in the most unlikely person: a candidate for the DA office. Reporter Ruxandra Guidi chronicles how activists and reformers are succeeding in cutting the jail population, diverting drug arrests, and increasing accountability for local police.


Veterans Courts Give Soldiers a Way Back

For veterans, run-ins with the law don’t always have to mean jail time. Thanks to Veterans Court in Boston, which helps in finding treatment for PTSD, getting sober, and finding work. Reporter Heidi Shin talks to an Iraq and Afghanistan vet about his struggles with alcohol and PTSD, and his experience through the Veterans Court program. Heidi also talks to the judges, outreach specialists, and counselors about diverting veterans away from the prison pipeline.