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Crime & Law Enforcement




Making Prisons Better Places

John D. Case was a prison warden based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He worked to improve the prison system through better training and pay for prison employees and an emphasis on inmate rehabilitation. He also advocates for the repealing of laws which he feels lead to unnecessary prison sentences.


Balancing Free Speech with Child Safety

Philadelphia Councilwoman Joan Specter and Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union debate what legislative or prosecutorial action should be taken against published work which either advocates for or features pedophilia. Prompting the discussion was the discovery of a pamphlet titled "How to Have Sex with Children," which was sold in Philadelphia bookstores.


Supporting the Parents of Murdered Children

Deborah Spungen, who wrote a book about her daughter's murder by punk musician Sid Vicious, founded a Philadelphia chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. She and another woman, named Eileen Rainier, join Fresh Air's Terry Gross to discuss the impact the support group has had on grieving mothers and fathers.


The Real Life of a Private Eye

Irwin Blye is a private investigator who has coauthored a book about his trade. He joins Fresh Air to talk about what his day-to-day work looks like--in contrast to the detectives of novels and films.


A Lawyer on the Bestsellers List

Scott Turow received a $200,000 advance for his legal thriller Presumed Innocent. Despite his financial success, Turow, a practicing defense attorney, says that no one in their right mind should believe they can make a career solely as a writer.


Saxophonist Frank Morgan

The jazz musician served time for crimes related to his heroin addiction. He left prison with his chops intact--he was often able to practice sax and perform for his fellow inmates.


"When Good Cops Go Bad."

Mike McAlary, a reporter for the New York paper Newsday. His book Buddy Boys reveals the drama behind one of the biggest New York City police corruption scandals since Serpico. Buddy Boys is the story of how two corrupt cops, Harry Winter and Tony Magno, consented to inform on fellow officers who were routinely robbing drug dealers and then selling the drugs.


The "Castaways" of the Penikese Island School.

George Cadwalader. A former Marine captain who was wounded in Vietnam, Cadwalader founded and ran the Penikese Island School for hard-core delinquent boys on a remote island off the coast of Massachusetts. It was run in a strict manner and used the techniques of survival schools like Outward-Bound, hoping to re-build character. But Cadwalader found that almost all of the boys ended up back in prison when they left the school.


The Case of the Dead Cat

Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand considers several variations of an urban legend about a dead cat mistakenly claimed by shoppers and shoplifters alike.


Remembering "The Last Days of the Sicilians"

Investigative reporter Ralph Blumenthal's new book takes a look at what the FBI called "the pizza connection": a heroin smuggling operation spearheaded by the Italian mafia in the United States. Pizza restaurants were used as drug fronts.

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