More than 8,000 Vemonters are under some form of correctional control. One in four people incarcerated in Vermont have not been convicted of a crime. A new bipartisan consensus is emerging for criminal justice reform. A poll released this week by the ACLU of Vermont shows that two in three Vermonters want to reduce the prison population by investing in community-based alternatives, and four in five Vermonters support alternatives for offenses resulting from substance misuse, mental health conditions and poverty. James Lyall discusses efforts to cut Vermont’s prison population in half, other criminal justice reform legislation, as well as recent court decisions around immigrant rights. He also talks about his greatest concerns about civil liberties in the Trump era. (January 29, 2020 broadcast)
More than 2 million children are arrested each year— and predictions are that one in three American schoolchildren will be arrested before the age of 23. Award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein’s Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison (The New Press) takes a personal look at America’s hidden children.
Bernstein is a former Soros Justice Media Fellow in New York, and winner of a White House Champion of Change award. Her articles have appeared in Newsday, Salon, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among other publications. Bernstein has spent more than 20 years listening and bearing witness to the stories of incarcerated kids.
Nell Bernstein, author, Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison
On December 19, 2008 University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher disrupted an oil and gas lease auction, effectively saving thousands of acres of pristine Utah land slated for oil and gas drilling. Rather than protest outside, DeChristopher entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid oil industry representatives on land parcels (some of which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents and taken into custody, Prior to his 2011 trial, DeChristopher toured the country, speaking to crowds of thousands. He co-founded the environmental group Peaceful Uprising. He eventually served 21 months in prison, including time in solitary confinement. He is the subject of the award winning documentary film Bidder 70. He is now a nationally known climate activist and frequent speaker.