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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Man behind bars (assbach/flickr)

We look at how the state of Texas has helped shape the American prison system. Then, we’ll talk with Barry Gibbs, who just received a multi-million-dollar settlement from New York State after serving 19 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Also, David Means discusses The Spot: Stories, his second collection of short fiction. Plus, we’ll look at how scientists can fingerprint oil spills. And on Underreported we look into other major oil spills, including some you've probably never heard of.

Texas Tough

Historian Robert Perkinson gives a sweeping history of American imprisonment from the days of slavery to the present, and looks how Texas has influenced criminal justice severity, from executions to supermaxes, from prison privatization to sentencing juveniles as adults. His book Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire, shows how a plantation-based penal system became the national standard.

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Barry Gibbs on His Exoneration and Settlement

Barry Gibbs had served 19 years in prison when his conviction was overturned in 2005 after evidence surfaced that he had been framed for murder by a corrupt detective.  He sued New York City in 2006, and the city agreed on June 3, 2010, to pay him $9.9 million, the largest personal settlement in its history. We’ll talk to him about his experience and the settlement. 

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The Spot

David Means discusses The Spot: Stories, his second collection of short fiction. The stories are at once comically detached and emotionally affecting, expansive and concise, inventive and rooted in tradition, and have earned him comparisons to Flannery O’Connor, Alice Munro, Sherwood Anderson, Anton Chekhov, and Raymond Carver. 

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Underreported: Chemical Fingerprinting of Oil Spills

The emerging field of environmental forensics may be the best way to determine the impact that the oil spill will have on the gulf coast. Merv Fingas, former Chief of the Emergencies Science Division of Environment Canada, is a leader in the field and will explain what chemical fingerprinting is and how it can help us understand what will happen in the Gulf.

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Underreported: Under the Radar Oil Spills

The attention being paid the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has many residents of Nigeria, Egypt, and Chile scratching their heads. Devastating oil spills in these countries in the past decades have gone relatively unnoticed by the mainstream press. Both Dr. Erich Gundlach, director of E-Tech International, an oil spill clean-up firm, and Richard Steiner, professor of marine conservation at the University of Alaska, have first-hand experience working with oil spills around the world. They'll discuss some of the largest oil spills that have gone unnoticed and what was done to clean them up.

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Leonard's Questions: Barry Gibbs

Barry Gibbs discusses some of his favorite picks after a recent appearance on The Leonard Lopate Show.

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