2016's Police-Involved Shootings, Ballot Confusion and Conservatives on Mass Incarceration

The Takeaway

On today's show:

  • There have been over 500 officer-involved shootings in the United States since the beginning of 2016. Steven Rich, the database editor of The Washington Post, discusses the number of shootings and if we can see any evidence of reform.
  • Police officers arrest more than 1.2 million people across the nation on charges of illegal drug possession. But a new investigation from ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine finds that every year, tens of thousands of people are sent to jail based on false positive results of these tests, and a majority of those leading to felony convictions. Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders, the reporters for ProPublica who conducted the investigation, discuss the findings.
  • The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act was one piece of legislation that seemed to have a good change of passing Congress this session (although time is running out before summer recess next week), primarily due to the conservatives who have embraced criminal justice reform. David Dagan, author of Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration, says the current embrace of prison reform is being led by conservatives like Newt Gingrich.
  • Can democracy be too much of a good thing when representative governments are compelled by the populace to put a question up to vote? The United Kingdom experimented with this with Brexit, but it's unclear how many of the 52 percent of people who voted to Leave the EU understood the economic and political ramifications.
  • Wendy Underhill, program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures, discusses if this is how the ballot imitative system was conceived.
  • How many of those ballot initiatives do you really read? This election, California has 17 measures approved for the November ballot. Marisa Lagos, KQED public radio government and politics reporter, will explain what these measures are--and who's behind them.
  • Let's test your Baltic Sea geography: Tucked between Lithuania and Poland, there is a separated piece of Russia called Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad has become the latest hotspot in the escalating tensions between Vladimir Putin and NATO. Łukasz Kulesa is research director at the European Leadership Network, assess the situation in Kaliningrad.
  • Welcome to Williamstown, in northern Kentucky. The tiny town is now home to a seven-story, 500-foot long theme-park replica of Noah's Ark. You may recognize the creator of it: Ken Ham, who also founded the nearby Creation Museum. Cheri Lawson, reporter and local host for "All Things Considered" at WEKU in Richmond and Lexington, has been covering the Ark and the surrounding community.