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Act Four: Straight Man

Comedian Marc Maron, who's been off drugs for more than 15 years, says he still thinks it's okay to laugh at funny drug stories. And then he tells us one of the funniest we heard while putting this show together.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass tells the story of Florencia de Benito Juarez, a small town in Mexico where a new drug gang recently took over. They promised peace and tranquility, and for the most part, they're making good on those promises.

Act One: Part One

Ira reports from Glynn County Georgia on Superior Court Judge AmandaWilliams and how she runs the drug courts in Glynn, Camden and Waynecounties. We hear the story of Lindsey Dills, who forges two checks on herparents' checking account when she's 17, one for $40 and one for $60, andends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months behindbars, and then she serves another five years after that—six months of itin Arrendale State Prison, the other four and a half on probation.

Act Two: Part Two

We hear about how Brandi Byrd and many other offenders end up in Judge Williams' drug court. One reason drug courts were created was to save money by incarcerating fewer people.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass with former Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski. When Rostenkowski began a term in federal prison, he met for the first time people who'd been locked up under harsh drug laws that he'd voted for himself. "The whole thing's a sham," he declares.

Act Two: How We Got Here

We hear the history of why these drug laws were enacted from a firsthand witness. Eric Sterling was the lawyer in charge of drug laws for the House Judiciary Committee during the 1980s, when mandatory minimums were put in place.

Act One: What's Wrong With This Picture?

The story of how a person could be sentenced to 19 years for drug possession—even if police found no drugs, drug money, residue or paraphrenalia—even if it's a first offense. Dorothy Gaines was an Alabama nurse with no prior record and no physical evidence of any drugs who was sentenced to 19 years.