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Archive for the ‘Prison Issues’ Category

Diplomas Behind Bars

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a school is offering high school diplomas–not GEDs–to county jail inmates. Freelance reporter Megan Kamerick tells us more.

Photo courtesy of Flicker.


megankMegan Kamerick is a freelance journalist and radio producer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She been a journalist for 20 years, mostly in print.  As a business reporter and editor at the San Antonio Business Journal, New Orleans CityBusiness and the New Mexico Business Weekly, she covered numerous beats, including real estate, economic development, law, education,  tourism, the creative economy, philanthropy and the film/media industries. Her work has also appeared in Art Business News, New Orleans Magazine and New Mexico Journeys.

She is currently working part-time as a host and producer at New Mexico PBS for the show “Public Square” and as an independent producer at KUNM radio on the conservation beat. She also produces newscasts and interviews for the KUNM show “Women’s Focus.”

She has received awards over  the years for investigative pieces, arts coverage, environmental stories, profiles, breaking news and the portrayal of women. She was also named outstanding small business journalist in New Mexico by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Mexico office.


Stop, Frisk and Seize

Imagine being pulled over in a “driving-while-brown” situation and then having your car seized by the police—without even being charged with a crime.  Maria Hinojosa discusses how this is happening across the country with The New Yorker magazine staff writer Sarah Stillman. Sarah wrote a feature article for the magazine titled “Taken” where she investigates this pattern of civil forfeitures.

Photo courtesy Flickr


Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.  Her recent work has received the National Magazine Award, the Michael Kelly Award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth,” the Overseas Press Club’s Joe & Laurie Dine Award for International Human Rights Reporting, and the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism.



Deported Vets

Serving in the military can help immigrants gain U.S. citizenship. But vets who commit crimes may find themselves deported despite their service to the country. Latino USA speaks with a vet awaiting deportation and with filmmaker John Valadez, currently working on a documentary highlighting the cases of veterans who have been deported.

Photo courtesy Flickr

C1deportedvets_headshot_JohnValadezJohn Valadez is an award-winning director who has been producing documentaries for PBS for the last X years. He has been a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, A Rockefeller Fellow and is a founding member of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. He has worked on projects for Carleton UK Television, Frontline, American Masters, CBC, TLC and HBO.





C1DeportedVets_headshot_CraigShaginCraig Shagin is a lawyer in private practice in Pennsylvania, where egis firm is active in immigration law. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He has authored numerous articles and books on various aspects of immigration law, including “Deporting Private Ryan: The Less Than Honorable Condition of the Non-Citizen in the United States Armed Forces.”





Catherine Rentz, who produced Latino USA’s October 2012 report on sexual assault and other abuses within immigrant detention centers, gives us an update on changes to legislation to report, investigate and prosecute these crimes.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Catherine Rentz is a reporter and documentary filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington D.C. She’s produced several documentaries for PBS FRONTLINE about the airline industry, environmental resources, retirement finances, U.S. intelligence apparatus and immigration.


Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated teens convicted of rape in the Central Park jogger case, talks about life after prison and about watching himself on screen in the film The Central Park Five.

Click here to download this week’s show. Photo courtesy of Maysles Institute.

Yusef Salaam was born and raised in New York City. He attended Public School 83, Manhattan East, The Arts Student League of New York and studied art at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and jewelry making at the Fashion Institute of Technology. On April 19, 1989, at just 15 years of age, he learned that he, along with other young boys were being falsely arrested for rape. Yusef Salaam served approximately 7 years of his life in prison along with 3 years on parole. Now a proud father, Yusef advocates for education, the need for videotaping of all police interrogations, for policy change in the child welfare system & the prison industrial complex, the effects of the disenfranchisement of poor people and its overwhelming effects on their families and the entire community at large. He sits on the Board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the advisory Board for The Learn My History Foundation: dedicated to Youth Empowerment, Education and Change, and is the inspiration behind People United for Children.


Mental health coordinator Twana Cooks-Allen showed up to work at an immigration detention facility intending to treat troubled detainees. But she soon discovered the real threats were not the people locked up there. What happened inside the Willacy detention center in South Texas was so disturbing it sparked 13 special criminal investigations by the Department of Homeland Security. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa went inside the center, and deep into this case, in a segment produced by Catherine Rentz, in partnership with the PBS show FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Catherine Rentz is a reporter and documentary filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington D.C. She’s produced several documentaries for PBS FRONTLINE about the airline industry, environmental resources, retirement finances, U.S. intelligence apparatus and immigration.


Why do immigrants come to the United States? Most people’s first thoughts involve economic reasons for a better life. But there is more to it than that. Harvest of Empire, a book by Juan Gonzalez that has been turned into a documentary, addresses the military, political and economic interventions that have spurred immigrants to look to life in the U.S. We speak to co-producer Wendy Thompson Marquez for an overview of the documentary.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Here is the full documentary, Harvest of Empire.

[snagfilm id=”0000013a-1d79-d226-af7a-fd7b5b9c0000″]

Ms. Wendy Thompson-Marquez, is the President and CEO of the Onyx Media Group and EVS communications, Inc. Prior to joining EVS and the Onyx Media Group, she was the Vice President of ZGS Broadcast Holdings, a minority-owned communications company where she supervised the daily operations and advertising sales of eleven Telemundo network affiliates.
In 2004, she was honored by the National Conference for Community and Justice with the Media and Community Service Award. She has been featured in numerous newspaper and trade publications, including the Washington Business Journal, and has made several appearances on television and radio stations throughout the country. In addition, she is actively involved with a number of academic institutions in the Washington, D.C. area that have invited her to speak at student and faculty conferences, including Montgomery College, where she was the 2002 commencement speaker.

She is currently a board member of Latino Public broadcasting, the Washington Performing Arts Society and the Community Foundation in D.C. she is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery (2000), and Leadership Washington (2001).

Walking Through Tent City

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona is on trial now in a federal court in Phoenix, charged with civil rights violations. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa recently paid a visit to Arpaio and the sheriff showed her around his unorthodox open air jail, which some critics call inhumane but the Sheriff defends as tough on crime.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Here’s more photos from Tent City:

Dr. Pedro Noguera

A growing rate of HIV/AIDS, low wages, and an ever-increasing incarceration rate are just some of the rampant challenges for Latino men. But if these issues are so important, why is there such little discussion among academics and policy makers? María Hinojosa talks to Dr. Pedro Noguera to find out. He’s a professor at New York University and co-editor of “Invisible No More: Understanding the Disenfranchisement of Latino Men and Boys.”

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

America’s Secret ICE Castles

Jacqueline Stevens reports in the January 4, 2010 edition of The Nation that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is using 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield office, many in suburban office parks and commercial spaces, as detention sites. She quotes ICE official James Pendergraph as saying, “If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” Maria Hinojosa talks with Stevens about her report 1 minute into the program.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Detained Without Counsel

The number of people held in detention centers has tripled over the past decade according to Amnesty International. As federal immigration authorities have
detained more immigrants facing deportation there have been efforts to streamline the deportation process. Usually a hearing is held, the immigrant may not understand their defenses to removal, and a ruling is quickly rendered without legal counsel present.

A new report by the City Bar Justice Center based in New York says nearly 40 percent of all detained immigrants interviewed in NYC’s Varick detention facility
have valid legal claims to remain in the country and defend against removal.

Lynn M. Kelly is the executive director of the City Bar Justice Center. She spoke with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.


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