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The Permanent Record
38 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
Episode 48: Liliana Segura
Liliana Segura is an award-winning investigative journalist covering the United States criminal justice system. She currently writes for The Intercept. Liliana covered the recent federal execution spree set in motion last summer by the Trump administration. We invited Liliana to share from her unique perspective, having traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana for all 13 executions. We also talked a little bit about Tennessee's renewed pursuit of executions and the future of the death penalty in America.
32 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
Episode 47: Pat Culp
"The number of women in American prisons has risen at an alarming rate over the past three decades. In this episode, we talked with Pat Culp, the Executive Director of WEBS Memphis - Women Empowered to Become Self-Sufficient. A native Memphian, Pat has spent the last 28 years providing women in our community with valuable opportunities to return home with marketable skills and the confidence to succeed. We invited her in to discuss what inspired her, what motivates her to keep going, and how prison is different for women."
44 minutes | Oct 1, 2020
Episode 46: Kelley Henry
Kelley Henry has spent her career fighting for people facing the death penalty in Tennessee. Currently, she is fighting for Pervis Payne who, despite consistently maintaining his innocence, is set to be executed in December. The day before we recorded this interview, a Shelby County judge ordered DNA testing in his case - a significant victory for Kelley and her team. We sat down with Kelley on Constitution Day to discuss Pervis Payne’s case and some of the many frustrations of death penalty work in Tennessee.As a complement to this episode, we highly recommend you read this profile of Kelley written by our friend and guest on Episode 40, Steven Hale. You can learn more about Pervis Payne at www.pervispayne.org.
29 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
Episode 45: Mark Loughney
In October of 2018 The Marshall Project featured the work of Mark Loughney, an artist who is currently incarcerated. We began conversing with him through email and snail mail and started collaborating on an exhibit, which is still in the works. We decided it was time to talk with Mark voice to voice and let our audience hear what life is like inside and how his experience with art has affected him. Learn more about Mark and his work on his instagram page @loughneyart
19 minutes | Jun 12, 2020
Episode 44: Furonda Brasfield
In this very special episode, we talked to “America’s Next Top Lawyer”, Furonda Brasfield former America’s Next Top model contestant, turned attorney and Executive Director of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Just City Court Watch coordinator and State organizer, Joia Erin facilitates a conversation with Furonda about the COVID-19 outbreak at Cummins State Correctional facility in Arkansas and discusses the recent deaths of young black men and women killed unjustly in America. Amidst an international coronavirus pandemic, the widespread killing of black bodies in America still persists. Listen in as Joia and Furonda discuss how police brutality is just one factor of systemic oppression.
30 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Episode 43: Liz Ryan of Youth First
The United States leads the world in incarceration of children, and Liz Ryan and the Youth First Initiative are leading the effort to change that. Youth justice is a frequent topic of conversation in Memphis, and Shelby County is considering a major expansion of its youth detention facility. For this episode of The Permanent Record, we talked to Liz about challenging the misconceptions of children in the justice system, political will, and the possibilities that exist when we rethink youth detention.
34 minutes | Jan 15, 2020
Episode 42: State Representative Andrew Farmer
State Representative Andrew Farmer lives in Sevierville, Tennessee and represents the 17th House District. He serves as Chair of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, and we suspected he had a family connection to Dolly Parton. We invited him on the podcast to find out about both.
29 minutes | Nov 18, 2019
Episode 41: Raymond Santana
In this very special episode, we talked to Raymond Santana - one-fifth of the group now known as The Exonerated Five. Raymond and four other young men from NYC were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989. They are now the subject of Ava DuVernay's Netflix series, When They See Us.Seventeen years after being fully exonerated, they are finding their voices again. Raymond was in town for a few hours recently and agreed to give us a few minutes of his time. We think you'll love what he had to say.
43 minutes | Sep 24, 2019
Episode 40: Steven Hale
Steven Hale is a staff writer for the Nashville Scene. He has been a media witness to three of Tennessee’s most recent executions. His written accounts of those experiences are very moving and provide critical insight to the politics and mechanics of capital punishment in Tennessee. Since the State has set more execution dates, including one in October, we asked Steven to join us to give his firsthand account and discuss some of the many issues surrounding our accelerated use of the death penalty.
31 minutes | Aug 21, 2019
Episode 39: Noura Jackson
Noura Jackson was charged and convicted of killing her mother in a 2009 trial that made national headlines; however, citing significant missteps by the prosecutor in the case, her conviction was unanimously overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The lead prosecutor on the case was Shelby County’s current elected District Attorney. Maintaining her innocence, Noura entered an Alford plea to manslaughter and was released from prison 3 years ago. We sat down with Noura to talk about life before and after prison, what’s she’s up to now, and her hopes for the future.
32 minutes | Aug 15, 2019
Episode 38: Emily Bazelon
Emily Bazelon's latest book Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration explores the critical role of the elected prosecutor in our criminal legal system. It prominently features the case of Noura Jackson, which resulted in an overturned conviction because of misconduct by the current Shelby County District Attorney General. Emily came to Memphis recently to promote her book, and she joined us in-studio for her second interview on The Permanent Record. We talked more about the power of elected prosecutors and even chatted about politics and the 2020 election.
32 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
Episode 37: Simone Weichselbaum
Earlier this year, the Marshall Project and local journalist, Wendi Thomas, filed a lawsuit against the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission over its failure to disclose financial information and other records. Simone Weichselbaum, who covers national policing policy for the Marshall Project, was investigating the claims often made by Memphis officials that an increase in the number of police officers has a direct impact on violent crime. Simone ran into a dead end when the Crime Commission refused to provide requested information, so they filed the lawsuit.We talked to Simone about the importance of transparency when making public safety policy; some of the unusual things she discovered about the Memphis Police Department; and the challenges of diversity and inclusion in journalism. We hope you enjoy our conversation.
23 minutes | Mar 4, 2019
Episode 36: Carrie Johnson
Carrie Johnson ist the Justice Correspondent for National Public Radio’s Washington Desk. She covers a wide range of emerging justice issues, law enforcement stories, and legal affairs. Carrie is one of our only repeat guests on The Permanent Record. Check out her first interview (Episode 16) in our four-part series on the media. For this episode, we spoke to Carrie about the practical implications of the recently passed First Step Act and the politics that made its passage possible.
37 minutes | Jan 29, 2019
Episode 35: Mark Holden
The new year brought new Federal criminal justice and prison reform, so we're devoting the next few episodes of the Permanent Record to examining the First Step Act. It has been widely praised and was broadly supported by a bi-partisan coalition that has become very rare for Congress. President Trump recently signed the bill, and when it goes into effect it will reduce our federal prison population. But what else will this bill do -- and what are the next steps we need to take for more meaningful reform to occur? In this episode, we discussed these questions and more with Mark Holden, General Counsel to Koch Industries, one of the bill's most outspoken supporters.
38 minutes | Dec 10, 2018
Episode 34: Rudy Valdez
Rudy Valdez is a filmmaker committed to making cinematic, meaningful documentary films that inspire social change. We invited him on The Permanent Record to discuss his latest film, The Sentence, a documentary about mandatory minimums and sentencing reform that he shot and directed over the course of a decade. It’s available now on HBO.
31 minutes | Nov 16, 2018
Episode 33: Veda Ajamu
Every time we sentence a person to jail or prison, we also sentence a family to a life without that person. The demands on the families of incarcerated people are often overlooked, but Veda Ajamu’s family is all too familiar with the many burdens of having a loved one locked up. For this episode, Veda gave us a vivid look at how her family has struggled to stay connected to her brother, Robert, during his decades in the Federal prison system.Veda lives in Memphis and works for the National Civil Rights Museum; she is also very active with FAMM, an organization devoted to preserving the dignity of those on the inside and supporting their families as they try to stay connected. Check out FAMM’s video featuring Veda and then give our latest episode a listen.
32 minutes | Oct 31, 2018
Episode 32: Shane Claiborne
In mid-October, Tennessee announced that Edmund Zagorski would be executed on November 1, 2018, and the State intends to use the electric chair to do it. If carried out, it will mark the second execution in Tennessee this year, after nearly a decade without one. Native Tennessean Shane Claiborne recently wrote a book about the death penalty in America. The book is called Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why it’s Killing Us. In light of Tennessee’s grim return to capital punishment, we invited Shane on The Permanent Record to talk about what’s wrong with the death penalty, how we got here, and where we’re headed as a state and a country.Check out Shane’s book www.executinggrace.com
33 minutes | Oct 5, 2018
Episode 31: Dr. Margaret Vandiver & John Ashworth
Dr. Margaret Vandiver is a retired professor of criminal justice at the University of Memphis and a strong supporter of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. She has studied state and collective violence, ranging from the use of the death penalty in America to contemporary instances of genocide. She is the author of Lethal Punishment: Lynchings and Legal Executions in the South and also volunteers with the Lynching Sites Project here in Memphis. John Ashworth is the executive director for the Memphis Lynching Sites Project, and also joined us for this episode. John spent several decades in the military and the airline industry before taking the lead in this important work. We discussed some of the critical issues facing our criminal justice system today and why it’s important to have a space to discuss the past.
32 minutes | Sep 20, 2018
Episode 30: Marc Perrusquia
The Daily Memphian is a brand new local media outlet, and its first issue included an expansive investigative piece -- “A Reluctance to Record”. It's a must-read that reveals yet another instance where part of the criminal justice system in Memphis is an extreme outlier -- the Memphis Police Department does not record homicide interrogations. We thought this critical issue deserved even more attention so we asked the author, Marc Perrusquia, to come on The Permanent Record to discuss it. Perrusquia is Distinguished Journalist in Residence at the University of Memphis, heading up the newly established Institute of Public Service Reporting. He is also reporting for the Daily Memphian and worked for more than 29 years at The Commercial Appeal, where he won numerous state and national awards for his work. Hear what he has to say about his months-long investigative reporting on this story.We’ve also posted the full audio of two recordings referenced during the interview. Cordell Walton “Packaged Confession”https://www.dropbox.com/s/3q8uc5p0m786e79/Cordell%20Walton%20confession-1.m4a?dl=0Cordell Walton Preliminary Hearing 09.17.2018 Detective Eric Kelly Testimonyhttps://www.dropbox.com/s/37oyilwdaiorawg/Sept%2017%20prelim%20hearing.m4a?dl=0
34 minutes | Jul 27, 2018
Episode 29: Bill Dries and Ryan Poe
The Shelby County general election is less than a week away, and your host is a hopeless political junkie. So, for this special episode, Josh convened a special election roundtable with two of Memphis' top political reporters. Ryan Poe of the Commercial Appeal and Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News have been covering elections up and down the ballot for this and many elections past. Hear what they have to say about the County Mayor's race, the new County Commission, and the impact that the Juvenile Court oversight has had on this election. Plus, a lot more!
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