Actress Sonja Sohn, known for her role on the HBO series The Wire, talks with host David Onek about her work as co-founder of Rewired for Change, a nonprofit supporting at-risk youth in Baltimore. She also discusses how her personal life has shaped her commitment to ending children’s exposure to violence, the power of leveraging celebrity to fuel social change and much more.
With a Presidential election looming, the issue of the day is still the economy. California has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation, and that just counts people who are actively looking for work. It doesn’t include those who’ve been looking longer than four weeks, or the folks who are so discouraged that they’ve given up altogether.
Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, two things shaped the Oakland Police Department. The city had one of the highest crime rates in California, and four police officers calling themselves the “Riders” beat, robbed, and framed hundreds of residents in the flatlands of Oakland. For years the officers were praised for sweeping drugs from the rough streets of West Oakland. But in 2000 over 100 plaintiffs came forward and accused the “Riders” of kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, and battery.
Last Month, the Oakland city council voted to pay $40,000 in punitive damages for an officer who illegally strip searched two suspects in public. Federal Judge Thelton Henderson, who currently oversees the department as they make court-ordered reforms, referred to the strip-searching case as an example of how stuck the OPD is in their dysfunctional behavior.
Nancy Mullane, author of Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption, discusses the stories of five men at San Quentin prison convicted of murder and then released on parole, how she built trust with these men, the Governor’s unique role in California’s parole process, the extremely low recidivism rates for paroled murderers, and more.