National News

Double Charged: Teens on house arrest on GPS

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 08:00

Double Charged is a special investigation into the U.S. Juvenile Justice system, produced by Youth Radio. This is part two of a two-part series:

Seventeen-year-old Elisa Morris-Jackson is sitting on the couch in sweatpants and a hoodie. It’s 7 p.m. and she’s watching the TV show “Dancing With The Stars”. Each evening, 7 is also the time when about 130 other juvenile offenders in Alameda County, California are required to plug in and sit down for their mandatory two-hour battery charge.

“I’m going to be so excited to get this thing off of me,” she said.

Jackson has a GPS monitor fastened around her ankle with a rubber strap. It’s part of her probation. The GPS unit is black and plastic -- about the size and shape of a computer mouse -- with three LED lights and a big button. Its purpose: to track her every movement.

17-year-old Elisa Morris-Jackson showing her GPS ankle monitor.

Youth Radio

Where does that information end up? At the Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro, California. A probation officer named Chris showed me how GPS monitors work.

“We use Google Maps, and it shows real time. So this kid we released today...this shows us that he was here at the Juvenile Justice Center,” he said, pointing at the computer screen.

We are looking at the digital breadcrumbs of one teenager’s movements since he was released from juvenile hall, just an hour or two ago, and fitted with a GPS monitor.

The map shows the teen’s path out of the building to the parking lot. Then, down the hill to the freeway.

“It’s very high tech,” said Chris. The officers can even tell if a teenager is in the front yard or backyard of their home.

The probation officer drags a green circle over the kid’s home. On the screen, it’s about two inches, but in real life it represents a radius of 150 feet – the zone the kid is restricted to. Outside of that, it would be a GPS violation and a judge could send him back to juvenile hall or lengthen probation.

Teens on GPS monitoring have to call their probation officer before they leave for school in the morning. And anything outside of school and home – like a job – requires special permission at least 48 hours in advance. So, it’s basically house arrest.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley says GPS monitoring saves money because it costs a lot less than incarceration. In fact, locking a kid up in juvenile hall costs about $429 per day. GPS costs only $85. O’Malley credits the surveillance technology for helping to keep young people at home with their families and out of incarceration.

“When they were originally building a juvenile justice center, the original idea was that it was going to be more than 500 beds,” said O’Malley. “And I think that on any given day now, there are less than 200.”

While incarceration is down, use of electronic monitoring like GPS has increased, more than tripling in the last ten years. And the devices cost families up to $15 a day.

Dominique Pinkney is a juvenile public defender in Alameda County. He’s glad to have more kids out of jail, but he has big problems with GPS: “It’s absolutely overused,” he said. Pinkney argues that judges assign it almost reflexively, even to teens who never would have been sent to juvenile hall. Not only that, Pinkney says it’s too restrictive and teens get in trouble for silly reasons, like not keeping their device properly charged or hanging out with friends.

The consequence of these violations? Lengthening teens’ probation, or even sending them back to juvenile hall.

“When you extend the consequence beyond some rational period, it becomes abusive. It makes kids angry. It actually has the opposite effect,” said Pinkney. “So you engage in a battle instead of sending a corrective signal.”

Nearly half of the young people who are electronically monitored end up violating the terms, according to a study cited by the American Bar Association. A quarter cut the device off entirely.

Sixteen-year-old Manny Velazquez is waiting outside of a courtroom. Besides his towering spiked hair, the most noticeable thing about him is the GPS monitor strapped around his
ankle.

Manny Velazquez, 16, after a court appearance in the Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro, California. 

Brett Myers/Youth Radio

“I am ashamed of it. But that’s not stopping me from…being myself, of the way I dress,” he said.

Velazquez has been on GPS for more than two months. He says the worst part is the isolation.

“It’s just the same routine over and over,” he said. “Go to school. Come home. Sometimes I do get frustrated because I feel like I’m trapped in my own house. Just last night, I felt like the walls were closing in on me.”

One courtroom away, 15-year-old Cameron Lopes had just met with a judge. He was caught carrying a pocketknife in school and spent five days in juvenile hall. Then he was strapped with a GPS unit for 30 days, after missing a court date. Today he and his dad, Jamie, were hoping they could get the device taken off.

Jamie walked out of the courtroom as the heavy wooden doors thumped shut behind him and his son. “He didn’t get his GPS off today,” he said.

Cameron was angry: “I’ve been trying real hard and they just throw all the bad stuff in there and never the good stuff.”

Jamie added, “It’s just little stuff that happened at school. If he got mad at school, they brought it up. If he yelled at somebody, they brought it up. They didn’t bring up that he was on the honor roll... It’s just a lot of negative stuff. So, another 30 days.”

Judges, DAs and public defenders are in rare agreement about GPS tracking as a good alternative to incarcerating teenagers. And it does save money.

But for the young people being monitored, the technology may be solving one problem and creating others, like extending their time in the criminal justice system.

Velazquez says he's ashamed of his GPS ankle monitor.

Brett Myers/Youth Radio

Read Part 1: The true cost of juvenile justice.

Photos and infographics by Youth Radio.

PODCAST: Size does matter for FedEx

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:31

The great mover of packages known as FedEx is shifting to what it calls "dimensional weight pricing." It's about size as well as heft and more money for FedEx. A FedEx spokesman gave this quote to Bloomberg News: "We felt like we weren't receiving the correct compensation for the services we were providing." Marketplace's David Weinberg explains.

President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services appears before the U.S. Senate on Thursday. Sylvia Burwell's nomination will be considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. There will be plenty of political questions about the future of Obamacare. But what questions would healthcare executives and policy wonks want to ask? We got in touch with a few to find out.

Meanwhile: Google. Amazon. Walmart.com—These aren’t the first places that people think of when planning a funeral service. But more people are shopping online for cremation urns.

PODCAST: Size does matter for FedEx

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:31

The great mover of packages known as FedEx is shifting to what it calls "dimensional weight pricing." It's about size as well as heft and more money for FedEx. A FedEx spokesman gave this quote to Bloomberg News: "We felt like we weren't receiving the correct compensation for the services we were providing." Marketplace's David Weinberg explains.

President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services appears before the U.S. Senate on Thursday. Sylvia Burwell's nomination will be considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. There will be plenty of political questions about the future of Obamacare. But what questions would healthcare executives and policy wonks want to ask? We got in touch with a few to find out.

Meanwhile: Google. Amazon. Walmart.com—These aren’t the first places that people think of when planning a funeral service. But more people are shopping online for cremation urns.

The Interesting Bits From Monica Lewinsky's 'Vanity Fair' Article

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:17

The former White House intern whose affair with President Clinton eventually led to his impeachment writes about her life after the scandal, and shares her thoughts on Hillary Clinton and others.

» E-Mail This

Former U.S. General In Africa: 'I Think We Can' Help Find Nigerian Girls

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 06:03

Carter Ham's former command will be part of the U.S. effort to hunt for schoolgirls who were kidnapped three weeks ago by an Islamist extremist group in Nigeria.

» E-Mail This

How long will your retirement savings live?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 04:39

What's scarier than dying young? Well, for some, it's living longer without having enough money saved to ensure a good quality of life during retirement. 

Marketplace economics contributor Chris Farrell joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio with tips about how to make sure your savings live as long as you do. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

Advocates Back Paid Sick Leave, But Opponents Won't Cough It Up

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 04:32

Top earners are usually paid when they stay home sick, but low-income workers are not. That has triggered a debate about fairness and risks to public health when incentives force sick people to work.

» E-Mail This

Brutal Attack On Nigerian Village Kills More Than 125

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 03:28

The violence is suspected to be the work of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which has also claimed responsibility for abducting more than 250 girls from a school last month.

» E-Mail This

What would you ask about Obamacare?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 02:54

President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services appears before the U.S. Senate on Thursday. Sylvia Burwell's nomination will be considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

There will be plenty of political questions about the future of Obamacare. But what questions would healthcare executives and policy wonks want to ask? We got in touch with a few to find out.

Sonya Schwartz, Georgetown Center for Children and Families Research Fellow:

Q. You are known to be a management superstar, do you have ideas about how to improve HHS's work with contractors so that healthcare.gov does not inspire the film "Frozen II?"

Q. Verifying identity online continues to be a major roadblock for people applying for coverage on healthcare.gov – particularly for people with low incomes and limited credit history. How would you tackle this problem?

Q. HHS has been working on greater transparency and data sharing. Can you discuss points in your career where you made information more transparent even though you risked alienating some important stakeholders?

Q. Last year’s coverage goal was 7 million and HHS exceeded that mark, do you have a number in mind for 2014-2015?

Dr. Robert Wachter, University of California, San Francisco:

Q. Hospitals and physicians are reeling from the profusion of quality, safety, and efficiency measures they’re being asked to submit – and some experts have begun to call for a moratorium on new measures. Do you feel like we need to slow down the process of promulgating new measures until we have sorted this out?

Q. Now that HITECH has succeeded in wiring the American healthcare system — what do you see as the things that HHS can do that it couldn't before. And where do you see new potential hazards that we need to be mindful of?

Health economist Amitabh Chandra, Harvard: 

"I want to know a lot more about how she will get the exchanges to work better. The exchanges are central to reform. Right now, when we think of an exchange working, we often think of it working in the narrow IT sense. But what we really need to be thinking about, however, is whether price competition on the exchanges is able to reduce health insurance premiums. If it's not able to do this, the fact that they work in the IT sense is no good."

Q. Central to getting price competition to work in the exchanges is taking out a bunch of lard that is in the current exchange plans; a lot of what we call 'essential health benefits' aren't essential at all. As long as junk like this is being covered, the exchange plans will be expensive. What are [your] proposals to increase price competition on the exchanges and second, make the exchange plans leaner?

Robert Restuccia, Executive Director Community Catalyst:

Q. The first open enrollment period surpassed expectations in terms of the number of people enrolled. These numbers are due in large part to in-person assisters who helped consumers navigate healthcare.gov and make the best health care enrollment choice for their needs.  Funding from HHS was critical in providing this type of assistance.  What are your plans for supporting in-person assistance?

Q. With so many new enrollees, many of whom have never had insurance or haven’t had it for a long time, consumer assistance will be very important, but federal support for Consumer Assistance Programs (CAPs) has lapsed.  What are your plans to support people so that they can make effective use of their new coverage?

Q. The ACA has moved us forward by expanding coverage, but consumers are still grappling with costs- higher copays and deductibles. There are also still many cracks in the system. Consumers aren’t sure about the quality of the care they are getting. How would you push hospitals, doctors and insurers to provide better care at lower costs?

Finally, what about you? Tell us what questions you have on Twitter, on our Facebook page or in the comments below.

Rich and looking to invest? Don't buy a mansion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 02:52

The highest end of the high end real estate market is buzzing. Already this year three homes in the U.S. have sold for more than $100 million. 

Just last week, a property in the Hamptons (outside New York) sold for $147 million -- the most ever paid for a single-family house in the U.S. Still, UCLA's Eric Sussman says real estate that gets this kind of attention is full of risk.

"I don't think any economist, any real estate expert ... would say that buying a $100 million home is a safe place to put your money. Because let's face it you're talking about a very scarce asset with very few potential buyers," says Sussman.

Below is a list of the top real estates sales in the U.S.: 

Address City State Price paid Date of sale 60 Further Lane East Hampton N.Y. $147,000,000 May 2014 Blossom Estate Palm Beach Fla. $140,000,000 Dec 2012 Broken O Ranch Augusta Mont. $132,500,000 2012 Copper Beech Farm Greenwich Conn. $120,000,000 April 2014 360 Mountain Home Road San Francisco Calif. $117,500,000 January 2013 Further Lane Hamptons N.Y. $103,000,000 2007 The Fleur de Lys Los Angles Calif. $102,000,000 2014

Credit/Compiled by: Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers

Ukraine's Separatists To Proceed With Vote, Despite Putin

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 02:42

A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin told separatists in Ukraine they should postpone a referendum on secession, leaders of a militant group say they'll hold the vote this Sunday as planned.

» E-Mail This

Jonny Greenwood's radio moves

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:36

Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm a Radiohead fan

We're a devoted lot, and because of that, we're pigeon-holed, stereotyped, etc. But everybody should have that one band they love, right? And because "The Bends" came out when I was in high school, Radiohead was that band for me.

I actually liked the later stuff better -- "Hail to the Thief" is my favorite album, the peak before the band's lesser works of recent years. But even better than the recordings were the live shows. Somehow, here was a group of musicians that was doing stadium rock without the Aquanet and tights.

A Radiohead live performance was truly odd and yet still had mass appeal. But I saw guitarist Jonny Greenwood do something in the early 2000s that really blew my mind. It gave me a new understanding of both improvisation and the art of making every performance unique. 

Greenwood pulled out a radio at the beginning of the song "National Anthem" and just started madly switching channels. Static spat, voices barked, music played over his brother Colin Greenwood's driving bassline -- it was awesome. And the beauty of it was that every time he pulled the move it was different.

In Germany, it was German radio. In Japan, the voices chirped in Japanese. Here's an example. 

 

Jonny Greenwood's move was part of the inspiration for this week's Marketplace Tech series Playing With Machines. Musicians are great ambassadors and early adopters of technology. Unless you're a staunch classicalist or a virtuoso on an acoustic instrument, you're always trying to figure out ways to make new sounds or bring forth new ideas.

That can mean picking up an instrument you don't understand, or trying to push an instrument you know to the limit for a surprising result. It can mean something as simple as playing to a metrinome, or something as complex as composing music for a robot guitarist with 78 fingers.

Like most artists, good musicians are a wonderful mix of technical ability and whimsy. So the way they think about and interact with technology is a treat to witness. 

Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:15

There's an assumption that women are more likely than men to collaborate. But as the number of women in Congress has increased, so has the partisanship and gridlock. Does a woman's touch help?

» E-Mail This

Computers are jerks: a conversation with Dan Deacon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:00

If you're going to see a Dan Deacon show, chances are the composer and electronic musician won't ask you to put your cell phone away. In fact, he'll probably encourage you to keep it handy. That's because having a smartphone loaded with Deacon's app turns the audience into a makeshift light show.

It looks something like this (skip to :55 to see the start of the show):

The app, made in conjunction with Wham City Lights, reacts to a tone which then syncs your phone to the next song in the set. It blurs the line between audience and performer in a way that Deacon enjoys -- rather than just going to see a show, attendees contribute to the performance. The app also invites smartphones into a concert setting, an area in which it is usually strictly banned. It's part of Deacon's M.O.: to use technology in a way that enhances his vision of what a Dan Deacon show should look and sound like.

This in spite of the fact that he also refers to the computer as "the biggest jerk I've ever worked with."

It overheats, it is unreliable, and it quits unexpectedly. Deacon points out, though, that it also has a right to be as fickle as it is, seeing as its advanced capability allows him to do so much with his compositions.

He also feels that technology is putting the music world on the precipice of its next big change:

"The last 100 years saw such an insane change in music, it's almost impossible to think about the next 100 years having any less. There was a time before music, there was a time before opera, and there was a time before what we're about to enter into."

The Executioner's Lament

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-07 23:22

When things go wrong during an execution, the people responsible for carrying it out experience stressful, chaotic scenes. But even when the process goes right, it can take a lasting toll.

» E-Mail This

The Art Of A Lost American Couturier, On Display At The Met

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-07 23:07

After a two-year renovation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute is reopening with an exhibit on the work of Charles James, who is now obscure, but considered America's first couturier.

» E-Mail This

At Times All A President Can Say After Disaster Is, 'We're Here'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-07 23:04

President Obama visited Arkansas on Wednesday, where he surveyed the damage of last month's tornado and met with residents. It's a task he and many presidents before him have had to do far too often.

» E-Mail This

Less Nutritious Grains May Be In Our Future

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-07 23:04

When crops are surrounded by high levels of carbon dioxide, they're more productive. But they may have lower concentrations of some crucial nutrients, which could increase malnutrition in the future.

» E-Mail This

Civil War Invades An Elephant Sanctuary: One Researcher's Escape

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-07 23:02

Andrea Turkalo spent 22 years in central Africa, studying rare forest elephants. Then civil war forced her to flee — and poachers killed many of the elephants she'd shared a life with.

» E-Mail This

Legendary D.C. Law Firm To Pay Chevron In Ecuador Pollution Case

NPR News - Wed, 2014-05-07 22:15

Rain forest residents had sued the oil giant, and Washington law firm Patton Boggs tried to make the company pay up. But Chevron sued the law firm for fraud — and is now due $15 million.

» E-Mail This

ON THE AIR
Paradigm Shift
Next Up: @ 09:00 pm
Beggar's Banquet

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4