Hi-Phi Nation

Punishment Without End

The collateral consequences of felony convictions.

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Episode Notes

A teenage girl gets caught with a suitcase stuffed with powdered cocaine, and she comes before a federal judge. That judge learns that a felony conviction carries punishments for life. He embarks on a mission to get other judges to shorten prison sentences in light of this. Meanwhile, a researcher learns of a pervasive but secretive practice where prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges skirt the truth to protect defendants from harsh, unjust punishments imposed on them by lawmakers. This week we look at collateral consequences, the thousands of laws restricting the freedoms and opportunities of the formerly convicted, like voting, housing, job opportunities, government benefits, and deportation. One philosopher believes many of these are permanent punishments, not civil measures for reducing risk. Guest voices include Judge Frederic Block, philosopher Zachary Hoskins, and legal scholar Thea Johnson.

For all back episodes from Seasons 1 through 3 of Hi-Phi Nation, visit www.hiphination.org

Email: hiphination@slate.com

About the Show

Hi-Phi Nation is philosophy in story form, integrating narrative journalism with big ideas. We look at stories from everyday life, law, science, popular culture, and strange corners of human experiences that raise thought-provoking questions about things like justice, knowledge, the self, morality, and existence. We then seek answers with the help of academics and philosophers. The show is produced and hosted by Barry Lam of Vassar College.

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  • Barry Lam is the host and producer of the Hi-Phi Nation podcast and is an associate professor of philosophy at Vassar College.

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