GUEST: Artist, author and former felon Anthony Papa on criminal justice reform and his '15 years to life' for a first-time, non-violent drug crime...
ALSO: More climate dots connected; Trump, Jeb & Dubya; Arrest of a Fox 'News' fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2015, 5:38pm PT  

We cover a lot of ground, yet again, on today's BradCast.

First: More climate change dots connected out here in California, as another freeway is shut down (the third in the last couple of months) thanks to yet another extreme weather disaster.

Next: As Donald Trump correctly notes that George W. Bush did not "keep us safe" either before or after 9/11, Jeb tries again to come to his brother's defense and fails almost as much as his own campaign is now floundering.

Then: With federal sentencing reform for non-violent drug offenders about to result in freedom for 6,000 federal inmates (and another 40,000 likely in the near future), we are joined today by artist and author Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Papa (self-portrait seen above in today's BradCast logo) shares his amazing story about how he was sentenced to "15 years to life" for a first-time, non-violent, drug-related crime under New York's "tough on crime", "war on drugs" policies of the 80s. He served 12 years of hard time --- for delivering 4 ounces of cocaine in exchange for $500 --- before he was finally granted clemency by the Governor.

He follows his first book, 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom up with his latest, An Open Letter to Men and Women Returning Home in the Age of Reform, just released on Kindle today.

Papa was lucky enough to earn three degrees while serving 12 years in prison, where he also discovered he knows how to paint. He now serves as Artist in Residence at Drug Policy Alliance and has had his work exhibited at the Whitney Museum. On today's show, in addition to his personal story, he shared his optimistic thoughts on criminal justice reform ("mandatory minimum sentencing became the poison that literally broke the system"), some words of advice to those about to be released ("these men and women coming home into a society that is not ready for them, can be a problem"), and his opinions on the outrage of restrictions on voting placed on both current and former felons.

"The greatest thing for me being in prison, was my discovery for me of my political awareness," he tells me. But, after his release, he learned he would still not be able to vote for another five years, even though he had served his time under laws passed by officials he should have been able to vote against. "Before I went to prison, I didn't even bother to vote. I was a regular Joe. When I came out, discovering I couldn't vote was very painful for me. So it took five years, but when the time came, I cast that vote. I felt like I was whole again. It was a wonderful feeling."

Finally today: Wayne Simmons, the "former CIA operative" regularly featured on Fox "News" for more than a decade, where he has been cited by wingnuts time and again on everything from Benghazi to torture to ISIS and their "19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States" (which don't exist), turns out to have never worked for the CIA at all and has now been arrested on federal fraud charges.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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