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Reveal

PRX

Reveal’s investigations will inspire, infuriate and inform you. Host Al Letson and an award-winning team of reporters deliver gripping stories about caregivers, advocates for the unhoused, immigrant families, warehouse workers and formerly incarcerated people, fighting to hold the powerful accountable. The New Yorker described Reveal as “a knockout … a pleasure to listen to, even as we seethe.” A winner of multiple Peabody, duPont, Emmy and Murrow awards, Reveal is produced by the nation’s first investigative journalism nonprofit, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and PRX. From unearthing exploitative working conditions to exposing the nation’s racial disparities, there’s always more to the story. Learn more at revealnews.org/learn.

Location:

United States

Networks:

PRX

Description:

Reveal’s investigations will inspire, infuriate and inform you. Host Al Letson and an award-winning team of reporters deliver gripping stories about caregivers, advocates for the unhoused, immigrant families, warehouse workers and formerly incarcerated people, fighting to hold the powerful accountable. The New Yorker described Reveal as “a knockout … a pleasure to listen to, even as we seethe.” A winner of multiple Peabody, duPont, Emmy and Murrow awards, Reveal is produced by the nation’s first investigative journalism nonprofit, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and PRX. From unearthing exploitative working conditions to exposing the nation’s racial disparities, there’s always more to the story. Learn more at revealnews.org/learn.

Language:

English


Episodes

The Plague in the Shadows

2/17/2024
HIV/AIDS changed the United States and the world. It has killed some 40 million people and continues to kill today. This week, reporters Kai Wright and Lizzy Ratner from the podcast Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows take us back to the early years of the HIV epidemic in New York City and show how the virus tore through some of our most vulnerable communities while the wider world looked away. Wright begins by looking at the initial media coverage of HIV, as well as the first health bulletins circulated by the medical community. Both focused on the spread of the virus within the gay men’s community, creating a feedback loop that resulted in other vulnerable groups being overlooked – including women, communities of color and children. Then Ratner tells the story of Katrina Haslip, a prisoner at a maximum-security prison in upstate New York in the 1980s. Haslip and other incarcerated women started a support group to educate each other about HIV and AIDS. The group was called ACE – for AIDS Counseling and Education – and it advocated for women, minorities and prisoners who were being overlooked in the nation's response to the epidemic. In the final segment, we learn how Haslip took her activism beyond prison walls after her release in 1990. She joined protests in Washington and met with leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. One of the main goals was to change the definition of AIDS, which at the time excluded many symptoms that appeared in HIV-positive women. This meant that women with AIDS often did not qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid and disability insurance. The podcast series Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows is a co-production of The History Channel and WNYC Studios. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:47

Alphabet Boys Revealed

2/10/2024
The summer of 2020 was a hinge point in American history. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police inspired racial justice demonstrations nationwide. At the time, the FBI was convinced that extreme Black political activists could cross the line into domestic terrorism – a theory federal agents had first termed “Black identity extremism.” That summer, Mickey Windecker approached the FBI. He drove a silver hearse, claimed to have been a volunteer fighter for the French Foreign Legion and the Peshmerga in Iraq, and had arrest records in four states that included convictions for misdemeanor sexual assault and menacing with a weapon, a felony. He claimed to the FBI that he had heard racial justice activists speak vaguely of training and violent revolution in Denver. The FBI enlisted Windecker as a paid informant, gave him a recording device and instructed him to infiltrate Denver's growing Black Lives Matter movement. For months, Windecker spied on activists and attempted to recruit two Black men into an FBI-engineered plot to assassinate the state's attorney general. Windecker's undercover work is the first documented case of FBI efforts to infiltrate the 2020 racial justice movement. Journalist Trevor Aaronson obtained over a dozen hours of Windecker's secret recordings and more than 300 pages of internal FBI reports for season 1 of the podcast series Alphabet Boys. This episode of Reveal is a partnership with Alphabet Boys and production company Western Sound. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:40

The 13th Step

2/3/2024
Lauren Chooljian from New Hampshire Public Radio reports on a widespread culture of sexual misconduct in the addiction treatment industry. Across the country, women seeking treatment are being harassed and assaulted by men in positions of power. The problem is so pervasive that it has a name among those in the industry: the 13th Step. We begin with Chooljian explaining to host Al Letson the case that got her started on this investigation. It involved Eric Spofford, owner of New Hampshire’s largest addiction treatment network. After exposing allegations that Spofford was harassing patients, Chooljian, her sources and staff at New Hampshire Public Radio became the targets of intimidation and, in some cases, vandalism. Chooljian then chronicles another case, this one in California, that illustrates how difficult it is to bring to justice wealthy, powerful people in the industry. Chris Bathum owned a network of treatment centers in California and Colorado and was routinely sexually assaulting clients and offering them drugs. He was also submitting false billing claims to insurance companies. We meet two women, Rose Stahl and Debbie Herzog, who were separately investigating Bathum. Stahl started as a client at one of Bathum’s centers and later worked for him. She pursued evidence that he was assaulting women at the center, while Herzog was looking into insurance fraud. Stahl blew the whistle about Bathum’s inappropriate behavior to leadership within the company, but the actions they took did not stop him. At the same time, Herzog was facing hurdles in convincing law enforcement to pay attention to the case she was building about insurance fraud. Then serendipitously, Herzog and Stahl learn of each other’s efforts and team up to try to bring Bathum to justice.

Duration:00:50:38

The Battle for Clean Energy in Coal Country

1/27/2024
Montana has a long history of making money by extracting and exporting its natural resources, namely coal. State politicians and Montana’s largest electricity utility company seem set on keeping it that way. Reveal’s Jonathan Jones travels to the town of Colstrip in the southeastern part of the state. It is home to one of the largest coal seams in the country – and one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the West. He learns that Montana’s largest power company, NorthWestern Energy, has expanded its stake in the plant, even though it’s the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gas in the state. Jones speaks with Colstrip’s mayor about the importance of coal mining to the local community. He also speaks to local ranchers and a tribal official who’ve been working for generations to protect the water and land from coal development. Jones follows the money to the state’s capital, where lawmakers have passed some of the most extreme laws to keep the state from addressing climate change. He dives into lobbying records behind a flurry of bills that are keeping the state reliant on fossil fuels. He meets with one of the plaintiffs involved in a first-of-its-kind youth-led lawsuit. The group successfully sued Montana for violating their constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment.” Jones also finds that NorthWestern is planning to build a new methane gas plant on the banks of the Yellowstone River, and the company is being met with resistance from people who live near the site. Finally, Jones visits the state’s largest wind farm and speaks with a renewable energy expert, who says Montana can close its coal plants, never build a new gas plant and transition to 100% clean energy while reducing electricity costs for consumers. Jones also speaks with NorthWestern’s CEO and looks at other coal communities in transition. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in June 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:31

Black in the Sunshine State

1/20/2024
Last summer, Reveal host Al Letson returned home to Jacksonville, Florida, to find a changed state. The Republican Legislature had passed a slate of laws targeting minority groups. Educators could now face criminal penalties over the material they teach regarding gender and sexuality, and schools across the state were banning books about queer families, transgender youth and Black history. There were also repeated instances of racist and anti-Semitic speech, including Nazis waving swastikas in front of Disney World. All of this contributed to the NAACP issuing a rare travel advisory stating that “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.” Then on Aug. 26, a White supremacist killed three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville. When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attended a vigil for the victims, he was met with boos and mourners shouting, “Your policies caused this.” In this episode, Letson digs into the policies DeSantis and the Legislature have passed in recent years and their effects on Black Floridians and other people of color. He speaks with a history teacher who says the new laws have made it harder to educate students, as well as a mother who describes books being removed from her daughter’s classroom and rules barring students from sharing books with friends at school. Letson also interviews state Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican who championed many of the new policies, including the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts how racism and history are taught in schools. In the final segment, Letson examines redistricting in the state. In 2022, DeSantis vetoed maps drawn by the Republican Legislature, and the governor’s office instead drew new maps that got rid of two Black-dominated districts and increased the number of Republican-leaning districts. Those maps, which were subsequently passed by lawmakers, are now being battled over in both state and federal court. To understand the debate, Letson speaks with reporter Andrew Pantazi of the Jacksonville news organization The Tributary, as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Fine defends the new maps, saying they’re designed to challenge Florida’s Constitution, which he argues requires “racial gerrymandering.” Democratic state Rep. Angie Nixon says the new maps violate Florida’s constitutional protections of racial minorities and their ability to “elect representatives of their choice.” Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:02

The Double Life of a Civil Rights Icon

1/13/2024
Some of the most enduring photos of the civil rights movement were taken by Ernest Withers. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Withers earned the trust of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. But as it turns out, he was secretly taking photos for the federal government as well. This week, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery brings us the story of Withers in an adaptation of the podcast “Unfinished: Ernie’s Secret,” from Scripps News and Stitcher. Lowery starts by explaining how Withers earned his reputation as a chronicler of the civil rights movement. We tour a museum of Withers’ photographs with his daughter Roz, who deconstructs his famous “I Am a Man” photo of striking sanitation workers. Civil rights leader Andrew Young explains that without Withers’ photographs, they wouldn’t have had a movement. We then learn that after Withers’ death, a Memphis reporter named Marc Perrusquia followed up on an old lead about the photographer: that he was secretly working for the FBI. Perrusquia gained access to thousands of reports and photos taken for the FBI by Withers. We hear excerpts from several reports and meet the daughter of the agent who recruited Withers. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, the bureau recruited thousands of informants as part of a covert program originally created to monitor communists in America but ended up targeting the civil rights movement, as well as other individuals and groups. We close with reflections on Withers by people who knew him. While some believe Withers betrayed the cause of civil rights, others are more forgiving. They say his actions were part of a larger narrative about the U.S. government’s unchecked power to spy on its own citizens and extinguish ideas and movements it felt were a threat. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:09

Sunblocked: Resistance to Solar in Farm Country

1/6/2024
For the U.S. to meet its clean energy goals by 2050, the Department of Energy projects that the country needs more than 10 million acres of solar development. Most of that is expected to be built in rural areas. Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans support renewable energy development, but projects planned in rural areas are meeting major resistance. Reveal’s Jonathan Jones travels to Copake, New York, in the Hudson River Valley. It’s the site of one of the most contentious fights over a proposed large-scale solar project in the United States. Jones looks at what’s driving support and opposition to the project, Shepherd’s Run. He starts with Bill and Nancy Rasweiler, the owners of land where the project is slated. For years, the Rasweilers have leased their land to local farmers to help offset the costs of maintaining it, but it’s not enough. So they signed a lease with Chicago-based solar developer Hecate Energy. When they brought their plan to the rest of the town in 2017, they met resistance from other residents. During the same meeting, Copake’s town board passed a new law to severely restrict the size of solar development. Jones finds that these kinds of local restrictions are being passed in rural communities across the country. Jones learns about the community concerns over the project: that it’s too big, takes over prime farmland and negatively affects the environment and nearby homeowners. Residents who support the project say some concerns are a product of misinformation and Shepherd’s Run is one of the many solar projects that has to happen to slow climate change. With the future of the project in question, Jones hears about a working group – a coalition of supporters and opponents of the project that came together to try to influence its design. Jones follows the group’s efforts and how they landed with Hecate. Finally, Jones looks at ways agricultural communities are trying to make solar work on their land. This takes him to the Corn Belt, where he looks at how the U.S. is already using millions of acres of farmland to produce a less efficient clean energy source: ethanol. Jones also looks at a landmark agreement between the solar industry and environmental groups convened by Stanford University, which calls for advancing large-scale solar development while championing land conservation and local community interests. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:34

Fancy Galleries, Fake Art

12/30/2023
In the mid-’90s, two high-end New York art galleries began selling one fake painting after another – works in the style of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and others. It was the largest art fraud in modern U.S. history, totaling more than $80 million. Our first story looks at how it happened and why almost no one ever was punished by authorities. Our second story revisits an investigation into a painting looted by the Nazis during World War II. More than half a century later, a journalist helped track it down through the Panama Papers. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:36

It's Not Easy Going Green

12/23/2023
When they were invented in the ’90s, renewable energy certificates were meant to stimulate the green energy market. Back then, building wind and solar farms was way more expensive than it is today. The idea was that renewable energy producers could sell certificates that represented the “greenness” of the energy they made. Anyone buying those certificates, or RECs, could claim that green power and also claim they were helping the environment. For years, corporations have bought RECs as a low-commitment way to claim they’re “going green” – all while using the same old fossil fuel-powered electricity. So how exactly do RECs help the climate crisis? This week, Reveal investigates RECs and finds that the federal government uses them to pad its environmental stats. Reveal’s Will Evans starts with Auden Schendler, the man in charge of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Co. Schendler initially convinced his company to buy RECs to go green, then realized he made a mistake. But even after he spoke out and evidence piled up showing that RECs were ineffective, other companies kept buying them – and the federal government did, too. Evans and Reveal’s Melissa Lewis determined that since 2010, more than half of what the government has claimed as renewable energy was just cheap RECs. Next, Reveal’s Najib Aminy takes us to Palm Beach County, Florida, to find out where some RECs are made: in a trash incinerator. Amid all the sounds and smells of burning garbage, Aminy looks into whether buying RECs actually helps the environment and where the money goes. He meets Andrew Byrd, who lives nearby and worries about the fumes. It turns out that federal agencies bought RECs from this incinerator in order to meet renewable energy mandates. Finally, we explore another place where the government buys RECs: two biomass plants in Georgia, where residents complained of toxic pollution. Evans looks into where the government’s modest environmental goals come from and why federal agencies buy RECs in the first place. He also talks to a REC industry veteran and examines how a plan from the Biden administration could change things. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:49:59

Gaza: A War of Weapons and Words

12/16/2023
This episode focuses on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and its ripples throughout the world. First, Reveal host Al Letson has a conversation with members of the Parents Circle, Israeli and Palestinian parents who have lost children to the long-standing conflict and continue to work together for peace. We look at the human toll of the decades-old struggle and what it means to work for peace in a time of war. Next, reporter Shaina Shealy looks at U.S. weapons transfers to Israel. Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack prompted a rush to send arms to the Israeli military, but some experts say that important safeguards meant to prevent weapons from being used on civilians are being ignored. We examine a policy introduced by the Biden administration earlier this year, which some argue is being bypassed, and a recently proposed weapons package that waives standard oversight provisions. We end with a story from Reveal’s Najib Aminy about student protests at Columbia University in New York and the heated debate over free speech on college campuses. Soon after the Oct. 7 attack, university officials and student groups issued a series of statements about the Hamas attack and Israel’s response. This led to an escalation of tensions between student protesters and the school’s administration. Columbia and other universities have come under increasing pressure from students, politicians and donors about how they’ve responded to student demonstrations. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:12

Hidden Confessions of the Mormon Church

12/9/2023
In this week’s episode, produced in collaboration with The Associated Press, secret audio recordings expose a legal playbook used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that keeps evidence of sex abuse out of reach of authorities. AP reporters Michael Rezendes and Jason Dearen investigate the case of a former Mormon bishop, John Goodrich, who was accused of sexually abusing his daughter Chelsea. The story opens in Hailey, Idaho, with Chelsea Goodrich and her mother, Lorraine, locked in discussions with the director of the Mormon church’s risk management division, Paul Rytting. One of Rytting’s jobs is to protect the church from legal liability, including sexual abuse lawsuits. The women had come to the meeting with one clear request: Would the church allow a local Idaho bishop, which in the Mormon church is akin to a Catholic priest, to testify at John Goodrich’s trial? Bishop Michael Miller, who accompanied Rytting to the meeting, had heard John Goodrich’s confession before he was arrested on charges of lewd behavior with a minor. Audio recordings of the meeting and others show how Rytting, despite expressing concern for what he called John Goodrich’s “significant sexual transgression,” would discourage Miller from testifying, citing an Idaho law that exempts clergy from having to divulge information about child sex abuse that is gleaned in a confession. In the episode’s final segment, Rezendes and Dearen sit down with guest host Michael Montgomery to discuss why states across the country exempt clergy from mandatory reporting laws that are meant to protect children from abuse. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:49:24

Havana Syndrome

12/2/2023
A sharp sound. Followed by body numbness. Difficulty speaking. Extreme head pain. Since 2016, U.S. officials across the world – in Cuba, China and Russia – have reported experiencing the sudden onset of an array of eerie symptoms. Reporters Adam Entous and Jon Lee Anderson try to make sense of this confusing illness that has come to be called Havana syndrome. This episode is built from reporting for an eight-part VICE World News podcast series by the same name. The reporters begin by tracking down one of the first people to report Havana syndrome symptoms, a CIA officer working in Cuba. This “patient zero” explains the ways Cuban intelligence surveil and harass American spies working on the island and his own experience of suddenly being struck with a mysterious, painful condition. When he reports the illness to his bosses at the CIA, he learns that other U.S. officials on the island are experiencing the same thing. A CIA doctor sees reports from the field about this strange condition happening in Cuba. He’s sent to Havana to investigate the cause of the symptoms and whether they may stem from a mysterious sound recorded by patient zero. But during his first night on the island, the CIA doctor falls ill with the same syndrome he is there to investigate. In the third segment, the reporters head to Havana to visit the sites where people reported the onset of their symptoms, looking for answers. The team shares reporting-informed theories about who and what could be causing Havana syndrome. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in April 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:20

Locked Up: The Prison Labor That Built Business Empires

11/25/2023
After the Civil War, a new form of slavery took hold in the U.S. and lasted more than 60 years. Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell investigate the chilling history of how Southern states imprisoned mainly Black men, often for minor crimes, and then leased them out to private companies – for years, even decades, at a time. The team talks with the descendant of a man imprisoned in the Lone Rock stockade in Tennessee nearly 140 years ago, where people as young as 12 worked under inhumane conditions in coal mines and inferno-like ovens used to produce iron. This system of forced prison labor enriched the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co. – at the cost of prisoners’ lives. At the state park that sits on the former site of the Lone Rock stockade, relics from the hellish prison are buried beneath the soil. Archeologist Camille Westmont has found thousands of artifacts, such as utensils and the plates prisoners ate off. She has also created a database listing the names of those sent to Lone Rock. A team of volunteers are helping her, including a woman reckoning with her own ancestor’s involvement in this corrupt system and the wealth her family benefited from. The United States Steel Corp. helped build bridges, railroads and towering skyscrapers across America. But the company also relied on forced prison labor. After U.S. Steel took over Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad in 1907, the industrial giant used prison labor for at least five more years. During that time, more than 100 men died while working in its massive coal mining operation in Alabama. U.S. Steel has misrepresented this dark chapter of its history. And it has never apologized for its use of forced labor or the lives lost. The reporters push the company to answer questions about its past and engage with communities near the former mines. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:49:58

In Bondage to the Law

11/18/2023
On a summer night in 1995, a sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed in a hotel parking lot in Birmingham, Alabama. When investigators arrived at the scene, they found no eyewitnesses and almost no evidence pointing to the shooter. Detectives ultimately zeroed in on a man named Toforest Johnson, who on that same night was with friends at a nightclub miles away. Johnson was tried twice for the murder and eventually convicted on the testimony of an “earwitness” – a woman who claimed to have overheard Johnson confessing to the crime. He was sentenced to death and has spent more than 25 years on Alabama’s death row. In 2019, investigative journalist Beth Shelburne began covering the case, finding details that cast major doubts about Johnson’s guilt. This week, in partnership with Lava for Good and the Earwitness podcast, hosted by Shelburne, we tell the story of Johnson’s case. First, Shelburne digs into the night of the murder and speaks to the lead investigator on the case. Then, in conversation with host Al Letson, Shelburne walks through how Johnson was convicted, despite a lack of evidence and a solid alibi. She also shares the latest turn in Johnson’s case: Questions about the credibility of the earwitness have surfaced in the last few years, leading many Alabama politicians and attorneys to call for a new trial. Alabama's prison system doesn't allow people on death row to talk to journalists, so Shelburne visits the people closest to Johnson: his kids. They share memories and their hopes for their father’s case. She also has a conversation with an unlikely supporter of a new trial: one of the people who had a hand in sending Johnson to death row. Click here to hear the full Earwitness podcast. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:39

We Regret to Inform You

11/11/2023
Bruce Praet is a well-known name in law enforcement, especially across California. He co-founded a company called Lexipol that contracts with more than 95% of police departments in the state and offers its clients trainings and ready-made policies. In one of Praet’s training webinars, posted online, he offers a piece of advice that policing experts have called inhumane. It’s aimed at protecting officers and their departments from lawsuits. After police kill someone, they are supposed to notify the family. Praet advises officers to use that interaction as an opportunity. Instead of delivering the news of the death immediately, he suggests first asking about the person who was killed to get as much information as possible. Reporter Brian Howey started looking into this advice when he was with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He found that officers have been using this tactic across California, and the information families disclosed before they knew their relative was killed affected their lawsuits later. In this hour, Howey interviews families that have been on the receiving end of this controversial policing tactic, explaining their experience and the lasting impact. Howey travels to Santa Ana, where he meets a City Council member leading an effort to end Lexipol’s contract in his city. And in a parking lot near Fresno, Howey tracks down Praet and tries to interview him about the consequences of his advice. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:49:53

The Welfare-to-Work Industrial Complex

11/4/2023
“Get a job!” That sums up our current cash welfare system in a nutshell. Ever since so-called welfare reform in the 1990s, the system has been based on the idea that welfare recipients must be doing some kind of work or job-readiness activity to receive government assistance. It’s a system that plays on what Americans have long wanted to believe – that all it takes to move out of poverty is a can-do attitude and hard work. Now, there is a growing chorus of politicians who argue that even more programs that help people in need should have more and tougher work requirements attached. In June, Republicans successfully fought to create new work requirements for food assistance under the debt ceiling deal. In this episode, Reveal partners with The Uncertain Hour podcast from Marketplace to explore the lucrative industry built on welfare-to-work policies. Critics say these for-profit welfare companies have cultivated their own cycle of dependency on the federal government. Krissy Clark from The Uncertain Hour takes listeners into America’s welfare-to-work system. We meet a struggling mother of two in Milwaukee who hits hard times and turns to a local welfare office for help – a welfare office outsourced to a private for-profit company. Inside, staff preach the power of work, place people into unpaid “work experience” and enforce work requirements for welfare recipients, all in the name of teaching self-sufficiency. But who’s set to benefit most, that struggling mother or the for-profit company she turned to? Then, Clark has a frank conversation with the founder of America Works, one of the first for-profit welfare-to-work companies in the country. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:51

America Goes Psychedelic, Again

10/28/2023
Psychedelic drugs have been illegal for 50 years, but they’re trickling back into the mainstream because they show promise in helping treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges. We begin the hour with reporter Jonathan A. Davis visiting Psychedelic Science 2023, the largest-ever conference on psychedelic drugs. It’s put on by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organization dedicated to legalizing MDMA (also known as ecstasy or molly) and other psychedelic drugs. Research shows that MDMA-assisted therapy can help treat depression and PTSD, and it’s moving toward approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Psychedelics were studied in the 1950s and ’60s as mental health treatments, but the war on drugs put a stop to research. Now, these drugs are gaining bipartisan support from politicians looking for solutions to the mental health crisis among veterans. Then Reveal’s Michael I Schiller visits a group of veterans who are not waiting for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be approved by the federal government. They’ve joined a church founded by an Iraq War veteran who uses psychedelics as religious sacraments. Schiller accompanies them on a retreat in rural Texas, where they share the depths of their post-traumatic stress and the relief they’ve felt after psychedelic treatments. He also explores the risks involved in taking these drugs. We close with an intimate audio diary from a woman in Oakland, California, who’s going through therapy with the one psychedelic drug that can be legally prescribed currently in the U.S.: ketamine. Ketamine started out as an anesthetic, but researchers found it can help with treatment-resistant depression when used in tandem with talk therapy. Ketamine can be dangerous if abused, but it also has helped people find relief from mental health issues. This story was produced by Davis. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Check out independent producer Jonathan A. Davis’s work here

Duration:00:50:50

Cashing in on Troubled Teens

10/21/2023
The first time Trina Edwards was locked in a psychiatric hospital for children, she was 12 years old. She was sure a foster parent would pick her up the next day. But instead, Trina would end up spending years cycling in and out of North Star Behavioral Health in Anchorage, Alaska. At times, she was ready to be discharged, but Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services couldn’t find anywhere else to put her – so Trina would stay locked in at North Star, where she would experience violent restraints and periods of seclusion. Then, shortly before her 15th birthday, Trina was sent to another facility 3,000 miles away: Copper Hills Youth Center in Utah. Both North Star and Copper Hills are owned by Universal Health Services, a publicly traded, Fortune 500 company that is the nation’s largest psychiatric hospital chain. Trina’s experience is emblematic of a larger problem: a symbiotic relationship between failing child welfare agencies, which don’t have enough foster homes for all the kids in custody, and large for-profit companies like Universal Health Services, which have beds to fill. This hour, Mother Jones reporter Julia Lurie exposes how Universal Health Services is profiting off foster kids who get admitted to its facilities, despite government and media investigations raising alarming allegations about patient care that the company denies. This hour deals with child abuse, sexual assault and suicide – and may not be appropriate for all listeners. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:25

From Victim to Suspect

10/14/2023
Nicole Chase was a young mom with a daughter to support when she took a job at a local restaurant in Canton, Connecticut. She liked the work and was good at her job. But the place turned out to be more like a frat house than a quaint roadside sandwich spot. And the crude behavior kept escalating – until one day she says her boss went too far and she turned to the local police for help. What happened next would lead to a legal battle that dragged on for years. The U.S. Supreme Court would even get involved. Reveal reporter Rachel de Leon spent years taking a close look at cases across the country in which people reported sexual assaults to police, only to find themselves investigated. In this hour, we explore one case and hear how police interrogated an alleged perpetrator, an alleged victim and each other. De Leon’s investigation is also the subject of a documentary, “Victim/Suspect,” now streaming on Netflix. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Duration:00:50:49

How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong

10/7/2023
Corinne Adams’ son Charlie came home from school with notes from his teacher saying he was doing great in reading. But during the pandemic, Adams had to give him a reading test at home, and she realized her son couldn’t read. He’d been memorizing books that were read to him, but he didn’t know how to read new words he’d never seen before. It’s a surprisingly common story. And kids who aren’t on track by the end of first grade are in danger of never becoming good readers. Two-thirds of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient readers. The problem is even worse when you look beyond the average and focus on specific groups of children: 83% of Black fourth graders don’t read proficiently. American Public Media reporter Emily Hanford digs into a flawed theory that has shaped reading instruction for decades. The theory is that children can learn to read without learning how to sound out words, because there are other strategies they can use to figure out what the words say – strategies like “look at the picture” or “think of a word that makes sense.” But research by cognitive scientists has demonstrated that readers need to know how to sound out words. And some teacher training programs still emphasize the debunked theory, including books and classroom materials that are popular around the world. Hanford looks at the work of several authors who are published by the same educational publishing company. One, Lucy Calkins, is a rock star among teachers. Her books and training programs have been wildly popular. Calkins has now decided to rewrite her curriculum in response to “the science of reading.” But other authors are sticking to the idea that children can use other strategies to figure out the words. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in February 2023. Since then, Teachers College at Columbia University announced that the teacher training project founded by Calkins would be “dissolved.” The word “dissolved” was later removed from the statement, and the college instead characterized the move as a “transition” to ensure its “programs are informed by the latest research and evidence.” Since Sold a Story was first released, at least 22 states have introduced bills to overhaul reading instruction, and several have banned curricula that include cueing strategies.

Duration:00:50:24