Alice Goffman is no Ivory Tower academic. The author of a harrowing new field study, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Goffman spent the better part of a decade immersing herself in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Philadelphia. Once established, she began to study people’s lives in light of certain trends in law enforcement that are shattering communities with deep existing fractures. New quotas for certain kinds of arrests, combined with increasingly efficient methods of policing the drug war, have set the stage for a real-life drama that rivals Shakespeare's darkest tragedies. While this struggle unfolds outside the view of most Americans, the conflicts and social ills being amplified by the modern criminal justice system should be of concern to everyone. Family members are turned against one another; children view arrest and detention as a rite of passage; and market forces show up in strange places as entrepreneurial energy is channeled into running from the law. Bob gets the inside scoop on Goffman's breathtaking research, as the two discuss the causes and consequences of institutionalized poverty.
Bob interviews John Lovell, a lobbyist for law enforcement groups who is fighting against the movement to legalize marijuana in the state of California. The initiative, also known as the “Tax Cannabis Act,” received enough signatures this week to qualify for the November ballot. If it is approved, California would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults. The measure would also give local governments the authority to regulate and tax pot sales.