June 14, 2004 - "Death is un-American," an "affront to the American Dream." wrote historian Arnold Toynbee in 1969. It was a time of social movements and big change: peace, civil rights, environmentalism and women's liberation. But a quieter revolution was underway, too - one led by a few middle-aged women who wanted to change our way of death. They were the founders of the hospice movement. It was a revolution without protest marches, but its legacy is profound. Today three in ten Americans will die in hospice care. In this new American RadioWorks documentary, John Biewen explores the birth of the hospice movement and traces its influence through one woman's final months of life.
September 9, 1999 - The insanity defense tends to get attention in sensational high-profile cases: Ted Kaczynski, Lorena Bobbitt, and most notoriously, John Hinckley. But successful use of the insanity defense is rare, even for defendants who *are* profoundly mentally ill. Defendants are found not guilty by reason of insanity in just half of one percent of all felony cases. In part three of our series on jailing the mentally ill...John Biewen of MPR's American RadioWorks documentary unit takes an in-depth look at the case of one Minnesota man. The case illustrates the difficulties of claiming legal insanity.
September 8, 1999 - It's been five-and-a-half years since Greg Stampley died at Stillwater state prison. Stampley was a severely mentally ill inmate who died while locked in an isolation cell. The case raised questions about the treatment of Minnesota's mentally ill prison inmates. The state eventually aid Stampley's family to settle a lawsuit. In part two of our series on incarcerating the mentally ill, John Biewen of MPR's national documentary unit, American RadioWorks, reports on changes in the state prison system since Greg Stampley's death.
September 7, 1999 - A recent study by the U.S. Justice Department estimates that 283-thousand jail and prison inmates are mentally ill. That's four times the number of patients in state mental hospitals. Most mental institutions closed in the last few decades...under a policy aimed at moving the mentally ill back into the mainstream. But treatment programs aren't filling the gap, so, to a large extent, jails are.
August 28, 1997 - Most corporations give money to charities, and many support social service agencies that work in poor, inner-city neighborhoods. But few large companies are *located* in troubled urban areas. Two major employers in Minneapolis have resisted moving to the suburbs, and are stepping up their efforts to save the inner-city neighborhood that surrounds them. Minnesota Public Radio's John Biewen reports.
August 25, 1997 - A legal battle over who is and who is not a member in the Shakopee Mdwakanton Dakota tribe is still unresolved, four years after it began. The stakes in the fight have risen. The tribe's Mystic Lake Casino is so lucrative that tribe members now each receive some $700,000 a year in casino revenues. Some members say the tribal leadership is distributing those payments to people who don't qualify for membership, and withholding it from people who do. So far the federal government has declined to intervene. Minnesota Public Radio's John Biewen reports.
August 21, 1997 - MPR’s John Biewen presents the first of two reports on how the Twin Cities are responding to black newcomers. Report includes commentary from residents, politicians, and academics.
August 21, 1997 - MPR’s John Biewen presents the second of two reports on how the growth of the black population is affecting race relations in the Twin Cities. Report includes commentary from residents, politicians, and academics.
July 14, 1997 - The shopping mall is sometimes described as the new American gathering place, the modern replacement for Main Street. But a mall is different from a street or a public square in one important respect: it's private property. And the right to speak, or to to preach, picket, or hand out leaflets, usually does not apply on private property. Free speech advocates argue that shopping malls function like public places so First Amendment rights should be recognized there. That argument has had mixed success in the courts. Minnesota Public Radio's John Biewen reports.
July 7, 1997 - Senator Paul Wellstone brought his poverty tour to Minneapolis and rural Aitkin County this (last) week. The Democrat is touring pockets of poverty across the country this summer and fall. He says he wants to evoke Robert Kennedy's poverty tour of thirty years ago. Some observers think Wellstone may also be setting the stage for a try at the presidency in 2000. Minnesota Public Radio's John Biewen reports that Wellstone's campaign to shine a light on poverty is getting mixed reviews from political observers and poverty experts. When senator Robert Kennedy travelled to places like the Mississippi Delta and eastern Kentucky in 1967 and '68, he found families in shacks with no running water... and children without enough to eat. 30 years later, hun