John D. Case was a prison warden based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He worked to improve the prison system through better training and pay for prison employees and an emphasis on inmate rehabilitation. He also advocates for the repealing of laws which he feels lead to unnecessary prison sentences.
Ann Rule was a writer for True Crime magazine when she was assigned a story about a serial killer who turned out to be a former acquaintance of Rule's. Rule worked with Ted Bundy at a suicide prevention center. She had even reported suspicions about Bundy to police. Her account of Bundy's crimes and her time working with him is called "The Stranger Beside Me."
Two experts on drug trafficking tell Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the difficulties of curtailing the production and sale of illicit drugs that originate outside the U.S. They debate whether or not American support of Burma's ethnic minorities could help reduce opium production.
Connie Francis took a seven-year hiatus from singing after surviving a rape, dealing with the murder of her brother, and battling several health problems. After so many tragedies, she feels like her old self again, and has begun performing once more.
Randy Shilts has a new biography about Harvey Milk, the openly-gay mayor of San Francisco who was assassinated at the age of 48. Shilts details Milk's coming out later in life and his adroitness as a unity-building politician.
Journalist Joe McGinniss's latest book investigates the Manson-family-style killing of Jeffrey MacDonald's daughters and pregnant wife. MacDonald was eventually convicted of the murders nine-and-a-half years later.
Before beginning production, Young spends weeks living the life of his movies' characters to more authentically capture their experiences. His films often center on the injustices committed against marginalized people.
In her new memoir, Deborah Spungen remembers her daughter, who was the girlfriend of the Sex Pistols' bass player Sid Vicious. Vicious confessed to murdering Nancy, but died of a drug overdose before his conviction.
Etheridge Knight began writing poetry while serving a sentence for robbery. He talks with Fresh Air producer Danny Miller about how he draws inspiration from his past experiences as a former prisoner and drug addict.
Humorist and reporter Calvin Trillin is staff writer for the New Yorker and a humor columnist at The Nation. Trillin recently joined the show to discuss his love of rich regional and ethnic food which he chronicled in his book "Third Helpings." His New Yorker Magazine series "U. S. Journal" ended in 1982, but a collection of 16 of his stories about murder have been collected in the book "Killings."
Billy Hayes' years spent in a Turkish prison for smuggling hashish have been well documented in his book Midnight Express, which was later adapted into a book. He now pursues an acting career in California.
Philadelphia Councilwoman Joan Specter and Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union debate what legislative or prosecutorial action should be taken against published work which either advocates for or features pedophilia. Prompting the discussion was the discovery of a pamphlet titled "How to Have Sex with Children," which was sold in Philadelphia bookstores.
Deborah Spungen, who wrote a book about her daughter's murder by punk musician Sid Vicious, founded a Philadelphia chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. She and another woman, named Eileen Rainier, join Fresh Air's Terry Gross to discuss the impact the support group has had on grieving mothers and fathers.
Writer and scholar John Edgar Wideman's new book focuses on his younger brother Robby, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Wideman explores their differences and tries to understand what led Robby to a life of crime.
Film director and writer John Waters is Hollywood's "leading exponent of bad taste," and Waters describes himself as making exploitation films for the arthouse. Waters is also interested in murderers and has taught film in prison. The Baltimore Museum of Art recently held a retrospective of Waters' work, and the mayor declared the opening day "John Waters Day."
Nicholas Pileggi is a journalist and contributing editor to New York Magazine who specializes in stories about organized crime. His latest book, "Wise Guy: Life in a Mafia Family," is a biography based on his interviews with former mobster Henry Hill. The book offers as insider view of organized crime.
White House counsel John Ehrlichman was among many in the Nixon administration who served time for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He has since become a writer, publishing a memoir and several novels.
Anand Nagar, which translates into the City of Joy, is one of the most densely-populated slums in Calcutta. In order to learn more about how people survive in dire poverty, French writer Dominique LaPierre and his wife lived in a hovel alongside the neighborhood's residents. His book about the experience, called The City of Joy, has just been released in paperback.