This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Over the past 25 years, the number and percentage of prisoners held in isolation has exploded at both state and federal penitentiaries. At a Senate subcommittee hearing this, Senator Richard Durbin argued that the dramatic expansion of the use of solitary confinement is a human rights issue we can't ignore.
California is known as the land of fruits and nuts, but it also happens to be the country's largest milk-producing state. So it's no surprise that its dairy farmers are front and center in the debate over reforming the milk marketing system, which hasn't really changed much in 30 years.
When Ugandan lawmakers introduced an anti-homosexuality bill in 2009, it called for the death penalty for "serial offenders." That legislation failed, but a new version was reintroduced in 2012 in an effort to further criminalize same-sex relations in a country where homosexuality is already illegal. The bills have drawn loud and widespread condemnation from much of the international community, particularly after the brutal death of openly gay activist Davdi Kato.
The operation was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2009-10. NPR's Ted Robbins and Michel Marizco of the Fronteras Desk talk about the intent of Fast and Furious, why the operation failed, and solutions to curb gun-running on the U.S.-Mexican border.