In the 9th Episode of Aider & Abettor, Sajid and Avi welcome their first ever guest: Kevin “Bilal” Chatman.
Bilal, born and raised in San Jose, got a new lease on life after voters passed Prop. 36 in 2012 which amended California’s Three Strikes Law. Bilal, then serving 150 years to life in prison, was released from prison and has since been a model of redemption and voice for criminal justice reform.
You can see Bilal in the Emmy-nominated documentary “The Return” on Netflix (https://www.netflix.com/title/80107949) and on a powerful segment from John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJtYRxH5G2k&feature=youtu.be).
In their “Opening Statement,” Sajid and Avi talk with Bilal about his over 10 years in prison, what motivated him to change despite a life sentence, his release from prison after Prop 36, the challenges of re-entry like learning to use a cell phone and getting a job, and what it was like to go on John Oliver’s show.
In the “Deep Dive” segment, Sajid, Avi and Bilal break down the recent decision by the Nevada Parole Board to release OJ Simpson from prison. They each share their take on OJ’s parole, including Sajid sharing why he celebrated OJ’s release (http://thesajidakhan.tumblr.com/post/163242361004/celebrating-the-parole-of-oj-simpson). They talk about whether OJ’s parole experience was typical, the challenges of parole release and whether or not we should consider larger scale parole opportunities for the elderly in our prisons.
Sajid, Avi and Bilal finish up with their “Thing(s).” Avi shares the new Aider & Abettor Twitter handle (https://twitter.com/AiderAndAbettor @AiderAndAbettor [follow us!]) and praises Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul for their bipartisan effort to overhaul our bail system a (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/opinion/kamala-harris-and-rand-paul-lets-reform-bail.html).
Sajid shouts out “Ear Hustle,” a new podcast generated out of San Quentin Prison produced by inmates sharing the tales of prison life (https://www.earhustlesq.com/).
Bilal closes out the episode by recognizing the radio show “Street Soldiers” (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/street-soldiers-radio/id1042442760?mt=2) and by talking about “The Return Project” (https://www.thereturnproject.com/).