Aider and Abettor Podcast with Bilal Chatman

Editor's Note:

Local public defenders welcome Bilal Chatman on the Aider & Abetter podcast to share his story of serving a life sentence and what comes after being released with the passage of Prop 36.

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 and on a powerful segment from John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO.

In their “Opening Statement,” Sajid and Avi talk with Bilal about his more than 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 why Sajid celebrated OJ’s release. 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.


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