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THOUGHT PROVOKING JOURNALISM
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Snitch

Snitch
Jan. 12, 1999
90 minutes

In the last five years, nearly a third of defendants in federal drug trafficking cases have had their sentences reduced because they informed on other peoplethey snitched. With the prospect of mandatory life sentences facing many charged with drug crimes, the only option to escape their fate is to inform on someone else, resulting in unsettling cases in which minor offenders are serving harsh prison sentences. FRONTLINE takes a critical look at the federal governments disturbing use of informants in drug prosecutions and the effect it has had on individuals rights and the U.S. judicial system.

The web site for "Snitch" delves deeper into the story offering: a report on a recent federal court ruling challenging government leniency deals; an interview with producer Ofra Bikel; experts' views on the pros and cons of using informers; a closer look at cases profiled in the program; more of the interviews with judges and prosecutors; and, a smart quiz on drug laws and prosecutions.

Producer(s): Ofra Bikel


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