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11.03.15: Snitching, Tig Notaro, and Cancer

Paul Robinson via Flickr CC

Snitches, rats, finks, and narcs – criminal informants may not be popular among their peers, but are crucial to the work of law enforcement. Today, the risks investigators face when it uses criminals to catch other criminals. Then, 2012 was a rough year for comedian Tig Notaro. She suffered a serious intestinal infection, the death of her mother, a major break-up, and the kicker, she was diagnosed with cancer. She explains why she chose to announce her cancer diagnosis to a roomful of strangers during a stand-up set.

Listen to the full show. 


Every year, the government makes thousands of deals with criminal offenders in exchange for information. From housing projects to college campuses, these deals are instrumental in investigating and prosecuting crooks. Alexandra Natapoff acknowledges those important law enforcement victories, but is concerned about the largely informal and secretive process of rewarding informants who may be serious criminals themselves. 

Alexandra Natapoff is Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She’s author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice and of the blog.


The Prison System

Deborah Peagler is a woman who, according to some, has been behind bars far longer than necessary.  This story was produced in 2009 by Devon Strolovitch- about a month later, Deborah was finally released from prison. She died of lung cancer in June, 2010.

You can listen to this story again at

Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro is a stand-up comedian and soon-to-be memoirist. She made headlines when she announced that she had breast cancer during a stand-up set, just hours after being diagnosed. 

Tig Notaro

Read more at this link: Tig Notaro - Comedy Meets Tragedy

Object Breast Cancer

The specter of cancer looms large in our minds – and yet tumors themselves remain largely invisible to the people who have them. Producer Eric Molinsky has the story of an artist who sought to better understand her disease by turning an intangible diagnosis into physical art.  

You can listen to this story again at

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