Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


For Ex-Felons, Limited Rights Mean A Future On Hold

Oct 22, 2012

Vikki Hankins wants nothing more in the world than to have her civil rights restored. Hankins, 43, lost the right to vote — and many others — when she went to a federal prison for selling cocaine in December 1990. She spent almost two decades behind bars for her crime.

Today, Hankins is an author and an undergrad who dreams of going to law school. She got out of prison four years ago and quickly applied to have her rights — like voting, serving on a jury and becoming a lawyer — restored.

Hankins was denied. She has reapplied three times since. Finally, last year she heard news — not from Florida's clemency board, but on the car radio — "that blew me away," she says.

What she heard was not good news. Hankins will have to wait five more years before she can reapply to have her civil rights restored. "How much more do you want me to suffer, legislators?" Hankins asks.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott changed the state law last year, making felons now wait from five to seven years after leaving prison, depending on the crime, to apply for the restoration of civil rights.

In Florida, it's not just a former felon's right to vote that's at stake. In Hankins' case, she isn't eligible to apply to be admitted to the state's bar and practice law. "I can go to law school," she says, "but when I'm done ... I won't be able to go to the Florida bar and take the exam, unless I have my rights restored.

"Right now," Hankins says, "I can't do anything."

A Dream On Hold

Soft morning light filters into the Orlando apartment Hankins calls her "refuge." Hankins talks about how she spent her time behind bars, reading anything she could get her hands on. "I wanted to be up to date on life outside prison," she says.

She also helped fellow prisoners write letters and work on their cases. While incarcerated, Hankins joined Advocate 4 Justice, an organization that works to reinstate parole in the prison system. Today, Hankins is the group's president. She also wrote in prison, hoping to better understand how she ended up dealing drugs. She ended up with a book about her journey, but couldn't find a publisher.

Once she was released, Hankins put together an Internet-based publishing company and has published about 20 books — including her own — for numerous clients.

She also enrolled in a two-year college program. She looked for work as a paralegal upon graduation, but "being an ex-felon without the rights restored, I can't get certified," she says. "Even with my education."

Hankins and her three siblings were raised by a single mother in a strict Baptist household in Florida. While they were poor, Hankins says her mother "was very adamant about ... our academics and spirituality." Her mother, she says, committed suicide when Hankins was 19.

In her senior year of high school, Hankins ran away with a football star who introduced her to drug trafficking and domestic violence. She says she takes full responsibility for the decisions she made in the past and wants to turn the page. But the government, she says, doesn't believe in her transformation.

"Do you know how that feels? What that can do to someone's psyche? When you're told that you cannot vote? That you cannot have your civil rights back?" Hankins asks. "Ultimately what it's saying, in my opinion, is that we still do not accept you. That's what the legislators are saying. I'm still seen as an outcast," she says.

"Twenty years in prison is a long time," Hankins continues. "But how long does the suffering go on, or the punishment?"

Staying On The Straight And Narrow

Hankins is resilient, but she admits that even someone with her spirit could break. In Florida, about 10 percent of the voting population is denied the vote. For many advocates, that raises serious concerns about whether the state's new laws unintentionally target certain demographics.

Hankins doesn't believe the government's argument that the new laws are largely based on a law-and-order philosophy. "You're lying about your reasons why you extended [the waiting] period," she says of the governor and the Florida Board of Executive Clemency. Her voice trembles as tears rush down her high cheekbones. "You are lying."

Hankins says she lived in a storage room and struggled even to find food when she came out of prison. "I was in a perfect predicament to commit a crime," she says, but she was determined to live on the straight and narrow. "And you say, well, we are going to see if Vikki Hankins is going to commit more crimes — are you kidding?

"I was so optimistic when I came out of prison," Hankins says. "I have an interest in law. Why should I have to go into some other [field] that I have no interest in? Why can't I have the freedom of choice of education, simply because the governor decides that I have to wait longer?"

Florida's backlog of cases is large, with 19,000 pending applications. Hankins says that probably means her wait will be longer than the five years she's been told to expect. But, she says, "I won't quit. I won't give up."

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