Robert Siegel

When Karriem Saleem El-Amin went to prison in 1971 for the murder of Baltimore grocer David Lermer during a robbery, he was an 18-year-old killer named William Collins.

In 2013, El-Amin left prison after serving 42 years, 3 months and 3 days. Today, he is 60 years old, back in the city of his youth, converted to Islam, subdued by age and often baffled by the experience of freedom.

Little things, like dining in a restaurant, can be disorienting.

In a battle for the Republican Party's conservative base, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are exchanging heavy blows, with Trump most recently threatening to sue Cruz over a political advertisement.

But in the midst of this fierce contest for the Republican nomination, the party's top official, Reince Priebus, says it's not his role to referee the drama.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now a story about justice and the passage of time. It's about a mass release of people sentenced to life in prison in the state of Maryland decades ago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Our co-host, Robert Siegel, has been in New Hampshire all week with the other journalists, pundits and campaign staffers who descend on the state every four years, and he's been captivated by some of the other visitors.

For Republicans who aren't named Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, the goal in New Hampshire's upcoming primary is to finish second — at best.

That's the best outcome the establishment Republican contenders can hope for following this week's Iowa caucuses, where Cruz and Trump topped the field in a tight three-way race with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

With New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary less than a week away, the publisher of the state's largest paper, the Union Leader, told NPR's Robert Siegel his assessment of how the Republican presidential race has played out thus far in a single word: "Extraordinary."

And the reason he describes the GOP campaign that way boils down to Donald Trump, who, despite coming in second in the Iowa caucuses this week, enjoys a double-digit advantage in most New Hampshire polls.

What do you get from a college education? And, given today's eye-popping costs, is it worth it? Through this academic year, we're following a group of college seniors from Montgomery County, Md., and asking them those questions. Among those students are three women on the verge of real life.

Alejandra Gonzalez is an in-state student at the University of Maryland, in College Park. She's one of 27,000 undergraduates. To help pay for college, she works at the admissions office.

Throughout this academic year, we're following a group of students who graduated from high school a few years ago in Montgomery County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. We're asking about the choices they've made and about the cost and value of higher education.

Going to college today is a very different experience than it once was. The cost has soared, and the great recession cut into many of the assets that were supposed to pay for it. This week All Things Considered is talking with young people about the value of school and about their choice of college.

What do you get from a college education? And, given today's eye-popping costs, is it worth it? We're following a group of college seniors through this academic year and asking them those questions.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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