tv The Communicators CSPAN November 24, 2014 8:00pm-10:01pm EST
people who had been victimized by slavery and jim crow. it was about floating diversity because diversity was good for companies. part of the selling point to the whole black establishment was hey white people are tired of hearing your complaints so we are going to take a trojan horse added and the handicapped and elderly and women in all these ethnic groups and we are just going to slit people in there with them and everyone will go in together and make this big pitch about how diversity is good for companies. all the black institution like jim crow said hey that's great for all of our asian and brown brothers around the world but this is about us because we were the ones who were victimized by segregation. you'd chose to come here. you were an immigrant, get in line behind the latest -- native americans in the blacks because this is our conversation.
that conversation got hijacked and turned into diversity. as a result of that as many challenges as other immigrant communities of color face indians are doing okay in blacks fall further behind because it's promised that diversity would help everyone including the adjudicated victims of slavery hasn't come true. diversity is more helpless you know these diversity priorities. they skimmed the top of the asian and indian and other communities and low income blacks fall further and further behind and we say look at all this diversity. blacks who suffer from jim crow fall further and further behind. so while yes you do need to have this multipolar conversation there is a black-white conversation that needs to be had. we need to have both of them. [applause]
>> all the conversations about the conversation about race. we have to wrap this guys because you are getting tired. i can tell because i'm getting tired and i'm people like you are. we are going to move to where the book signing is happening. we are not going to move at all but you will be able to move soon. i inelegantly am wrapping this is the pseudo-half moderator of this i want to thank you two copper being here. [applause] thank you all for showing up. [applause] i learned a lot and you learn a lot. it's an incomplete thing. to be continued. >> we will see you later. >> we will do this again hopefully we will be coming to a podcast near your ear buds in the near future. thanks for that note.
idea about the spring of last year so i had sort of done all these different things which we can talk about a little bit later that led up to this problem that i was having read essentially i didn't know what was going on in the government and i found it incredibly frustrating and weird at the same time because we live in a democracy and we should know what's going on in our government at any given time. the traditional way of getting information news outlets, attorneys, lobbyists didn't make a lot of sense. so i thought there should probably be a computational solution to this. we live in an age of google and we live in an age of rapid search information. it's really easy to find this out so that's where the idea came from. >> host: is fiscalnote a search engine and a sense? >> guest: started off as a search engine allowing people to search legislation across all 50 states in real-time but from there it evolved into something more than that in analytics and forecasting and a lot more of
the natural english process that's on the cutting-edge of computer science today. >> host: how do you use these analytics? how can people use them? >> guest: let's say i am a fortune 500 or large nonprofit hearing about the constituency that i represent right now i have a policy staff maybe 10 people, maybe 100 people that sit there literally on google and search what's going on with my company or my constituency. imagine being able to get real-time alerts information delivered straight to your phone and e-mail and on top of that being able to look at different analytics like what's the probability of a bill passing in being able to leverage data analytics to look at those types of things. >> host: how do you measure the probability of a bill passing? >> guest: sure.
we take into account a lot of datasets including roll call data campaign finance data demographic data electoral data and crunch that on the backend. once
we do that we are able to look at things like what is the profile of this individual legislator and how has he or she voted in the last 20 years so there happens to be a bill coming up that relates to something they have looked at before so ken bee back to the data and extrapolate for the future how to develop those outcomes. husband this is all done via an algorithm that you developed? >> guest: yes. >> host: how old are you? >> guest: i'm 22. >> host: how did you get interested in all this? >> guest: so my own career has taken a lot of twists and turns in the last couple of years but i really started off initially in the obama campaign in 2008 working initially in the field and moving to the data side initially looking at some of the demographic type issues and
those types of things but moving more into the issue base things. after the campaign event i was thinking about, i was 17
at the time and i ended up really deciding to throw my hat into the race for the board of education of montgomery county maryland. much to my surprise i yuan and was thrown into the mix of politics for a very early on in 2009 after the financial crisis in a lot of these issues as they came up. being a financial crisis is interesting because it allows us to think about creative ways of using resources and data and analytics to target those things. so what sort of one of the forefront leaders in being able to leverage those things in education policy not in jurisdiction but around the country as well. after my term ended i decided i will go back into the whole school thing. i went to college.
>> host: princeton. guess going to princeton and studied computer policy trying to look at things like how can we use advanced algorithms to check government fraudulent activity and rfps are looking at things like open data policy and how do governments currently publish information as well as communicate with the public in terms of what they are doing right now. looking at those issues was helpful for me and really allowed me to have the background for starting this company. >> host: two more questions before we introduced the third member of the panel here. according to your biography you are on leave from harvard business school. >> guest: i am deferring indefinitely which basically means i guess i could go back at some point in the future but i'm pretty much on leave at this point. >> host: and who uses
fiscalnote? who are some of your clients? >> guest: our clients range from fortune 500 like allergan, atco and non-profits like planned parenthood, information technology and history counsel. we also have a number of more medium-sized enterprises and law firms a platform as well. >> host: in the democratic governors association and the republican governors association is while? >> guest: both of the policy research staff includes the client. >> host: welcome. >> thanks for having me. he talked a little bit about having a hard time understanding what's happening in government and following government. do you think that is changing if you are a nonprofit or a medium-sized corporation not just because of things like fiscalnote but the openness of the internet? is it easier to follow what's happening? >> guest: unfortunately not. they're a couple of different
factors that play into this. the first thing is the complexity of government has really exponentially increase in the last couple of years not just the federal level but the state level as well particularly the local level. what's more interesting is that as our society continues to globalize companies are not just interested in what's going on domestically but also internationally as well so to expect a legal team or a policy team for government relations team to be able to monitor these things when the complexity is increasing and the scope is increasing and no resources or decreasing seems to be a harder and harder problem. but i think we have seen this problem in the media industry itself in terms of journalism and in terms of the amount of coverage. some of the most undercovered areas in the united states in terms of coverage are state capitols and city halls and even the federal government won't be able to cover major issues.
that's a function of the fact that one, there's no real business model out there in terms of how to disseminate information to back because of increased complexity of its resources aren't getting married to be able to cover a lot of these issues. >> guest: what is making things more complex? >> guest: i think one of them is the world is a lot more complex so there are a lot of issues that we had never thought about before and anything ranging from biotechnology to carbon emissions to international trade and terrorism. what will these issues have to do certain extent been debated for hundreds of years these new technologies and new ways of thinking are forcing, putting a lot of stress on our existing institutions. i just read the statistic somewhere that in the federal government there were a million pages of new regulations imposed last year which is for any enterprise a big undertaking to
look at that information and there are two lines to a business. i think there is a big friction between our two largest institutions in our society between governments and business and the commerce we live in today. >> guest: we talk about open data, big data come all these new possibilities for resources. is that still in its infancy or have these opportunities not become full? what are the opportunities they are? >> i can talk about what we do at fiscalnote. the challenge in our company at least in the initial stages was trying to get the data. not that i will call out in the states but some states are better than others and often we have to deal with things like publishing laws on the scan or a handwritten basis. we have to go when a track that information, adjusted and run ocr and do very complex things.
people don't understand what's going on. that's the state of things today and we try her best to work with governments and teaching them best practices and teaching them how to publish information correctly but that's still a large challenge today in united states. the interesting thing is actually a lot of countries outside of the u.s. are much much better in terms of open data policy than we are. i just came back from a very long list of countries just trying to survey what goes on in these different countries and it's very fascinating to see some of these countries are able to come up with information machine readable formats or information published in a way that we are able to pick up and adjust and that makes it exciting for us as a business prospect but also very frustrating to work with domestically as we try to continue out algorithms and
technology. >> host: mr. so they can you give an example of a country that's doing it better interview than our country? what are they doing? >> guest: the information that they publish is machine-readable which is a very big thing which basically allows our algorithms to index information and make it searchable there quickly. it's not enough to be able to scan information and stick it on line. let's say we have a budget document, an 800 page budget document. there is zero way for an organization to go in and search that document. very simplistic things like that allow technology to really open up the transparency and the possibilities. >> host: how is fiscalnote different than say thomas which the library of congress puts puts together a? >> guest: too things. our scope is a lot larger so we are able to go off into localities and municipalities in aggregate everything into one place.
the second thing is our analytics which differentiates us from information providers out there so things like we can look at trends on issues going across different states. if california passes something how likely will that impact people in massachusetts or virginia and then of course looking at things from a broader perspective in terms of product development in the regulatory and case law cases where we are able to connect the dots across the entire country. guest:have you been able to measure analytics and how successful and how accurate have they been? >> guest: so right now our algorithms are 94% accurate. >> guest: that's remarkable. i'm interested because there is this trend of predictability and the nate silver's of a world putting members together. this is the way things are going and will the numbers, 94% of the time tell the truth in the
future? >> guest: yes, i think it's really interesting where the political legal scene is today. i actually compared a lot to the financial services industries in the 1950s and 1960s back when deals were made by a handshake or in person. people used to price things without math which is mind-boggling to me in today's age but you have these new players come in. all these guys to come in and say wait, hold on a second. what if we use statistics and established a baseline for predictability in our markets and what if we could forecast things? obviously when i came in all these guys thought it was crazy. there's no way you can do that. today we take that for granted in terms of being able to look at financial models and unpredictability in our markets to a certain extent. i think what's frustrating in the political and legal system today is a seems arbitrary. it seems arbitrary what's on the docket. it seems arbitrary that who your
judge determines the outcome of the case and to be able to get the analytics around from a litigator why can't i just go to courtroom and see how a judge has ruled in the last 30 years or if i'm looking at a piece of legislation might can't i see how someone is voted in last 15 sessions where this legislature has look of this type of fish in the last 10 years. i think that establishes some level of predictability in some sort of a baseline in terms of how we look at government and have a look at the relationship between government and it's very similar to the service industry and that the way in which we go about it in history and technology and software and statistics empowering a lot of these things. >> host: let's say we work for boeing or something and because of all the military issues going on around the world today, we want to see if there's going to be an increase in military spending. i know there's a macro,
macrolook at this. how would somebody use your product to say yes, i see the congress increasing military spending on the president site. guess kosher. our analytics see whether or not something passes are now so we can break down on a legislator by legislative basis how they are likely to vote on a certain bill. for a tactical perspective there's a lot of ability for her attorneys and lobbyists whatever to be able to go in and say that may look at this bill based on the co-sponsors. here the 50 people that the most likely to vote for him likely to beauport endure the 50 that are the least likely to vote for that you can look at developing a strategy in terms of trying to get at the information you need. what i will say is that our analytics don't provide all the answers. there is not a crystal ball where you can ask any question but that being said there is a lot of power to be a look
combine some of the attic -- analytics are provided with broad industry intelligence or human intelligence and being able to combine those two things should be able to get to the answers you would like to get to. one of the big challenges as we look at expansion is we are bumping up against obviously some political issues and in the last democratic countries that are less likely to vote for publish their issues. in those cases we will have to step back and obviously reassess where we are as a company but in terms of the low-hanging fruit a lot of countries in south america there's a lot of laws and existing there and how they are changing. >> host: can you incorporate the human factor? will john boehner put this on the calendar and will harry reid allow this to be voted on the floor? >> guest: yes. we have the second algorithm we came up with was actually a
pre-floor algorithm that was capable of forecasting similar levels of backers say whether or not something would get to the floor. that's actually based off of matching issues with leadership, matching committee sponsorships and how likely something is to get through this committee supposed to this committee and looking at those analytics we are able to get to those answers. >> guest: it's interesting because i feel that's what lobbyists do. have you had any kind of pushback are people saying you spend thousands of dollars in relation to fiscalnote. >> guest: in terms of the dissemination of information by itself i found it so frustrating going back to how i started the company that it takes a human to get you the information the first place. it's like going to the library and asking to search for a
certain book. there are certain things that are taken as they are happening and we should be able to know what they are happening. for attorneys or for lobbyists or compliance professionals to be sitting there searching and tracking things in today's age doesn't make any sense. the way i view it is we provide the service that allows them to be able to trade some level of monetary value, opening up their time for strategies for assembling coalitions, for doing whatever they need to do to get to that, the outcome is. >> guest: i know you have done a lot of time with the obama campaign in 2008. have you done much work on political? >> guest: as we look at future opportunities internationally particularly the parliamentary structures, parliamentary
structures are interesting from an electro-perspective because the elections decide the policy agenda so we are monitoring the electoral activity a lot more heavily in most places. >> host: mr. hwang on your web site fiscalnote you have what it can't potential candidates for president in 2028. how did you come up with some of those names and some of those names are local officials. >> guest: yeah so it's really interesting we actually have a good indicator of who the most influential legislators are in their state and part of the things we do is we have to rank how likely they are to push a bill forward and the outlook they have on being a co-sponsors. we can actually look across the country and say okay out of all the bills are being sponsored who are the most effective legislators and hopefully we can
look at these people in the future to lead our country in the right direction. >> host: can you account for the variables that come into play in your algorithms? barack obama literally came from nowhere. made a speech in 2004 nova sudden he was the democratic candidate for president and the president. >> guest: again it's not something we do put one of the things i find interesting is regardless of who goes into political office of predictability is still there much because of the data out there on individual person but also americans for the most part are down the line in terms of certain issues. so even if you replace an r for a d or d for r the leadership feels a lot of pressure when it comes to these major issues. i would say a republican in
massachusetts, statewide republican in massachusetts the types of positions that you take are very different from a republican in alabama and being able to judge where they fall along the line is actually very interesting from a policy standpoint. you can start to see where your issue might end up. >> guest: big date is kind of a phrase and find her standing still relatively new and we are still getting our hands around it. do you think you are at the cutting-edge or early in the way that these companies and what they are doing with the data and putting that its information do you think the economy knows how to work these ideas and algorithms in these models? >> guest: i think we are in the early stages of the data. the proliferation of new datasets and an open data getting access to industry level data lets say for example their
insurance or moment plans compared to the differing types of health care insurance frameworks out there. they are combining those two things in a very real-time manner. so whether it's policy energy financial services social networking whatever the case may be we are at the at the beginning stages of leveraging these large datasets for more effective governance and more effective decision-making. >> guest: what do you think that looks like in five years, 10 years, 20 years? will everything be predictable? >> guest: i think there will be predictability and i think in this case one of the biggest analogies i point to is the weather. there are a lot of jokes about whether or not the weatherman got it right. it depends on the weather predictions are planning our outfits and there's a
diminishing marginal return on the amount of visibility that's out there but there has to be some level of visibility for us to operate in our day-to-day lives. >> host: who are your competitors? >> guest: the information providers out there you have, bloomberg and major players that are out there but i think what we view our competition is as sort of the old guard of media so the ftc of the world that really can't expand the coverage pass washington because they don't have the resource capacity to be able to. i don't doubt that's political or c-span but it's hard to expand to other new york sacramento or annapolis because the reality is when media coverage is based on how many reported to have on the ground that's where technology comes in
to unlock future possibilities and media information dissemination for society. >> have you found it difficult to break into the barca? do you bugs they had a tremendous amount of growth. have you gotten pushback or felt constrained -- constrained at all? >> bear art different industries around the world accounting, h.r., payroll database management. one of the last places for innovation is in the legal and compliance date. if you look at an average fortune 500 now maybe you are running quick. whatever you running on the backend most attorneys compliance professionals are still working on old books and working off of paper and pencil and i think this is a good time for us because we are attacking a big industry that hasn't seen that much innovation in the last couple of decades. >> host: do you see potential expansion into the financial
world to make some of these things, same algorithms work as what? >> guest: notches in most places but in industries energy and financial services. trying to understand if this bill passes in pennsylvania how that impacts oil and gas manufacturing specifically for the pricing of specific services. we are looking at, the other day we really can't trade data. what is the likelihood that these goods will be held up and if that happens what is the cost that will happen and so being able to look at those types of things pushing more and more to the industries and pushing more into the actual day-to-day operations of businesses as well. >> host: you got some d.c. money from mark cuban among others. how did you do that? >> guest: gap back mark cuban
has a funny story because he sounded very interested. once he came in new enterprise associates is a large metro capital firm ray jerry yang jumped in and first-run capital jumped in as well so there big names in heavy hitters that have really helped us over the last couple of months to build the company. >> guest: do you think you are in a tech bubble? >> guest: that's probably not my place to say but i do think that things have gotten a little out of hand, probably less of an enterprise face because we are building businesses with the revenue and income from customers. we actually joke all the time in our company when we get a photo sharing app for the social network. it's very funny to watch. they actually get which is really funny.
i do think there will probably be corrections in the next couple of months. if you are a company that's doing well at that point you are able to take advantage of great talents that might be currently working on a photo sharing app or capital gets better because we are building a business of customers. ..
a trillion dollar legal industry is daunting but you need people that are will tolling take on the task. >> host: any problem finding those people. >> guest: it's a very special breed of people willing to join a company. we are very picky in terms of people we bring on, but there is a great amount of talent here in washington, i think, that we are taking advantage of. >> host: does capital hill, does government understand technology and some of the issues you face as an -- as a corporation? >> guest: yes. so, when you look at the open data issues, i think from a conceptual standpoint, people understand they need to be more transparent. i think it's harder for people to understand the implications of opening up data sets and transparency. not just about the transparency. you're open us 'entire
industries. so, for example, the -- noaa opening up their weather information, opens up entire industries and profit-sharing and insurance and agriculture and weather and everything like that. the department of transportation opening up information around traffic informs the way we think about gps technology, about google maps, these different things. these are giant, giant industries that are getting unlocked by very simply putting a spreadsheet online on a regular basis, and i think it's harder for people to wrap their heads around the innovation that happened like that, but i think over time we'll see -- as a new crop of leaders come through government, hopefully we'll see a lot of that happening. >> host: tim hwang, founder and ceo of fiscal note. fiscal note.com is the webs. julian, reporter with the hill.
this thanksgiving week c-span is featuring interviews from retiring members of congress. >> i've raunch said the republicans have a legitimate argument here by the way, and that they're not being allowed to offer amended. they're not being allowed to offer amendments because the filibuster bills. they filibuster bills but a they're not allowed to off are amended. a chicken and egg thing. get rid of the fill buster but at the same time guarantee to the minority, in new rules in the senate, that the minority will be allowed to offer germane amendments to any bill that is on the floor. germane amendments. to that legislation. with reasonable time limits for
debate. >> probably the -- i won't even qualify by saying probably -- the most eloquent orator in the congress, told me one time, he said i'm not wild about impeachment but he said there are 23 americans serving active prison sentences for having committed perjury. he said, how do you justify that and then turn a blind eye to the president? he said, i can't do it. and i will always remember henry saying that. >> and also on thursday, thanksgiving day, we'll take an american history tour of various native american tribes. that's at 10:00 a.m. eastern, following washington journal. then at 1:30, attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the new diplomacy center in washington, and supreme court justices clarence thomas, samuel alito, and end -- sonia sotomayr
for the complete schedule go to c-span2.org. >> now, former assistant attorney general lanny brewer and a panel of u.s. attorneys discuss the role of the modern prosecutor, and ways to avoid unnecessary incarceration while reducing violent crime. this is hosted by new york university law school, is an hour and 15 minutes. >> good morning, everyone. >> good morning. >> thank you for joining us today. i'm going to start with some brief introductions of my fellow panelists, make a few remarks, we're going to engage in a conversation about the role of the federal prosecutors in the 21st century and then open up at the end of the presentation for questions. i want to start by -- start in the middle, introduce lanny brewer, who is with is today. lapis the vice-chairman at covington and burling, served
ofour year as the says stand attorney general for the criminal justice at the department ofity in washington. one of the longest serving aags for the criminal division in history. closer to me is paul fishman, the united states attorney in new jersey. paul served at least one term as the chair of the attorney general'sed a risery committee -- advisory, an executive committee of u.s. attorneys who meet regularfully washington and provide leadership in that role. next to paul is ken fleet. ken is the united states attorney in the eastern district of louisiana, which is new orleans. ken has been u.s. attorney for about a year. i was just remarking to him that he has accomplished more in his first year as u.s. attorney than many of us hope to accomplish in our entire term. just really done a great -- some great programs down there, going to talk about this morning, and so ken, it's great to be here with you. infection lanny, with the striking white hair is my elder colleague, barry griffin. the united states attorney in
kansas. people say what is wrong with kansas, i said, not barry grissom. we came in together in the same orientation group or pledge class, as we call it, at the department of justice. and barry has had a great run as u.s. attorney, engaging in unmess dented level of outreach with local law enforcement in kansas and one of the real leaders in the u.s. attorney community in terms of civil rights as well. and finally, at the far end of the podium is doug jones, doug is one of the co-chairs of the panel whose work led to the report. doug is the former united states attorney in the northern district of alabama. i had a lance to hear doug speak. he spoke to large group of u.s. attorneys about his work when he was the united states attorney, specifically his prosecution of a cold case in his district that stemmed from the 1963 bombing of the birmingham baptist church and the murder of four young
girls in the tragic incident. he personally handled the prosecution of klu klux klans minnesota that were involved in theblomming. is was an inspiring search when i heard it. inspiring to think about it, and gifting to know doug has been great thing for me. so, that's our panel here this morning. [applause] >> that's an introduction, and let me just kick this off. i'm the united states attorney in north dakota, served just over four years. and i was delighted when the brennan center asked me to participate in the blue ribbon panel whose work led to the report today. this report and the brennan center is a very important voice at a very important time in reformation of the federal criminal justice system. as you heard michael say earlier there are a lot of factors that are coming into confluence here that have created an opportunity
and a space for substantive change in the federal criminal justice system and this report at this moment in time is a very important voice in that effort. so i want to thank the brennan center with all want to thank the brennanster for inviting to us be part of this,. the panel this morning is intended to discuss this question. what it is to be a prosecutor in the 21st century? to be a federal prosecutor as we enter the 21st century. for a long time, i think the model of being a prosecutor -- maybe for decades, maybe for hundreds of years -- the model was the prosecutor sat in his or her office forks a long time mostly his office. times have changed in that regard as well. sat in their office, and waited for agents, for law enforcement officers, be they county deputies or fbi agents, to bring an investigation to the
prosecutor, the prosecutor would look at it, would charge the case, would move forward with the goal often times of trying to get as much prison time as possible for the crime in question. a very sort of reactive model. that model is one that is changing within the department of justice and has been changing for the better part of the last four or five years. shortly after he was confirmed attorney general holder gave a speech in which he had a remarkable line, i think, one that has guided me and other prosecutors here, that a united states attorney general and assistant united states attorney must be more than a case processor. a newt attorney and an assistant united states attorney needs to be a community problem solver. and with that vision in mind, the agac, under paul's leadership for part of this time, set about creating an
antiviolence strategy for communities in the united states that really rested upon a expansion on the prosecutor's role. certainly as a prosecutor, we are responsible for the enfor e forcement and prosecution of federal laws, violations of federal laws. that's our bedrock principle and something we take very seriously every day. buttoned that, that's just -- buttoned that, that's one leg of the three-legged stool. the other legs are -- 95% of people sent to prison think come home to their home communities at some point if and if we don't figure out a way to reduce recidivism rates we won't make communities safer. a shift away from convictions and length of sentence to, is the community you're serving more safe today because it's your turn on the watch?
in north dakota, i worked with my colleagues to developpen antiviolence program for american anyones in our state. i looked at my role as improving public safety, way struck at the time at the daunting crime problems that face american indians who live in reservation communities. when you think of the fact that a native american female baby in her mother's arms, has a one in three statistical chance of being sexually assaulted sometime in her lifetime, that's public safety problem that the u.s. attorney should care about. so, with the help of my colleagues and the u.s. attorney's office and much input from the communities themselves, many, many days spent on the reservation, talking to the consumers of public safety, that we were attempting to supply, we can't put together an antiviolence strategy that
really has two -- has at its bedrock a community prosecution strategy. i wanted to make the ausas living in bismarck and fargo, who are serving the communities, make them part of those reservation communities. it's hundreds of miles in some cases from my office to the reservations, and we're not in a position disa budget to place a prosecutor permanently on the reservations but i set fortha requirement we were be on the reservations monthly, every six weeks, meeting with communities, leading multidisciplinary teams, training law enforcement, meeting with the community, and starting a dialogue so that we could work together to make the community safer. and in the spirit of what gets measured, gets done, i put that requirement into the performance work plans for my ausas. if they wanted to continue to advance and get raises raises ae successful, they would have to hit the benchmarks of engaging with communities. we have seen some results over the last four years. the number of cases that we have
brought, we have assigned additional prosecutors to those communities and we're bringing more cases. we're removing more of the most dangerous folks from those communities. we're not stopping there because we're not going to arrest and incarcerate our way out of the problems. we're also working hard to support viable crime prevention programs. i have an ausa who is an enrolled member of one-the tribes in north dakota himself who for the last three years has routinely, six, seven, times a year, gone to the high school in middle school at the standing rock indian reservation north dakota, and met with middle schoolers and high schoolers to talk about the challenges they face, and to talk about with them -- state away from drugs. this is what domestic violence is. this is the challenges of sexual assault in your community. you need to wear your seatbelt. thingses a simple as that. and this ausa tells me, when he now sees in our juvenile system one of those kids that he has
interacted with in that other setting, those kids are embarrassed. they don't want to see gary in the courtroom. they want to take to heart the lessons he has given them when he comes to speak to their schools. so that's an example of a crime prevention program that i think has the potential for success moving forward. again, that's an experience in north dakota. a small office, small district, with substantial crime problems of our own, but in a way that we can -- that we have shifted the way we do business witch'll hear more from the rest 0 our torches about what they've done. i want to start with doug. doug, as i said, is the lone former united states attorney on our panel, and doug, we're talking bat new generation of prosecutors, but you're -- your lens here is broader. you have been involved in these issues for longer than some of the rest of us on this panel. how did we get to this point? we were interested in hearing your views on that.
>> all right, i appreciate. tim, let me initially say thanks to the brennan center, for the panel and the work on the program but for the work they do in general. it's just amazing the way the brennan center can have a voice of progress. for particularly in the area of criminal justice. i also want to thank my colleague, jim johnson, and brennan center, for asking me to co-chair this. it's an real honor. there were two things that michael said that i think we ought to take particular note of. number one, crime over the last 40 years has reduced. we are seeing a continuing drop in crime. and the second aspect -- which is all good. everything about that is great. but the second aspect, which is connected, is that we incarcerate 25% of the world's prisoners inning this country, and those are connected. and as this panel is not naive enough to think that aggressive
prosecutions over the last 30 and 40 years have not contributed to the drop in crime. they certainly have. it's important for prosecutors to show the flag and that they are being aggressive. but now when we see the budgets being busted, if you look in your program you see this country spendings $260 billion annually, to incarcerate vivids. overwhelmingly, the majority -- not majority but for some 40% of the prison population in this country is african-american. there's something skewed with all those numbers. and so now, as tim and michael alluded to, with folks have started to look a little smother on what we can do to maintain that level of security and even reduce crime, but at the same time not send entire generations of people to prison. you go back -- i first began my career as an assistant u.s. attorney in birmingham in 1980. it was in a day when just as the
war on drugs -- yaw all remember the war on drugs. a term that i hate, by the way, because war implies somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose. well, we're still fighting a war on drugs, and we will always fight a war on drugs. the fact is, during that time, both politically and with the department of justice, things began to change and the term that we have heard for generations, called "prosecutorial discretion" became a smaller part of the prosecutor's role. we had mandatory minimums that congress decided that they needed to show their constituents how tough they would be. i'm not cite sizing that. it had -- criticizing that. it had its place. department of justice also became very aggressive, not only on the crimes, drug crimes, but on others, as the decades wore on, congress continued to act.
one of the byproducts of that was that in the federal system, almost every crime that you had seen has now all of a sudden found its way into the federal code of criminal conduct. now, used to be, we all heard the saying, don't make a federal case out of it. that used to be a big deal. you make a federal case out of something. now you can make just a federal case out of just about anything. former attorney generalled mees has been very vocal about the federal criminalization of our nation's laws, but as the criminal code expanded, so did the role of federal prosecutors. they had more crimes to deal with. in 1984, congress passed the federal sentencing guidelines that went into effect in 1987. the sentencing guidelines were mandatory, and so now you not only had prosecutors who lacked the discretion on sentencing, so did judges, and for a couple of
decades before the supreme court made those guidelines advisory, it was a very difficult time getting assistant u.s. attorneys to learn how to exercise prosecutorial direction. that's just didn't have any. the department of justice sent in guidelines that required and mandated their offices to seek the highest sentence possible, even on plea agreements. that has helped reduce crime but the budgets of the government have been busted and so many people have gone to prison because of it. i think it dates back a little bit longer, back -- i know at least during -- for the last 15 or 20 years you have soon the department begin to do programs where u.s. attorneys would not just supervise their assistants and make sure that they were
aggressive in prosecution; they would reach out into the communities. one of the most famous programs has been the weed and seed program. where money went into communities to try to help neighborhoods, with afterschool care, things that would keep people off the streets. and so the prosecutors have slowly, especially united states attorneys, who have now seen their role more as -- not just the lead prosecutor, not just the chief law enforcement officer. when i was u.s. attorney, that's how i was always introduced. as the chief law enforcement -- federal law enforcement officer of the district. well, u.s. attorneys' roles are now much bigger than just simply enforcing the laws. we have got to figure out ways in which we can reorient it, the guidelines as well as the priorities of u.s. attorneys office. that will take a lot of doing.
we talk about climate change. across the way at the u.n., the global initiative. they're talking about climate change. so are we. it's just a different climate within the criminal justice system. and it's going to take some courage for both our political leaders as well as the prosecutors, regardless of the administration, and a bipartisan effort to come up with new solutions that don't require prosecutions and incarceration. it's going to take congress in the way they look at the budgets -- one of the things i know that all u.s. attorneys the last 20 years have faced, in the department ofity, is that congress has in their budgeting of the department of justice, had focused on specific areas that they want to see more prosecutions of. and so your budget was geared toward those and you had to spend money for new prosecutors in the areas of drugs, firearms,
terrorism, whatever they case may be. congress is going to have to kind of loosen up. we have already seen the supreme court make the sentencing guidelines discretionary, but prosecutors are having, i think, with all due respect to my colleagues here, i think they're still having a difficult time understanding their role that now they have this new sense of discretion, that they don't have to just look at a case, and say, well, this fits within this guideline so that's what i will recommend. they'll look at a much broader picture, look at the defendant. look at the same factors that a judge might look at that sentencing under the code. and at that point, i think we're beginning to see a lot of training, absolutely think the attorney general and his smart on crime initiative is a huge step, a huge step, in the right direction for federal prosecutors. but we have -- make no mistake we have climate change culture
change we have to address north just within the department but within our political system and our communities to make sure that we're doing things smart, and efficient, because every budget in the country is being busted by all of the law enforcement and incarceration and prison system issues that we face in this country today. >> so, doug, thank you. the point you make about the budgets is an interesting one. in terms of the attorney general's smart on crime initiative, i've heard this discussed this way ask this resonated with me as a u.s. attorney in a district trying to do business in a tough budget time. the choice that -- when you know that the federal prison budget is a third of the entire department of justice budget, and that is projected to go to 40% in the near future, that money is going to come from very much it's coming from our offices. so, it is -- the choice here is
not between mandatory minimums or shorter sentences, between the status quo and shorter sentences. the debate here is between the status quo, mandatory minimums, and less cases being done on the front end, and to me that starts to bring in into question the risk of safety to communities. and so we have to develop strategies to address that moving forward. now, barry, in kansas, you have taken some steps over the last few months, some new programs, to take a look at this idea of what can a u.s. attorney's office do to sort of impact the federal bop budget? we're prosecutors, right? our folks deal with in many cases very dangerous criminals that need to be incarcerated-but in kansas, how are you taking up this challenge? >> one thing i first became aware of when i became a u.s. attorney, came in from outside the department ofity. i did not have experience of
working with the doj. the first thing that i soon realize that was i was a resource manager. i have a slice of a pie that is a certain size and i can have so many prosecutors and do i want my prosecutors or the prosecutors in our office, to merely focus on getting the longest sentences they possibly can for a smaller group of individuals, or could they broaden their effort and get reasonable sentences for avalancher group of individuals to keep -- for larger group of individuals to keep our communes safety. oning the look at is michigan that has been on the books a long time but had not been fully utilizedded, which is diversion programs. the classic diversion might be a young woman who works for a bank and worked as a bank teller in a drive-through window and calls in the police and says, i've been rock two black men came in and stuck a gun in my face and took $5,000. well, five minutes after she is being interviewed by the police,
she breaks down and cries and says, i took it. she has no prior criminal history. she is certainly not a vie -- violent person. the money recovered their victim made hole. is that person someone we should saddle with a felony for the rest of her life? is that someone who we should put into the system so that the resource of the folks in probation department, which has to be there to monitor those folks that tim just described, who are more violent in nature and who are now under some kind of supervised release, do you want to burn these row sources up for that northwestern i don't think -- for that person? i don't think so. we drafted our diversion program in kansas and did it after we did an extensive amount of outreach. one thing that i did not want to have for my fellow folks in law enforcement through the state is that the feds on high are making
another edict we have to follow or tell us what we should do. so, i've been engaged in my tenure as u.s. attorney to be very active in outreach. well, as i told the attorney general when i first got my job, two-thirds of the folks in my state live in one third of the eastern portion of the state. and the phrase i heard most often -- i don't mean to denigrate my pred success are sos but when i would be in western kansas, communities of 8,000 people, 5,000 people, 12,000 people, that's an entire county. the refrain i always heard was this is the first time i ever met a united states attorney. so to get buy-in from all the folks in local law enforcement, was important. after we did that, and it's part of the mood towards the smart on crime initiative. we sat down with the folks in probation and we put together and retooled, retweaked our diversion program. it hadn't been addressed since 1995. and we set out some guidelines,
and it is something that -- out in that we changed the tool, will the tool be used? you heard what doug and tim said. one issue we have as prosecutors in this environment is breaking an institutional mindset. we have always done it this way. particularly if you're a prosecutor who agree up or came to the department an assistant united states attorney who came to department during the time of mandatory guidelines. it really was, drop your finger down two points for this, going to work with us, get something for this, do between this many months and this many months. the issue of prosecutorial discretion went out the window. and a lot of folks, that's how they matured as prosecutors. so, one challenge that we have is to now institutionalize the notion that you have great leeway. you can look to the guidelines as guidelines, not something that is mandatory and that, again, has been a real challenge for us, but i know with the attorney general's leadership,
we had a number of our lead prosecutors in all of our offices go down to the national academy of -- in south carolina, to meet with the attorney general to meet with the dag, with folks in management to impress upon our line prosecutors this change is coming. i had the great fortune, along with tim and my colleagues here, to go to the white house at the last u.s. attorney conference. we were at the conference, the president came in and we all had our picture with him. typically the president says a few things and leaves. he stuck around this time and focused and spoke about the smart on crime initiative, and how this was a unique moment in time that we needed to seize, and when i went back to my office, i conveyed that my prosecutors, that this isn't a gray area. there's not a lot of ifs or ands, this is what our boss
wants us to do. doesn't get any higher than that. so we have -- i think, moved in that direction. there's still challenges to be made. to get people away from doing 851 sentencing enhandments. that's when someone has a prior adjudication as a felon and in the past, you'd file a motion for 851 to enhance the sentence, to maximize the time. now we have a process where we say, okay, if you want to use an 851, justify it to us, us being the management attempt. and we have dialogue. i think that is also helped us keep down the unnecessary incarceration of someone. >> one federal judge said i don't know the difference between if you do ten years and 15 years. i don't know if the extra five makes you that much of a better person or not.
and that really struck me. i thought, that's just good kansas common sense. so, we have tried to approach our prosecution with good kansas common sense. >> thank you, barry. we haven't had -- have had a lot of discussion about the change in what it is to be a prosecutor in the 21st century in terms of enforcement, prosecution and things of that nature, but i want to turn to ken from new orleans to talk at bit about his office's efforts at building other two legs of the stool the terms of crime prevention and re-entry. you have remarkable programs you have been working on over the last year and we would love to have you share those with the group. the 322 initiatives. >> sure, thank you, tim. as tim mentioned, michael also ilighted, the united states leads the world in incarceration. misstate happens to lead this country in incarceration and indeed the city of new orleans leads the state of louisiana in
incarceration rates. what we have been doing, focusing exclusively on enforcement, is our only tool as prosecutors, simply is not working and i see it every day in the state of louisiana and specifically in southeast louisiana. so we have tried to engage some additional tools, specifically the re-entry level. we tried to engage with our business community. i think we all can agree that a major part of this issue of reducing recidivism, trying to close that resolving door recidivism, rests on providing long-term stable employment to these individuals as they return to our communities. new orleans leads the state of louisiana in incars rigs and also means we leave the state in terms of people returning to our communities. and so what we have tried to do is engage the business community, talk to them about
the perceived and actual risk of employment in this community, and some of the incentives out there to encourage employment in this particular area, things like the work force tax credit that is out there. things like the federal bonding system in place through the department of labor. but our office is not stopping therement we have an initiative called 32 plus 2, 302 plus 2, which is really a reentry collaboration between some of our nonprofit organizations in the community as well as our businesses, where we're trying to encourage 30 local businesses to hire two returning citizens for a two-year period. we're looking for businesses that represent a diversity of our industries in the state of louisiana. but we're also looking for businesses that are committed to providing long-term employment opportunities for these individuals, not simply for a two-month, three-month,
six-month period. and then what we're doing is we're partnering with a re-entry initiative that is out of the state pent, out of angola. interestingly enough the types of resources available at the state sim surface what we see at the federal system, but also at our local jails. in that program, that an going la program, what we're seeing are inmates getting training in a hard skill, things like welding, 19 different areas of hard skillsful they're getting over 100 hours of cognitive and life skills, parenting, financial management, drug treatment, drug education. and then ultimately they're getting out of that. getting out of that system. also get thing geds or their high school equivalencies. once they return from that, what we're hoping to dod provides this initiative as pipeline
where they walk out of prison from day one with a long-term, stable job, before they return back to our communities, and we're hoping that becomes part of the answer, where every aspect of our community, including our business community, is really engaged in the fight of trying to reduce crime in the city of new orleans. that it is one pillar of our work in the office. the second pillar, of course, is trying to prevent crime in the very first place. i'm born and raided -- raised in new orleans. i'm the second youngest u.s. attorney right now in our country. and i also happen to have lost a brother to street violence in new orleans. so, this issue of trying to intervene in the lives of young people is near and dear to my heart. right now what we are doing is using or one hand an initiative called the student pledge against gun violence, where we're going out into all 450 schools throughout southeast
louisiana, on one day, october 15th of this year, and the pledge is quite simple. we're simply asking our young people to pledge not to bring a gun to school. they promise not to use a weapon to resolve a fight or dispute. and lastly, they promise to use their influence with their family and friends to ensure that those individuals don't use a weapon to resolve a fight or dispute. very simple pledge. been around since 1996. over ten million young people across the country have used this and taken this pledge. this is the first time we'll do it in new orleans, and i think ultimately on that day we'll be sending a very powerful message that our young people individually and collectively are taking a stand against violence in our community and in our schools. the second piece of our work in terms of prevention and intervention really is an outshoot. we have a gang violence reduction strategy that is built off of professor david kennedy's work that is in partnership with the city of new orleans. it's a fantastic initiative.
the gang violence reduction strategy. been implemented in various cities across at the country. we have analysts that have been financed through that work, and what we're trying to do through the work, of course, is trying identify how people were connected, how people are connected, who is involved in some of the narcotics trafficking and the use of violence to enforce narcotics trafficking organizations. what that analyst has also done is taken some research by a yale professor, andrew papakristo0, who focused own social networks in terms of identifying which individuals in the community are most likely to die from gun violence. and we have applied that research to the streets of new orleans. and what we have found -- we have been able to identify many of those individuals at this point. we have the ability, the data that shows that these individuals are at the greater -- at the greatest risk of losing their life to gun violence on the streets of new
orleans, and by high risk i mean they have a nearly 60% greater chance of dying from gun violence than the average new orleans resident. >> that's frightening. >> in past iterations of the department of justice i would dare say we would simply wait until these young people simply showed up in a coroner's report or in a police report. as i said, that's not enough for me and so it's not enough for my office, and so what we're doing is that we are focusing on the 14 to 16-year-olds, very few of whom actually have any criminal history at all but are connected. they're connected to individuals who have been engaged in violence in our streets. they're connected to individuals who have already lost their lives on the streets of new orleans, and we're trying to engage them and prevent the same result for them. we're asking our faith-based and
other community organizations to adopt one individual youth off of this list. it's an institutional mentoring initiative. one institution adopting one youth. we're asking that institution to provide three mentors from their membership or from their congregation, to ensure daily contact with the young person. and by young people, i mean that this is a purely data-driven analysis, bit the way. we have an overwhelming number of them are african-american males but we also have a significant number of african-american women and we also have several caucasian males in the group of 14 to 16-year-olds. we're asking those congregations, memberships, to provide three mentors from their group. we are providing a mentor curriculum through some already standing mentor programs that exist in new orleans area. then we're also asking that membership or congregation to then embrace that young person
and their family, wrap their arm reasons the group and help provide any additional resources that the family may need academic enrichment, housing, food, transportation, which we all know are significant concerns for many of these young people, as i've said before, these are the individuals that will show up on the front page of our newspaper, unless we take urgent action and intervene in their lives and that's what we're trying to do through this program. it's called, crescent city keepers. thank you. >> ken, thank you. and -- [applause] >> so, what we just heard is a long way away from the model of a prosecutor sitting at their desk and waiting for an agent to bring them a case file. i think that ken's story is amazing, but it's not unique
amongst our 93 colleagues. there's a new generation of united states attorneys that are committed to expanding these roles in the 21st century, beyond the historical perspective. i'm going to turn to paul next. now -- >> i'm a new generation. i appreciate that. >> we had some prep calls for this. was able to get everybody but pull on one prepare call that lasted ten minutes. then i had paul on his own prep call which lasted a half hour. so i have no idea what he will talk about today. i would suggest to him insuring light of what we just hear from ken, about the great work going on -- i know paul has a great re-entry program in new jersey called renew, mentioned in the report, but paul, i know that what you -- i know one of the things that frustrates you is the idea that there's great work being done but is it being funded? is the funding going to be there to support programs like the ones that ken was talking about? to support the work that barry
is doing, outreaching to local law enforcement, to support the additional u.s. attorneys needed in understand to make sure we -- in north dakota to make sure we have that strategy on the american indian reservations. you have been the department longer than some of the rest of us. i would just merely suggest to you that might be a nice topic to talk about. >> i don't care what you said. >> let me make one observation before i start. what makes ken's description of what he is doing in new orleans so remarkable, it's not just the energy and the park and dedication that ken brings to this job, which is really awesome, he is doing it with bubblegum and sticks. there's no money. right? and i'd like to believe that if we save a lot of money on the back end, on the prison population, that some of the money would be refunneled back in into the justice department, particularly u.s. to attorney
offices. didn't get the increase in staff to do that. he took existing resources -- >> in fact he lost resources as a result of sequestration and the hiring freeze and is doing more with less. >> exactly. there's no office in the country up to full strength or has the budget it had ten years ago, none of that is happening. so what he has had to do, with way want to do these programs, is to say, we're going to take an assistant attorney general, or two, who would otherwise be prosecuting cases, and cases that borrow doug's phrase are cases that should be made federal cases out of. people who are -- they're not the typical case we do. it's not the bank teller with the $5,000 embezzlement. even if she did it. or even the $5,000 bank robbery. those aren't the federal cases we're doing now. it's the 100 million daz popp ponzi scheme, the corrupt public officials, people hacking into tower our commuter systems and stealing 100 million identities
or credit cards. if we take prosecutors off the line to handle these kinds of incredibly powerful, worldwhile projects, smellings else is not happening -- something else is not happening. that resource choice of the kind that doug was talking about. i are talk about my my re-entry court. one this this attorney general has done and it's important to note that eric holder is the first attorney general distance dick thornberg to have been a united states attorney and have been in the field, handling cases and make though kind of choices in the field. i don't mean that other people's experience isn't valuable. a fall lob -- having been out in the field and been a u.s. attorney in a place like d.c. where there is no district attorney, the attorney general had a vision in his head, and in his experience, of what we should do and how we should behave. that was fortunately consistent with how most of us wanted to approach the job anyway-but that was a big difference in the way the depth has thought about its mission. our mission is to protect the
public, to increase public safety. that is our mission. the way we do it is because we're the department ofity, supposed to do it fairly. and with appropriate procedures and making sure the system treats people they way they should be treated. once you get past those two core concepts, to the way we do our priority choosing is very different. i don't have indian reservations in new jersey. right? i don't have counties in new jersey with 8,000 people in them. we're very different place. i have the city of newark, the highest carjacking rate in the world. 400 carjackings last year in a city of 300,000 people. i have camden, which in 201, 2012 this highest homocide rate per capita in the western himself sphere. think about that -- hemisphere. we have the largest part assume cat companies in the world. we have a huge cyber network in new jersey. we have with all due respect to my friend ken, a reputation for
political corruption that new orleans may claim the mantle for and would get. >> no offense taken. >> so the problems that we have to deal with in each of the 94 districts are very, very different, even though we all have the same job title, and even though we have the same types of people who work for, and what the attorney general has been very good about, is telling us that we should not only be community problem solvers but we should be the people who decide in our districts, notwithstanding some of the constraints doug was talking about where there are some ausas who are paid to do particular things -- that overall we have a lot of discretion and a lot of freedom put people in the kinds of place wes need to put them to address the problem inside our districts. that's important. the second thing this attorney general did -- a cop flouts of his arrival and at the demise of the mandatory sentencing
guidelines. the attorney general said i want you to think about this differently, the way barry was talking built with his kansas common sense, what's the right outcome in a case like this? not what do the rules say. but when you're looking at a case, what do you think as a prosecutor, as a line prosecutor, as the united states attorney, what is the fair and just result. talk about why that works a lot of the time and why that doesn't work later if we have time because that has constraints. do want to actually answer timms question because -- tim's question was i'm afraid of him. >> he said before i start and now he's going to start. >> but i'm going to be brief on those. first, on outreach. made the requirement forrary attorney general in any office to do some outreach to get an outstanding rating. they do as much as they want, go talk to parents in a school about enter sunset safety. judge a moot court competition
at a high school. they can go out and spend a lot of time talking to people in the arab and muslim communities or other minority communities about their civil rights concerns and they way we can address those in the federal government. whatever they want to do as long as it's related to the mission of the office is great. and we have done a lot of that. and i've done a lot of it personally. again, we have hired an outreach coordinator, and that's all we have to sort of make this happen. second thing we have done is, like some of my colleague around the country, we started a reentry court and the reentry court focuses on higher risk returning federal prisoners to number. why high risk? the high risk ones are the ones who are most likely to come back though loyce runs don't need the same attention so we could higher risk, and we invite them into the program. we tell them that if they come into our program, run by a fabulous magistrate judge, that what we wellwill do is give them intensive supervision through to the probation department. they will be in court every two week at 5:00 on tuesday to meet
with the judge personally. we'll pay attention to how they're do what they're doing, and always asking them the question dwight you need? and our goal is to take the people who have paid their dues, went to prison for crimes they committed that were serious, for which they should have gone to prison -- make no mistake -- but are now out and we think they need a second chance. and fabulously inspiring program. we graduated our first six folks in july. i see my friend, former governor jim mcgreevey, doing a huge opt of re-entry work on his own. is was an inspiring day to watch these six folks, one woman and five guys, get up and thank the judge. last time i worked in a federal judge, they didn't thank the judge. thank the judge and thank the prosecutors from my office and the public defenders for helping them get their lives back on track, and i'll just tell you one quick this will. the first one spoke, one guy who
has a double eye bloods tattoo on the side of his neck, and you know what that means. what his life was like before that. he said -- and the turned to a whom who was a federal public defender and he said to her, you changed my life more than anybody else did because one night after court, at 7:00 in the winter when it was dark you offer met me a ride home, and he said and that showed that you trusted me to be in your car. and that was -- it was a chilling moment. i talked about it it the other day. a chilling moment for everyone in the courtroom to realize what it meant and what it could have been if he hadn't decided he wanted to change house life, and so that is the kind of stuff we're working on. i guess my plea is, as you talk about these issues, think about how we're other going to fund them, because it's not cheap. it's cheaper than jail, but if we save the money on the back end, are we going to spend it on the front end? >> and with all due respect to paul, saved the best for last,
lanny, we're going to turn to you. we have a group of u.s. attorneys who i always bristle when i'm in meet little at mainity and they refer to the 93 of us as the field, as if we're a sales force for a photo copier company. but that's okay. put that being said there's a lot of wisdom -- within the department ofity, written main justice, within the building are they're a tremendous amount of power to pull the levers and move initiatives like this into the field. give us the perspective from the former head of the criminal division, from mainity, what is it that goes on in washington that can support, that is part of this effort? >> a real honor to be here, and i think you're seeing what this department of justice is doing with these remarkable u.s. attorneys. i just want to be clear for a moment. in a room like this, these decisions seem extraordinarily
obvious. which is that of course we need to identify and reduce mass incarceration. and it's really been the leadership of these u.s. attorneys and the attorney general that is making progress and the brennan center and the like that is moving that forward. you got to take a step back. like ken, i grew up maybe a few decades before him, but i grew up in new york city, the son of refugees, and then at a time when crime was at its height. i was a manhattan d.a. when people in this city felt incredibly at risk and people wanted those who they felt responsible in jail, and in jail for long periods of time. and ladies and gentlemen, if the crime rate goes up in the united states, very quickly, i believe, people will again very quickly say, we need to have sentences higher and people have to be
incarcerated. and during the wars in manhattan and the like, we saw an enormous push for that. governor rockefeller, and the sentencing -- federal sentencing reflected that. so, what you saw for the next couple of decades was -- the attorney genoas extraordinary here -- you saw an enormous disparity in the federal government between the way that we were prosecuting those who were incarcerated for selling crack cocaine and those who were incarcerated for selling powder cocaine. and that was because when these laws first came into effect, people thought crack was different. but the result was the disparity that became more and more evidence, which is young african-american men were going to jail because they tended for the most part to be involved with crack, and white men and others were going to jail for far less because they were doing the exact same thing, some with powder and some with crack.
and so you saw a horrific phenomenonnan in this country of african-american men going to jail far langer -- far longer than other men -- typically men -- for the same crime. and what you needed was leadership, and many administrations that did lobby for it. frankly, families of the people in jail had lobbied for it. there was a recognition that's needed to be changedded and no one did it. i was fortunate enough to become aag, but frankly, i wasn't me itch was fortunate to be aag under this attorney general and this president, and they said we were going to change it. so i had the privilege in '09 to go before the congress and argue for the first time in history that administration was saying you have to change this, you have to have parity, one-on-one. >> can i tell this story -- ultimate live the law was change
not to one tonight one but the disparity decreased dramatically. when i testified literally in the senate there was an extraordinary scene of mainly african-american women, mothers and grandmothers, lining up-wanted to hug me and congratulate me. it did nothing. it was the attorney general and the president. so that's the kind of leadership, that the kind of courage you have to have. and frankly, the person who testified next to me was reggie walton, one of our great judges in d.c. an african-american judge, who had been the deputy czar for narcotics. the next thing that the attorney general did was he created early on something called the attorney
general's sentencing and corrections working group. and he began to visit my -- being the vice chair but the attorney general was saying to the men to my left and right, and the men and women of the department of justice, and frankly for people not in the department of justice, let's rethink some of our assumptions here. so we rethought how the depth of justice is going to deal with the death penalty. how we are going to deal with incarceration. deal with re-entry programs and i think that was very successful and some of the programs you're hearing before the today are a result of the attorney general giving that guidance. and then the attorney general in washington decided after much discussion to change what had been a fundamental precept for quite a while with the department. ausas a all over the country, whether in new jersey, louisiana, kansas, north dakota, or georgia 0, anywhere else,
were told that you had to each time, each time, you had to charge the most serious provable offense, and the attorney general said after all this, no. i want an individual assessment. and that's what you heard about. now, the challenge is going to be, because of individual ace assessments people will say, now again we have too much of a disparity. the people who essentially have committed the same crimes in essentially the same situation, with essentially the same background, are they getting a essentially the same sentences? ...
you have to take the worst of the worst away so that the worst of the worst don't take a 14-year-old who can't talk to them and force him to become a gang member for the rest of his life. but in doing that the other issue in the criminal division is that the budget is going down. the only part of the department of justice that goes up as the bureau because it has as the population increases, so the challenge here is to be smart, to have these -- but frankly to
do with the center does because the american people don't support this. i testified in front of congress more than my colleagues and so really how our elected officials feel. on one level they want to be supported but the minute the crime rate grote -- goes up the minute there's a terrific example of someone who is in a re-entry program who committed some horrific crime there will be enormous pressure so we need to create it for everyone. the department in the attorney general shared a lot of leadership and i think you have heard the results of that from the people on this panel. >> all right so i want to open it up to questions. we have folks with microphones in the audience for questions. we have a question over here. we are going to start with a judge. i just think that's a smart move by anybody might position to
start with a federal judge. >> are you going to start in his court? >> you never know, right? >> it's an incredibly inspiring talk but what i wanted to know is how much thought you were giving to the institutionalization of the practices and programs. so often we see these types of programs are led by people like you, very smart, very charismatic, what we would like to think that then the next u.s. attorney comes or the next administration comes, the next attorney general comes and some of those programs or the perspective of those programs are important gets lodged away. some of it is money because money and having people specifically designated to do those types of things becomes important. but i wonder as you are sitting there and some of you have done
this in the past i don't think you have focused on that and quite the same way. when i was attorney of connecticut for example did a lot of what you're talking about and did a lot of those things and i wished i were smart as you are to do some of things you're doing but never thought about institutionalizing it in a way that another smart good thinking person doesn't take it away because from their perspective that's no longer as important and we need to focus more on incarceration for longer periods of time because crime rates have gone up or there's political pressure so do you talk to politicians about figuring out ways to institutionalize this beyond your specific term? >> i just want to say this, the word institutionalization for these programs is not one we have started talking about is a community in the last six months. under the leadership of dhe the attorney general's advisory committee are first advisory up
in a former u.s. attorney in the late 1990s and came back as a recidivist and came back starting in 2008. todd reaches the solicitation and paul did as well. lanny wanted to respond though. >> i was going to give one example in my colleagues can talk about what they are doing in their districts but didn't attorney general was mindful of it. one of the privileges when you're the head of the criminal division is you work with the u.s. sentencing commission and we did do that. we also are able to work with the attorney general and with your colleagues in the u.s. attorney's office in dealing with the u.s. attorney's manual. an example of institutionalization, an example is we dealt early on with the notion of the sentencing guidelines and the sentencing commission even a nonviolent person who had an addiction could not be in a diversion program.
so we change that and that was much discussion and working with the sentencing commission so they changed the guidelines and the commission recommendations and the united states attorney's manual has changed that as well. obviously someone can change it again but obviously that's a big effort too. >> does anyone else want to talk about institutionalization? berry? >> paul talks about taking a prosecutor way from being a prosecutor in putting that person on another task such as outreach or something of that nature. making sure that you have responsibility for the task and the simple as this sounds give it a title and given individual that responsibility to be the point person because otherwise it becomes the flavor of the month and it just kind of fades away.
so you have to weather going back to our sample on-campus diversion we have a person who is our diversion court nader and that diversion coordinators a prosecutor. it's doing more with less but when you institutionalize it like that someone looks at your chart there's that person. it's not just somebody who's floating out there but has that responsibility. as lanny said someone cannot come in and change it but once you get some on that responsibility folks are reluctant to give up that responsibility. >> before we move on i will say this in the narrow area where he spent a lot of my time which is public safety on the reservation. this attorney general said if you are one of the 30 u.s. attorneys with responsibility for reservations you will have an operational plan for reducing violence in interacting with those communities so we have one and nsc official plan of our office. in my office those lawyers that are working that beat again they
are required not because the boss says no, because their performance work plans require them to hold team meetings to visit those reservations. now the next person can come and say i don't care about that and i'm going to reach into the machinery of the department of this machinery and i'm going to change it but that is hard. those steps are being taken. we like to think we are institutionalizing it but you raise a great point. >> let me mention, there were something about that though and i appreciate judge robinson who is one of my colleagues from the clinton administration, paul mentioned our reach. lanny mentioned come into plan. i don't think you are ever going to be able to institutionalize any of these programs unless there is the outreach that you get the community buy-in and lanny talked about that. that is more than to simply putting in big programs. getting out into the communities as barry talked about. the community buy-in leads to
political buy-in. it took years to get congress to recognize the disparity in the crack-cocaine and powder cocaine and was because of the constant community efforts of victims and their families to get that to happen. so i think lanny was absolutely right come the tables are turned and unless you get that community buy-in right now you are not going to feel the stop the wilson turning back. >> hello i'm from the sentencing project and thank you so much for all of your remarks today and our common theme has been the constraints constraints that you have faced because of mandatory sentencing laws. one of the reforms, one of the bills that is out there now is the smarter sentencing act and the attorney general has supported this act. i'm wondering if you could talk about among the 93 of you whether there is an effort to help to support this legislation
and also if you could talk about, we say what's the matter with kansas but what the letter with his assistant u.s. attorneys and we have an organization called the national association of attorneys that claims to represent a large proportion of these ausa's and has pulled them saying they don't support this legislation so i'm wondering if you could talk about that as well? >> i will take it. so there's no question, we have 5000 prosecutors in the field. some of them were hired last week. some of them were hired 30 years ago. they have very different responsibilities in different views in different parts of the country coming from very different backgrounds. there are some number of people in the department some of whom are my friends some of whom work in my office and elsewhere who think mandatory minimums are right and others who think mandatory minimums are terrible and there's an organization
called the national organization of the nicest attorneys. union in a traditional sense that represents a number of people who are its members may have the view that this is not the right direction to be going. we are constrained as u.s. attorneys whether we are allowed to lobby or not. i can answer questions for any politician as a representative who i know who says what you think about this and can you brief me about what's going on in your office and what your policy stuff is my talk about our reach and re-entry and her need for funding but we can't affirmatively lobby. but i think people know there are lots of u.s. attorneys who have spoken publicly in speeches and informally sometimes in gatherings this large and sometimes others about what our views are missing. i do want to make a point. even if we don't feel constrained enough sense if your goal is to reduce the federal prison population, you can really only do one of two things. you can prosecute fewer people
which no one seems to suggest because it's not like we don't prosecute an enormous number of people to begin with and we prosecute the most serious criminals. no one is saying we should prosecute fewer of those people. so then the answer is should people go to jail for less time? that's something that people talk about and in particular cases but at the end of the day if you ask for lower sentences and you negotiate plea bargains that are less severe people were plead guilty soon and the prosecutors will be freed up to prosecute more cases. the end of this result will be fairness and the treatment of people in the way they think is appropriate but that doesn't necessarily result in the federal system and a reduced prison population. fewer prosecutors and fewer cases but that's not something i think is a great idea at least in my own district. >> we will go over here next. >> thank you.
i am kate clarke achieved the defender services and a poster in her office of u.s. courts and i wanted to thank your vision and your leadership. one of the institutional issues i think the way to face together i hope is that the federal defenders had over 165,000 furlough hours and we lost close to 500 staff so we are down below 3000 and 2800 in comparison. the point being that a lot of our federal defenders and our panel attorneys are saying they can't do these other things quote unquote such as re-entry courts because they are time intensive and we are in measurement studies. i was wondering if there's a way that all of you think about this system and the institution and collaborating together with the fellow defenders so we can bring life or further life to all of these excellent programs that you discussed today.
>> on a very broad level and i'm sure the folks on the panel can give you more specifics but again because of the attorney general and his commitment he did work with public defenders. i remember his request a few years ago supporting additional resources for federal public defenders are working with federal public defenders. i suspect most of my colleagues here deal with the federal public defender and know they are collaborative. i know in d.c. both informally and formally i have done it and i think i'm no longer with the department of justice i'm a little less constrained but surely for this to work the federal public defenders have to have increased resources as well. you can't just have a department for the reason you say that. i think most people recognize that. but the department itself is not succeeded, is not succeeded in
getting additional resources. so i think you're hearing right now that it's a challenge on both sides and frankly both have to increase. i think that has to be done by dealing with elected members of congress and the community recognizing that both part have to increase. >> governor did you have a comment? we have the microphone right here. >> thank you. i was one of those erstwhile politicians. [laughter] thank you my dear friend. thank you very much. one of the challenges is joe califf on a did a great study and he pointed to the fact that in the federal president said -- system approximately 70% of those persons behind bars are clinically addicted and yet only a 11% receive treatment. and u.s. attorney fishman has a tremendous program and we work
in close collaboration with one of the frustrating aspects of what we do stateside is also in county jails as we provide treatment that's on a continuum into transitional housing and it seems like on the person inside the bureau is incapable because they grapple -- grapple with the same budgetary realities in which we all grapple but they are not causing additional treatment. it's almost as if the prison population is without a voice in so many areas but clearly in terms of treatment as opposed to merely pulling time senselessly and federal prisons it would be the ideal place and frankly dug and lanny and paul, it's frustrating that we haven't seen the change. frankly if this administration doesn't do it god knows who will.
any response? >> i would say this and to expand this because i don't often get the opportunity to address a big-city audience like this, right? this looks like the whole city of fargo. [laughter] i will say this, because what we see in north dakota's folks coming out of prison and your point is well taken. we need to do more throughout the process from arrest to the core process to the prison process of making treatment programs available. in rural america particularly isolated rural america the kind we see on american indian reservations but not just reservation america but in rural america in rural america the access to treatment services are so much worse than they are in urban areas. this is a divide in our country, urban in rural because we still have dangerous folks coming out
of federal prison going back to small-town america that really face a challenge in finding treatment, mental health treatment and addiction treatment and things of that nature. that's enough on the soapbox for today what is important when you talk about the treatment to recognize that in the system but on the backend and the chinese people returning to her these resources available? varied. >> to climb on your soapbox. >> you want to talk about rural america too. >> as i like to say you have all been to kansas but you are at 35000 feet. one of the challenges that folks have in rural america is governors that quite frankly and i feel for her friends and law enforcement. mental health issues, police officers are put in a precarious
situation where a person is ranting and raving and a person is in danger and do you taste them or are you looking at an excessive love force -- force lawsuit in that's because the safety net certainly in my state just doesn't exist like it did even five years ago. so it's a real challenge not only for books with addiction issues but mental health issues. >> one more question and then we will have to break to move to the next panel. the questions have been greatly appreciate your involvement. last question. >> good morning. i'm a retired judge from the federal system as a magistrate judge in a superior court judge in for the last 10 years i have had at the national organization called the national african-american policy coalition. at i worked on the crack-cocaine and powder cocaine disparity
issues. i have two questions are to put to the panel. it's been my experience that many of our young black males are in fact coerced into gangs and get involved in drug activities and when they come before me as a judge and court they tell me when they plead that they didn't want to get involved in drugs but they were forced into it. then under the military sentencing laws they are coerced to give testimony so many have the problem is taken into consideration that background of individual citizens. this is depressing to talk about that many of her black youngsters got into drugs or coercion in gang activity and how do we solve that problem? try to work with this approach in new orleans. and the other one we try to save money referencing the prison problem but indeed the re-entry program sometimes is a mode of
rehabilitation and public safe safety. many of the people who have been imprisoned become social workers and probably don't realize many times they get converted. they become more substantial contributors will be to get that message out. [applause] >> okay, thank you and we are going to wrap up. i'm sure they have a big hook somewhere that they will eventually pull me out with so i want to thank my great colleagues on the panel. [applause] his eyes a pleasure to spend time with my colleagues of thank you very much. [applause] >> everyone you have 10 minutes before route we reconvene for the next panel. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
they are not allowed to offer amendments. they're not being allowed to offer amendments because the filibuster bills in a filibuster bills because they're not allowed to offer amendments is one of those chicken egg things. the best ways to get rid of the filibuster but guaranteed to the minority and new rules in the senate that the minority will be allowed to offer germane amendments to any bill that's on the floor. germane amendments to that legislation with a reasonable time limit for debate. >> the late henry hyde, i won't even qualified to say probably, the most eloquent orator in the congress. henry told me one time, think their member this correctly. he said i'm not wild about this impeachment that there are 23 americans serving active person citizens for having committed perjury. he said how do you justify that and then turn a blind eye to the president? he said i can't do it.
have one criminal justice system and in response to the issues of the overuse of incarceration go beyond federal concerns. but that each state has its own system and then subsidiary systems within each state. what we are going to talk about our responses at the state level and at the local level to the issues of the overuse of incarceration to solve criminal justice problems and to deal with violence within the communities. the panel that we have is missing one member who is advertised, catherine lanier. we have worked hard to make sure we have people that are actively engaged in law enforcement and chief lanier was actually pulled off to deal with issues of ndc. we have with us moving from the left to the right geographically
that is and perhaps otherwise. [laughter] doug gansler who is the attorney general of maryland a former state attorney and malcolm the former president of the national association of attorneys general. next to him is jeff slymack who is the special assistant attorney general in the office of attorney general of california. jeff oversees criminal law policy is a special assistant to the attorney general from california. next to jack is cyrus vance who is the district attorney from manhattan know him well. here in manhattan and moving next we have the commissioner of the baltimore police department and he has joined us today. finally to my immediate left we
have david keene who is a founding member right on crime. he is the former president of the national rifle association and the former chair of the american conservative union and a board member of the constitution project. the way this morning's next offense will proceed is as follows. each of the members of the panel will have a few minutes to discuss issues of key importance to them and then we will move through some significant claims and when i say a few minutes i have one personal attribute that is relevant and it's not the fact that i was an assistant u.s. attorney are serving long enforcement. and the grandson of a pentecostal preacher and i have a very good sense of when people start to warm to their text which means they can go a little bit longer than they need to. so i will exercise those
instincts as they move forward. but each panelist will have a few moments to talk and then we will talk about community engagement. we will discuss issues related to return and re-entry. we will discuss issues of fairness through the operation of the criminal justice system and how many of the panelists have employed strategies to root out bias and put in systems to ensure that justice is clearly administered firmly but also fairly. with that i will start with mr mr. keene. >> thank you very like the idea that after he talked about having a panel with experience in law enforcement that he calls on panels with no experience at
all. i found the first panel to be a really relevant introduction to this panel because it hit upon the kinds of problems that we all face to deal with criminal justice issues in the public sphere. as jim indicated i'm on the board of the constitution project which is a bipartisan cross ideological organization that works on issues of this sort as well as a founding member of right on crime. before we put together right on crime and number of conservatives for meeting regularly for several years in our offices to discuss the problems that we have been dealing with the criminal justice system and the question of reform. it was our feeling that in the 60s and 70's in particular the public discussion of criminal justice issues was skewed by the fact that you had misrepresentative strawman arguing with each other. you have politicians who claimed that since crime is a problem we
had to lock them all up, throw away the key and punish the more severely. then you had others who tended to speak only for the criminals and that was the debate that appeared in that's the wrong question. the question as you approach criminal justice issues was stated as well as anyone has by paul fishman on the earlier panel much he said the mission of u.s. attorneys inundate the mission of the system is to provide for safe civil society. the question is not whether there are too many people in prison are not enough people in prison or whether the laws are too harsh or the laws are too lean. a row question is what works. we got into a situation certainly rhetorically and politically where the question of what works and the mission that paul discuss this morning became subsidiary to the smaller missions of the various groups and politicians and constituencies involved. we have formed right on crime
because we thought it was time for people regardless of their political orientation or their ideological correction or stance to start looking at these problems realistically because the system clearly is not working when the united states becomes the premier jailer of the entire world where one and 100 adults are serving time or have served time in a penal institution. where there are more people in every prison, in every state in this country today suffering from severe mental illnesses that are all the private public treatment facilities in each of those states, where the mission the prison and jail system is supposed to fulfill can be fulfilled because it's dysfunctional. more people are being locked up for things that they shouldn't be locked up for that they needn't be locked up for that is necessary. pat nolan who was