tv Virginia Governor Calls for Criminal Justice Revolution CSPAN August 29, 2017 4:51am-7:01am EDT
if they start to realize, wait a minute, this does not just are with me but what i contribute, where i am coming from, is part of this bigger story. so in now way, allowing them to take in the perspective of others through social media and video, gives them a chance to be able to really think this is how they see the world. how can they expend that a little bit by taking others perspectives? >> listen on the free c-span radio app. >>, a look at criminal justice reform with virginia governor terry mccullough. state as well his as others. it was hosted by the brookings institution. morning. you to like to welcome
this forum on criminal justice reform we're webcasting live. we will be archiving the video for this event so you will have an opportunity to view it later. we welcome any questions or comments you have while we set at #cjreform,eed so you are welcome to post any comments you have. our prisons are overcrowded and there are racial disparities in sentencing. we need to develop alternatives to existing policies. today we will be discussing criminal justice reform and how to approach that issue.
to help us think about that, i am pleased to welcome governor telly mcculloch to brookings. terry mccullough. he helped to create and build a 21st-century economy. but, he is also committed to bettering the lives of ordinary people. after the tragic violence in charlottesville, he spoke out forcefully about hatred and bigotry. just the other weekend, he hosted a weekend to bring inmates andenile their families. he has been a trailblazer in restoring civil voting rights for those released from prison. during his time in office, he has restored voting rights to thousands of extra lens in -- thousands of ex-felons in virginia.
please join me in welcoming governor mcauliffe. [applause] >> thank you for joining me today. it is great to be among so many people who share my passion for such an important issue in this country. it is waiting that we are gathering here today on the anniversary of the march on washington should i first want to recognize the four people who have been very influential on this issue. these folks have really done a good job. virginia has led the nation on many of these important issues. i do want to thank the team we have assembled. one month ago, i made a very different speech, but today i speak with you with a strengthened resolve that, after many of us saw what happened in the last few weeks, we found it deplorable, disgusting.
not acceptable in this country. we saw hatred, bigotry, and deeply rooted racism on display in charlottesville and around the nation. there was grief and shock over the death of heather heyer who was out exercising her constitutional right and killed by a terrorist driving a car. to the two state troopers in virginia that we lost, to individuals close to me personally. one of them had been part of my private detection unit, and the other had been a pilot for the helicopter i had flown on for about three and half years. it was heartbreaking to visit their families. to see their wives and their children, husband not coming home, father not coming home. and to the heyer family who lost their daughter, our thoughts and condolences are with all of them should we saw the outpouring of support and solidarity from it as majority of our citizens. lahore that we saw from the white supremacist and neo-nazis was so shocking to all of us. as i said, there was no place in virginia for them.
i told them to get out. also, the swift and unequivocal outpouring of love and solidarity. the disgusting display we saw of white supremacists and neo-nazis and others that followed elsewhere was so shocking to so many of us. as i said in charlottesville that saturday night, there is no place for not seize or white westmacist or klansman in virginia. i said for them to get out of our youthful state. you are not wanted. to go home.
your hatred is not in virginia, we do not what you in america. paradedople, as they down our streets, pretended they were patrons. a are not patriots. they are cowards. patriots are virginia is like herbert johns, a 16-year-old woman in princeton county 50's, a younghe african-american woman who walked out and took a class of 400 people and said, we will not come back until we have equal school facilities. patriots are the young men and women who wear the cloth of our country to protect his basic freedoms we enjoy so much. charlottesville is a painful and vivid reminder that although we have made significant progress we still have so much work to do. those whoseorcing privilege has allowed them to remain silent. to reconcile two different views of america. let us be clear.
this is not a debate about monuments. these folks were not just protesting the name of preserving heritage. they want to maintain inequality in everything they do from criminal justice to housing to -- and they went to elevate racism. so far the pendulum has swung in their direct. african americans, particularly men are incarcerated at an alarming rate that is disproportionate. african american children are more likely to attend school and live in areas of concentrated
they have been the target of legislation around the country with policies intended to rob them of their most basic dignity and civic duty, the right to vote. it is no secret that virginia has adopted and perpetuated some of those same practices and policies. we know that our history is far from perfect in virginia. that is exactly why i believe virginia should serve as an example to other states looking to take on reform. when i first became governor, it was clear that one place that badly needed attention and resources was in our juvenile justice system. we were spending 40% of our funds on just 10% of the youth in our state correction system, and nearly 80% were rearrested within three years. to house just one juvenile, it $155,553 per year. that does not include the
education services. which totals over $30,000 a year, a total of $187,000 per year. yet, 80% were rearrested within three years. i was proud to be the first virginia governor to ever visit one of our juvenile facilities, and now i have visited both. i had the opportunity to speak with a group of teenage boys at one of virginia's oversized, maximum security facilities. they asked me why the recidivism rate was so high. the more they were incarcerated, the more likely they were to reoffend. they knew the system was working against them instead of working for them.
today, i am proud to say that our population of incarcerated youth has been cut by two thirds, from nearly 600 to just over 200 today. i've directed the savings to be reinvested to support the new centers, and to create an effective statewide system of evidence-based systems and supports aimed at preventing incarceration in the first place. today, i am proud to say that we have not found any other state which has been able to replicate what we have done in virginia. i am proud that we have secured funding and now offer free travel to families to visit their children.
with new options, 75% of our youth will now live within a 1 hour drive of the family should -- of their family. all of this will help a strike the right balance between savings, cost-effectiveness. and rehabilitation as well. goalsupport our ultimate of giving these kids a shot at a better life when they leave. just yesterday, as darrell mentioned i visited a juvenile , direction center, one that i am closing, just outside of richmond for a family day festival. it was a day for them to celebrate with their families the progress and success have had, and to give them a couple of hours to just feel like a regular kid. i was amazed by their incredible talent. one group even performed a spot on rendition of songs from hamilton. we heard moving stories from former incarcerated youth.
i met a young man who had recently been released from the facility where he had spent the last five years of his life. where some people might see a troubled youth, i saw someone asking for the respect and admiration of his peers and mentors. he is an avid reader and a poet. while incarcerated, he was a mentor in a literature program and served as the president of a student association. and now, with 22 college credit already under his belt, he walked out of the facility last month with a college acceptance letter in his hands. that is exceptional. [applause] because, when it became governor, there were no college courses available to them.
today, they are taking up to seven college courses, including earning their high school diplomas commit their ged's and getting workforce credentials. time inks the first virginia history, that such robust educational offerings have been made. it speaks to our team and great educators who work with this -- these youth. while his story is inspiring, he is not alone. i believe all of these youth deserve the opportunity to succeed when they leave juvenile detention. that work starts from the moment they enter our care. for our educational department, the work starts even earlier. far too many of our virginia students spend time outside the classroom as a result of disciplinary action. we have heard of stories of students being handcuffed and arrested. the data shows that
african-american children and students with disabilities are disciplined at a much higher rate. according to the virginia department of education, african american students make up 24% of the student population. and yet they account for 53% of , the school discipline. while recent data shows a decline in the number of suspensions and expulsions, these numbers are still far too high and continue to disproportionately affect certain students. that is totally unacceptable. there is no room in the commonwealth of virginia for excessive, discriminatory treatment of our students. that is why i announced in october of 2015 a new statewide major initiative, classrooms, nor -- not courtrooms. our is why have directed
law enforcement, and students experiencing an unnecessary number of expulsions and suspensions and suffering under too many disciplinary infractions. as a result, our agencies have been hard at work to support the local efforts to stop these practices. in june, we unveiled a new memorandum of understanding for all of our local partners, who all had to sign. we now have a new rewritten virginia school law enforcement partnership guide. there are very strict guidelines now, about when someone can be disciplined. recently signed legislation directing the virginia board of to establish new alternatives to short term and long-term suspensions. together, these steps will contribute to a more healthier and productive environment for our children, and hopefully prevent our young people from entering the juvenile detention system in the first place. these come an 80-focused efforts are not only important for intervention, and prevention,
but they're also critical for autos reentering society after going through a long. of incarceration -- after going through -- critical for adults reentering society after going ofough a long period ever incarceration. having a community is critical to making this transition is successful one. we all know that. our adult reentry population needs the skills to be successful in today's economy. in virginia, we have taken steps now to offer college credit course work in career and technical training in all of our facilities. this prepares them for a smooth transition into the virginia economy that we have all worked so hard to build. we are proud to have some of the highest numbers is -- on ged's in our correctional facilities. today, virginia can boast the lowest recidivism rate of any state in america. [applause]
these measures point to the success of the transformation in virginia, but we cannot stop there. as i alluded to earlier, the policies which hamper our citizens including the lifelong label as a "criminal" in the name of public safety and justice, the burden of that label can be life altering. after you have served your time, to learn more about that 4rsthand, i invited virginians who had dinner last week with me at the governor's mansion. there were students, leaders and activists, from all walks of life. each had their own unique pathway to success today, but the one common thread among them was the wish to not be defined by a mistake which they made so many years earlier. that is because each of them had been convicted of a crime, and they had all received a pardon from me. while most have long since moved on from their mistakes, one of my guests had not even made a mistake in the first place.
his name is robert paul davis. when he was 18 years old, he was wrongly convicted of a double murder after being forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. on the day i signed his pardon, i ordered his immediate relief -- release from prison. he had spent 13 years of his life behind bars. in fact, i pardoned many virginians who should not have been charged in the first place. 2015, i granted an absolute pardon, to 58-year-old michael mcallister who had been wrongly convicted of a attempted rape and abduction of a young mother in richmond, in 19 86. after more than 28 euros and present, best in 1986.
after more than 28 years in prison, he was finally exonerated as a true criminal. a serial rapist who bore an uncanny resemblance to michael came forward and confessed his role. these four navy veterans were wrongly convicted of raping and murdering a young woman in norfolk, in 1987. they spent years in prison together for crimes they did not commit, after being coerced into falsely admitting guilt by the lead norfolk police detective on the case. today, that police investigator is in prison, for extortion and lying to the fbi about investigations. sadly, this decade-long process has irrevocably changed the lives of these four men, i cannot give them back the lives of their -- those years of their lives. our system of justice is clearly an imperfect one, which gives the duty of authority such an important one.
not just to people who are wrongly convicted. aso with me last week was 64-year-old reverend and army veteran, who unfortunately had been hurt in vietnam severely. he became addicted to drugs. he came home and at 23 years old , was convicted of a marijuana possession. that 40-year-old felony conviction, followed him until the day he received a pardon from me. it always bothered him, prevented him from getting certain jobs. through my pardon power, i made sure that he knew that the commonwealth of virginia would never again define these individuals as criminals. while executive clemency is an important power for any governor, but i have also taken it to the next step. i have taken executive action to ban criminal background checks on state job applicants, and i
worked to and the ridiculous policy, were in virginia, we would strip your drivers license for those who cannot pay their court fines and fees. you have court fines and fees, so you take their drivers license away so that they cannot drive to work, to get the money, so they can pay off the fines and fees. is that not ridiculous? [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: i found this one so baffling! i reminded our legislators, you know, there is not a metro system in martinsville virginia, or in rural communities where this is prevalent. the only way to get to work, is drive. so this year, after a long, , concerted effort, i am proud to say that i have signed six bills which make it more difficult for our court to suspend drivers licenses, and to give drivers more options to get there reverend licenses back, if
they have been suspended because of an unpaid court fine. i have also thought to raise the minimum felony threshold level. i am embarrassed to say this, but today in virginia, if you are convicted of stealing anything worth $200 or more, you are now a felon in virginia for life. if $200 seems low to you, that is because it is. virginia now ranks 50th out of 50 states, tied with new jersey. i will leave that there. [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: think about it, but $200 floor was first set in 1980, 40 years ago. it meant that a kid who had just turned 18, and stole a pair of air jordans or takes an iphone, is now a felon for life.
that label would be with that individual for the rest of his of -- his or her life. you should know, in 1985, that would've been a misdemeanor. so, in 2016 come i called for the raising of the minimum felony threshold to unfortunately, that never made $500. it out of the committee. but if you know anything about me, i was not deterred, so we went back on this year's legislative session and i proposed to increase again. just to keep up with inflation, that is where it would be. and fortunately it was rejected again. yesterday, i find a pardon for a 47-year-old man, named paul who stole at 24 years old, cash more than two hundred dollars from the cash register at the department store where he worked. he had a new baby, he had a broken down car, and he had no money. today, he owns a thriving plumbing business, but his
felony conviction sometimes prevents him from doing business at any military bases. at christmas time, he donates free something supplies and services for families in need. paul was wrong to steal that money of course, but it should not mean that a mistake he made nearly 25 years ago should follow him forever. in virginia, that felony conviction also permanently strips you of your civil and voting rights for life unless restored by a governor. that draconian process was the basis for the most contentious battle i have had as governor. when i came into office, 40 states automatically restored these rights to former felons, and give them an opportunity to have a meaningful second chance of their lives. i set out to bring virginia and to line with the rest of the country.
2014, just three month after i took office, we made some changes. we shortened the request form, from 13 pages to one. we streamlined the process, got rid of the waiting period, making sure that everybody had the same eligibility requirements. later, in december 2014, i announced that i have restored the voting rights of about 5000 -- 5100 virginians, more than any that a virginia governor in history had done before in one year. we ended the practice of withholding these rights simply because of outstanding court costs. in june of 2015, i was proud to have restored more voting and civil rights than any other governor in the history of the commonwealth of virginia. but for me, that was not enough. 2016, i stood on the steps of the virginia state capital -- virginia state capitol, designed in 1785 by
thomas jefferson and i issued an , executive order to restore the rights of all virginians who had served their time and completed any supervision. that day, more than 200,000 virginians earned back the right to vote. it was my proudest day as governor. we must ensure the rights of every citizen, including those among us who have made mistakes, served their time, and returned to their communities to make the most of their second chance. unfortunately, when they do get out, their criminal record follows them, as they look for work and housing, the basic necessities to help you to have a second chance. in virginia, it is a mistake which stays with them even as they try to take part in democracy by voting. and there is a reason why, folks. 115 years ago, a poll tax and literacy test were written into virginia's constitution. ,- a felon disenfranchisement
that is what they were. it is ironic that in this great country, with our imperfect history, we would punish those who have made a bad decision for the rest of their lives. where would we be as a country if we were only judged by our mistakes? why then do we judge and perpetually punish our fellow citizens who may be got lost along the way? have always said, if you show me someone who was never made a mistake, and i will show you a liar. [laughter] these are the questions i have asked myself, i have -- while traveling around virginia and hearing story after story of people have been denied their basic rights for years. some of them have never been able to vote in a single election. there is a reason why this happened. senators ago, a state by the name of glass, put these into our dust by the name of mcg
lass put these into our constitution. he stood exactly where i stood -- years ago, and he said "we are doing this to eliminate darkie from being a political force in virginia." think about that for a moment, folks. and so, i was proud to restore the rights of virginians. in addition to being a loving mother and grandmother, one of these virginians is now a respected community leader and a helper to addicts and former offenders. a sponsor as well. know, terry had remained a second-class citizen. before that day in april 2016, this mother and grandmother did not have the right to vote, even though she had turned her life around and used her second chance to help others in need. especially those facing addiction.
it was a sad legacy for the commonwealth of virginia. this policy was among the many jim crow era voter intimidating tactics aimed at blocking people from voting ever again. -- blocking people of color from voting ever again. as governor, i could not allow this great injustice. however, ours was not without obstacles. virginia's republican legislature sued me the day i took that action, arguing that i did not have the authority to do a blanket restoration. on july 22, the virginia supreme court ruled against us, not based on constitutional grounds, but because they quote "no governor had ever done this before." now, i will be very frank with you, folks. i went to georgetown law school, full-time, and while i was
there, iran three companies. -- i ran three companies. i was not in the building much, but even with my limited legal knowledge, i knew i had the authority to do this. i think the statute of limitations has passed on how much time you are supposed to spend in law school. [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: so think about this, terry got her rights back, overjoyed. the virginia supreme court ruled against us, and her -- she lost her right to vote again. shelked to her that day, was devastated. she could not talk. however, we were not done fighting. on august 22, 2016, i stood in front of purging his civil rights monument and initiated the process of restoring rights again. they had told me, if the governor is going to do it, he has to sign every single one individually. up, i will sign
every one of them individually if that is what it takes to read [applause] happened, they did not like that. once again, i was sued, this , the general assembly of republicans sued me for contempt of court. i now have the owner -- the honor of being the first virginia governor to be sued for contempt of court. this time, the virginia supreme court sided with my favor -- cited in my favor and said he is doing it right, by doing it individually. and terry received her rights back that day. life,e first time in her november 2016, she walked into a voting booth and cast her ballot , officially regaining her place in our society. showing us how powerful a second chance can be. she fulfilled her hard-fought civic duty with pride. something that nearly millions -- nearly 100 million eligible americans did not exercise last
november. earlier this year, i invited her to join me for my address to the state of the commonwealth address, in virginia's historic assembly. the balcony, with tears streaming down her face as i honored her in a room with the very same people who had thought she was a second-class citizen, and actually sued me to keep it that way. over the past years, i have met countless people, whose rights i have restored, just like hers. these are family, friends, and neighbors. they send our children and grandchildren to our schools, attend our churches, and they pay taxes. now, they can once again have a say in how their communities are run. this is not just a virginia problem, nearly 6 billion americans with felonies around the country today, cannot vote. think about that. justlion americans, people like terry, who served their
time and they are ready for a second chance, only to be shut out from their communities that they contribute to. theireople return to communities after being incarcerated, we want them, and we need them to make the most of their second chance. israel he -- progress in israeli easy, and a new this would be the start of a hard-fought daughter -- hard-fought battle, but clearly one worth fighting. as i look back on the past year and a half, i am proud of the remarkable compliments we have -- remarkable of competence which we never gave up on that fight. we stood up to take action and become a hallmark of significance in the rights. today, because of this work, i haveoud to say that we restored the rights of more than 161 thousand virginians, who had deserved a second chance. i now have the honor of restoring more rights than any other governor in the history of the united states of america. [applause] gov. mcauliffe: our work must continue until every person is
insured their basic human and basic civil rights. no voter should ever be barred from fulfilling their civic duty. no person should ever fall through the cracks of a broken criminal justice system. no child should be subjected to failing schools simply because of their families economic status. our conversation today is about a long overdue conversation, how we live up to our own american ideals, and how we view justice. continue the conversation, without acknowledging how we got here in the first place. so yes, let us tear down those monuments and put them in the and the battlefields and the cemeteries, where they truly belong. but let us also tear down the inidious policies, but keep equality and racism alive in our institutions and in our attitudes. the greatest monuments that we can build to our nation's core values are not made from stone.
we must actually live the american legacy that we all seek to honor, by ensuring that every single child in this country has an equal shot to succeed, that every single man and woman who was made a mistake has a second chance to make it right, and that every american has a place to call home! that is what we can work hard to do in virginia, under my watch. what we have seeing is just the start of a transformation that could take generations to be fully realized. hope thisy i important work continues in january and are my successor, because this is not a democrat or a republican idea. it is an issue that cuts across economic status, race, origin, age, and political party. incarceration, and turned achisement have part far too long! and they have been used as legal
tools to suppress the political and economic rise of our african-american friends and neighbors. folks, it is past time for criminal justice reform. it is time for a criminal justice revolution! thank you very much. [applause] >> i want to thank the governor for his thoughtful presentation. we appreciate him taking time out of his busy schedule to read he had to leave, because he is running to his next event, and so he is unable to stay longer. we do have a distinguished
panel of experts to continue the conversation. the moderator for our event is a political activist and organizer for campaign zero which seeks to and police violence, deray mc kesson. joining him on the panel is sean, an associate professor of law at georgetown law center. he is the author of "law man, my story of robbing banks, winning supreme court cases, and finding redemption." as far as i know, he's the first bank robber to actually speak at the brookings institution. also on the panel is britney pac -- britneyresident packman, the vice president of teach for america." she is also the cofounder of campaign zero. clint is a doctoral candidate at harvard university and author of a book. he is also the author of "counting dissent." he has given
ted talks on the danger of silence and how to raise a black son in america. we turn it over toderay -- we turn it over to deray. >> thank you everybody for being here. i am excited to moderate this incredible panel. when i think about britney, she was deployed at the ferguson commission, and she was one of the original protesters out there. >> sean, is ace scholar, who has written about how to change the system, with everything from sentencing, to speedy trials. so i am excited to have this conversation. the first question i pose is a reflection on the governor's speech. we have just as a country, come off the heels of the last incident in charlottesville. i would be interested to know what your take is, especially as we talk about the climate of race and criminal justice
reform, and we would like to start with you, britney. >> thank you so much for that question. charlottesville is an important moment, but it is part of a long series of moments. what we saw was some of the most vile evidence of white supremacy and racism and the indoctrination of hatred in this country, and yet we see that every single day in our criminal justice system, in schools, on acts of protest. the streets, and in acts of protest. so, i think it is very important that we frame this conversation
appropriately. once a proud as systemic and institutionalized, and it is woven into the very fabric of this country from releasing on -- policing on down. that the thing governor mentioned, which i think is important for this conversation is about how much this starts in schools. we often talk about the school to prison pipeline. that phrase has become rather well known, thankfully. i do not think we talk about it enough though, because it is not just about how quickly you can enter the system as a child, but it is also the way you internalize the idea that regular, normal childhood behaviors are criminal, and especially criminal if you have brown skin, estate -- as well as if you are indigenous to this country. so, we see african american and native american children far surpassing all other children in juvenile detention. as the governor mentioned, black students being pushed into school suspensions and other disciplinary measures are at an
alarming rate. but it is also important to recognize, that the kind of training that police officers and teachers and principals are receiving, does not actually cover a lot of this stuff to read which is why think it will be great to talk about it today. muchmilarly, thank you so for having me. it is a pleasure to be here. about about what the governor had to say, social sciences, and how often, for me as someone was thinking about often, you see a disconnect between what is politically expedient and palatable and what is actually proven to be effective. theof the things that governor mentioned that i do not want to slip under the radar is that they have improved or made easier and facilitated streamlined processes in which? >> families of young people who are incarcerated can visit them. because that is one of the most important things that can be
done to reduce recidivism, making sure that those family ties are maintained, because once you lose a sense of the community that you have on the outside, you become a lot more disillusioned and it becomes a lot more difficult to reintegrate yourself into the community outside. we know that, well i have worked predominantly with men and women serving life sentences, and that is what i am working on in my own research, in my dissertation, 95% of men and women who and up in jail or prison, are released. thinking whenstop he to start thinking that so much of this work has to be done not all the on the front end, but also on the back and. -- not only on the front end, end.lso on the back it is a policy, -- the governor
talked about initiatives that the state was taking in regards to drivers license which is an example and a microcosm of very silly policies. a policy which can seem silly but was implemented with the idea of keeping things more difficult for people to navigate through the system. for example, making sure that you have a car to pay your fees so that you do not have recidivism once again. another thing that i thought was really important, ice -- i taught english for a few years, taught 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds and now i work with , men who are serving life sentences, so i have seen the front and back of how these systems operate. and what happens when he spent time in prison, as anyone who is been in prison or worked with those who are incarcerated, will tell you, spending time in prison completely disabuse his you of every preconceived notions you have of one, what a prison is, and who the present it -- who the people in prison are. implicitly or explicitly, we often do not recognize the ways in which the arbitrary nature of
circumstance inevitably takes the the trajectory that that person ends up on. being outside of prison for me was a daily reminder about the arbitrary nature of the zip code i was born into, the family i was born into, but for those things, it could have easily been me on the other side of the bar. so i think that is really important, and important for any of us concerned with this issue, to recognize that we are not doing necessarily any favors to anyone, it is simply that we have to recognize that most of us in this room have been put into positions where the trajectory of our lives led us into a certain path. a different one than those who end up in prison are typically put on. >> thank you for having me.
i hope the brookings institute starts inviting more felons into its midst. the main reason is that we are not all that different from you. i was encouraged by a few things that the governor said. one is that criminal justice reform is vital. the system is an absolute mess. you cannot believe that america the land of liberty, the home of the free on one hand, and on the other hand realize that we incarcerate more of our citizens than almost any other country in the planet. it is counterproductive as well. a system where we send people to prison as a firsters wants, rather than a last resort. a system that when we send people to prison, the longer they serve, the less likely they are to get out and not commit new crimes. it does not really benefit anyone, including test stairs and crime victims. that is the big irony, our prisons are so awful, that people have a hard time recovering from prison. change. makes
i was 21 years old when i committed my crimes, and i have made pretty profound changes, now at the age of 42. so if a no people can change, why do we think that prisoners cannot? the answer is, because they are serving time in prison, if that is the answer, then that says more about our prison system, then those individuals. is room for improvement, from sentencing, from prison reform. it is not really easy for prisoners to be incarcerated for a decade and then released with very little job training. and expecting a miracle to happen. when we got out of prison in 2008, 2009, i had never been on the internet. i had never seen an ipad, and iphone. one of the places i applied to, they gave me a job, and one of the problems i had with them was that i had a reference letter from one of the best attorneys in the united states, and i
thought the reference letter could help me get a job. and they said, please send us a pdf. i did not know what that was. and you know what, no one else in the halfway house did either. that one little hiccup, that we all get past every single day, and not think about, can be life-changing for people getting out of prison. the recidivism rate in some places is as great asthree out g out of prison are going to go back within five years. that does not benefit any of us. there is a need for reform but that thing i was most encouraged by what the governor said was that this is not just simply good government, and what system do we want that is most beneficial to the most of us. it is justice to give people second chances. it is just as that once they serve their time we do not continue to punish that person
for the rest of their lives. if you follow the legal system 5000enough, there are over criminal rules and statutes they contain getting out of prison will go back to prison in five years. so there is basically a need for reform, to thing that i would encourage the most about what the governor said, is that it is not simply good government, what system do we want to be most beneficial to the most of us. talking about justice. it is justice to give people second chances. it is just that once they serve their time, we do not continue to punish the person for the rest of their lives. because, if you follow the legal system long enough, there are over 5000 federal rules and statutes which contain criminal penalties, there are a thousand different ways in the states. chances are that many of you have likely committed a felony and have no idea. we want to help people when they get out become productive citizens. as a matter of justice, to judge someone for a mistake that they had when they had a bad year, or a bad day, it is wrong. in order to do that, we have to make some serious changes. i was glad to hear that the governor thinks that this idea of second chances is not just good government, but that it is actually justice. >> thank you, sean. i have been on a lot of panels about criminal justice, and this is the only penalize the been on where everyone has been a teacher at some i mentioned point. having a conversation about some things we do not typically talk
about on a criminal justice base. when i reflect on the governor's speech, i think about what is a felon to read it is fascinating, in cities across the countries and states, the bar for what means a felon, is actually pretty low. $300 in illinois, $200 in virginia. i was in the cook county jail, the largest jail system in the country, and also angola is the largest landmass prison in the miles,, 20 eight square 18,000 acres, it used to be for plantations put together. -- it used to be 4 plantations were together, which is wild. when you see a prisoner in jail, it really changes the way you think about it. i would love to know how you think we got here. sean, i will go to you. what are the parts of criminal justice reform that we do not talk about enough as far as changing the conversation about them in public?
i believe people here think that we should do something. we already heard about in the news, but how do we round those out in public conversation. can we talk about how we got ofe, and how we can get out this situation? >> the governor alluded to how it started really with slavery and then reconstruction, and then the onslaught of jim crow which has played a huge role in shaping what our contemporary criminal justice system looks like. i think that is important, because it is something that we all intuitively understand and carry with us but part of what , we do not do, i mentioned some sort of dissonance and the conversation about what is feasible, and what is going to make a huge difference. one of the things we talk about is sort of the standard discourse around incarceration is around the idea of nonviolent drug offenders. right?
that the discourse that president obama was talking about, and the governor was talking about, and a lot of politicians, they often talk about the nonviolent drug offenders who are locked up, for selling marijuana on the street corner, or doing drugs that did not represent threats to anybody, and that is true. but the way that we talk about it suggests that if we simply took the nonviolent drug offenders out of prison, this mass incarceration would simply go away. that is sadly not the case. we know that only 15% of those in prison are convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. we think that that demarcation is something very clear but it is not. a lot of the men that i work with, are serving life sentences, and therefore violent offenses when they did not do anything that we would think of as ostensibly violent. having at be owning --
legal gun -- an illegal gun when .hey had been arrested in many states, that constitutes --a violent crime, would regardless of whether use violence or not. we talk about the war on drugs a lot, but we do not talk about prosecutors enough. we are starting to come about the mythology of the criminal justice system, that you see on law and order and many tv shows, people go to court, and there is a jury,, that is not the way that these things happen. 95% of cases end with a plea bargain. the discretion was taken away from the judges and given to prosecutors. after mandatory minimums were imposed, the prosecutors were given a lot of the power. goodsibly, that would be a
thing, because prosecutors are democratically elected, and thus one intuitively believes that there is more transparency, and that in doing something wrong, somebody can best we can just not reelect them the next time. but the reality is that the role , of the prosecutor, means that the same level of transparency does not exist in a prosecutorial capacity, as it did before. so, we do not really know a lot about what prosecutors are doing in the same way that we would know about city council members. because of the nature of the position, many of those things are in the dark. also, part of what we have to do is recognize that prosecutors have a wide range of discretionary power that is often used to put people are way for much longer than they need to be. an important statistic to think about is that by 2030, one third of our prisoners will be over the age of 55 years old. so when we talk about the sort
, of relationship between the economics of the issue and the morality of this issue, it is not simply that we are putting people in prison long after all social science demonstrates that they are less and less likely to commit a crime. all of the data suggests that after a certain age, after 35 years old the likelihood of you , committing a crime goes down in a dramatic manner. so, when we are not addressing that, you have all of the health care costs that are going to be associated with this increasingly aging population. you have the cost of staffing, and in more prisons, all of that to say that the reason we are here, is not simply because of nonviolent drug offenders. it is not simply because of the war on drugs, but it is because we move from the system in which mostly ortion stood existed mostly in the hands of judges and juries and moved
almost singularly to prosecutors, in a way that often exists in the dark. thank you. areas thate six big need reform. front to the back end. the first is policing. there are issues in policing that have come to the forefront in recent years with artisan, ferguson, baltimore, chicago and all of these other cities. we have to re-examine what clint just said about having way too many criminal laws in this country. that criminal law represented something that all of society could agree on as wrong. or 8000 you have 7000 things that are considered wrong and criminalized, what it does when you make everything illegal, you give all of the power to the prosecutor. and what happens is that legislatures, state legislatures or congress, when they pass
these laws, they write them very broadly. basically, what they write is the law, but it is not actually the law. whatever the assistant u.s. attorney or the state prosecutor says it is. there are some of the laws that we do not enforce. that is one area. then, you have the criminal process area. i would say the biggest need there is representation of indigent defendants. we have all these wonderful procedural protections in the bill of rights, like miranda trial, a right to a jury a right to legal searches and seizures. but if you do not have a lawyer, a good lawyer who can weaponize those rights, apply them to the criminal justice system, then none of those matter. we have a public defender who has 300 cases per year, no one can do a good job doing that. so indigent representation is probably our biggest issue there. then you move next to prison reform.
the united states in cross race people for far longer and at a greater rate than other countries. that is definitely an issue. reform,alk about prison the first thing i tell people, as if he wants to reform people, do not give them a long sentence to begin with. it is very difficult for a prisoner to get up every day, seize the day, and sort of improve themselves when you are facing a 20 year sentence. it is even harder when you are 20 years old at the time. i remember when i was looking at being incarcerated for 11 years. i thought about when i was going to get out, i was good to be in -- i was about to be in my 30's, and i was saying i am going to be so old! [laughter] that is how a 20-year-old thinks. it is hard to get people into that mindset of rehabilitation when the light at at the end of the tunnel is so far off. there are so few prison systems in the world that are worse than
ours. i saw more drugs in federal prison than i ever saw out. there were eight guards in that it at the federal prison where i was, and i saw things that do not make any sense as a rational matter. we had a really great welding program for prison residents, and when i got there, people were getting hired and making $25 per hour as soon as they got out. for some of getting out of prison, that is the gold standard. then, a new warden came in and decided well, i can get more money if i change the program. so, he took the welding program out, and he started a business management associate degree. because everyone knows that people want to hire felons to manage their businesses when they get out! [laughter] to reform prison. the last thing is reentry. there was nothing at the prison
that i was at which prepared me for reentry, despite the fact that i had done almost 11 years. simple things like getting a drivers license, why are we not explaining to people coming out of prison, how to do that? to the halfway house, i was told that i could not leave until i got a job, and i could not get a job until i had a bank account. when i tried to get a bank account, the credit agencies had listed me as deceased, so it took me weeks, and i had to hire lawyers to cause a halfway house did not help me, to get that fixed! get a a bank account, to job, to get on with my life! these small hurdles, there are many sorts of small hurdles up there that can trip people up. if you see a door closed every time you open it, eventually people revert back to what they did before, and that is why our recidivism rate is so high.
every successful reentry story have ever seen, almost all of them involved community. people coming out of prison and appraising whether it was a church -- and embracing the church, a nonprofit, something. when you have a community around you, you do not want to commit new crimes, you do not want to let anyone down. but the current system puts people in isolation, making it very difficult for them to continue ties. sure thaty making juveniles are closer to their parents is very important. the same thing for adults who have children, why do we not want them to have -- to see their kids often, when they are incarcerated. that is why our outcomes are so bad. as you can see, it is pretty daunting, we need to reform basically from start to finish. >> thank you, sean. >> i think what was so important
about his point is the recognition that there are multiple systems complicit in this outcome. it is not just about prison, not just about police, prosecutors or defenders, it is about all of it. to make it more daunting, i notd add one to your list, just thinking about the school to prison pipeline, but the cradle to prison pipeline, really. i see it in four steps. there are children who are essentially born into this culture. verily, 12,000 pregnant women in prison every year in this country. there are 28 states that have no laws disallowing what is called shackling during birth, so the mothers are actually shackled while giving birth. for any woman who is given birth here, you cannot imagine -- you can imagine how much that is difficult for the mother, not being able to move comfortably when you are giving birth.
it also makes it more difficult for the doctors to deliver the baby. this culture, these children are born into communities which have been completely destroyed by mass incarceration, the war on drugs, etc.. into this idea, you start to internalize that people that look like you, the people in your zip code, your neighborhood, are inherently somehow more criminals than the folks that you see on tv. so you are born into this culture. then you are disciplined as soon as you get to school. i remember turning our teachers in st. louis, and i want to a school where someone else was in charge. one of my staff members was there to observe a teacher and she called me and said i need you to come down here immediately. i came down to find a seven-year-old handcuffed to a chair. i don't know what a seven-year-old could have possibly done that bad that they could be handcuffed to a chair, but this certainly that i was told certainly did not meet the bar for that kind of restriction.
that this recognize culture of education in this country is one of control, and not empowerment reared controlling your body, controlling the way you move, how much you move, unfortunately in makes and that a seven-year-old is handcuffed to a chair, if people feel that they cannot control him. having conversations, about that, that is a solution. i talked to someone yesterday whose mother pulled her son out of school, within a week of the school year starting. she said that her son kept coming home saying, i can assist the way they want me to sit, for 45 minutes, mommy. so, this idea that restriction is better than empowerment, it is deeply problematic for children. culturecoming from a that says, somehow the way that people like you behave is criminal, and then i come to an institution that tells me the same thing, the same message. i am continuously internalizing
this idea. the government talks about a criminal justice -- the governor talked about a criminal justice revolution. here is what is really interesting, and amanda ripley has done a really important reporting on this. there are 22 states that have laws against what is called "disturbance." disturbance in schools. they are criminalizing normal childhood behavior. we have all been disturbed, we are all been disturbances when we were in school at children. i was at a multiple intelligences private school, and because i was creative, my disturbance was seen at something to talk about
with my mother during eta conferences. that lot of these videos we have seen gone viral, the thing that happened in school, with officer storming kids and kids getting shackled, and stuff like that, it happened behind the scenes -- what happened
behind-the-scenes, is that the person who took the video, the student, was admonished for a disturbance. and in 22 states, that was actually a criminal offense. they saw criminal charges, simply for telling the truth. asyou start seeing this early as elementary school, then you can bet that the criminal justice revolution that we need, is not going to come. lastly, at the federal level, especially now, we are not seeing any protections for it. i seedeeply worried when what is happening at the department of education, around the office of civil rights, how many complaints have been dismissed outright, just in the last few weeks. if there was no place to take these complaints, if there was no one
who actually going to do something about this, then we end up in the exact off -- the exact system shown that you described. we have created a culture for too many people, that gives them the idea that this is normal, that this is the way that things have to be.
the governor talked about the danger of convention, and how we can get caught up in a cycle, but for so long, we have done this this way, and it is actually dangerous to agents. we will not get the criminal justice revolution that we need until we start protecting them and empowering them. >> i actually saw some of that in prison. when i got to the federal reason, -- i tell this story a lot, because it does because it is emblematic of the system as a whole. group of african-american men who called themselves neighbors. neighbors because they were right next to each other, but also because the feds had come into their neighborhood, in milwaukee and basically got them on this huge cracks conspiracy, and give them 20-year sentences. there were about 10 of them, and when i got to prison, they were about halfway to their sense. when i was -- halfway through their sentences. when i was getting ready to come
home, they were about -- they were also getting ready. but they were not as excited. there sounds had started coming into prison as well. there is always a cycle of people coming in and out of risen, and we have to do something to break that cycle, because it is devastating. it devastates families and communities. build the reality is, to on his point, milwaukee is the most segregated city and the united states. cannot disentangle the realities of housing discrimination, the decades and decades of public policy and social engineering that made it so that certain communities were prioritized and others where do you prioritize regarding access to the social bedrock upon which intergenerational wealth and health are founded upon. from the trajectory that puts someone on on a trajectory to ed up in prison.
it is important that we are thinking about this on the front end while people are imprisoned and on the backend. education, people look at a school and will say the people are not doing this. the students are not doing this. and prison we fall into the same trap. happenings is what is at this prison and this is the recidivism rate. we are not talking about how prism the best prison fits into his larger ecosystem. it is essential that we are having this conversation. these conversations alongside one another rather than separate. >> had we get out of this mess. we talk about what the problem is. what do we actually do. the idea that is not just a nonviolence. so much of the conversation is about the nonviolent population,
we could free all of them and we still have a really big problem in a way that people do not talk about. we have the question of what is violent. you just being around the crime -- there is this question, if you is,the public what a felon people say it is someone who killed 35 people and blew up a building. it is because of a painted version of whatever crime looks like. in places like virginia and chicago. how do we help people think .bout fundamental issues it struck me how, in the media and in the public we have normalized long sentences. a 10 year sentence on lawn order is normal. that is a long time. we think of the physical lack of and the lack of something substantive that is happening.
the people we do not talk about in public, how not every place has a public defender. on tv everyone gets a public defender. that do notaces have public defender systems at all, we do not talk about that. it is random private attorneys that are giving people advice, but not in a coordinated way that makes sense. that is sort of wild. the third would be this focus on literacy. we think about what we doing on the front and with our kids. baltimore, 30% of adults cannot functionally read. what do we need to create opportunity for people who can't read. they literally have a captive audience, they are not going anywhere. you can run a literacy program for every juvenile defender -- offender. the people that staff most of our prisons and jails are social
workers, they are not educators. how do we actually have a real about literacy work or core skill development only think about prisons and jails. moment, jails are before you a been convicted, and prisons are for after you've been convicted. how do we get out of this? what are the biggest levers, where should the energy be that we should focus on. when people ask you what can i do, what is your response? >> i think about that question a lot. i want to do work where i feel like i can make an impact. i feel tell you that like i make an impact every time i go to capitol hill. i am back from capitol hill --
i think the first thing we need to do is -- >> i think a lot of people feel that way. >> we have had a lot more talks and discussions on criminal justice reform in the past five years and we have since i've been alive. one thing we forget is that we have not convinced everybody. there are people, my family who think that people who go to prisons are the evil ones. and you get to prison realize no, these are just normal people. i don't think we have convince people yet. most people in america that we need change. that is one area that we need to do. fromed to get more people prison out to become leaders,
out in the community to tell people i committed a violent crime but i am not a violent person. it turns out, that most of the social science is the big area of reform. we know so much more about how humans behave and behavioral science has made huge gains. you don't see any of that filter into our criminal justice practices. we know that people will age of crime in their 30's and 40's. yet, we tend to lock up people for 20 or 30 years at a time. any when they are not longer a danger to society. i think we need to educate average americans about what the criminal justice system is like. that, as places to do there are lots of nonprofits and advocacy groups. i'm involved with families against mandatory minimums. work with the aclu national prison project on litigation, to the prison fellowship which is the largest
prison ministry in the world. there are lots of places to fit in. we have to convince americans that there is a problem. we need one state to jump in and say that they are going to redo everything. we are not going to lock up everyone, we are going to use prison as a last resort. we are going to change how we treat prisoners. statek if we have one that does that successfully, that will be the big difference maker. now, we are just making progress at the margins. with a population of 2.2 million people, we need a changes. -- we need big changes. we need to convince one jurisdiction to make changes. i think if one does, the outcomes will be so much better that other states will want to follow it --
money that is spent can be spent in better places than locking people up. >> we will be taking questions from the crowd, so think about your question. , locking people up is an easy solution for policymakers. how do we actually dealing with on the front end? even if it does deal with the decrease in crimes -- mess is easy when my kids up to put them in their room and say you are grounded or you are in trouble. it is much more difficult to sit down with them and address the root problem of the misbehavior. that is exactly what we do with the criminal justice system. that is exactly why it doesn't work. >> thinking about a couple things. , part of harken back what we have to do is push ourselves away from the idea
that nine violent drug offenders and releasing nonviolent drug offenders will stop mass incarceration. the statistics we often hear is that we have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the criminal population. all nonviolent drug offenders, there would still be 1.7 million people in our risen system. -- prison system. i want to be clear that, those people should not be in prison. i am not saying we should not focus on that. often times we are focusing on that at the expense of the larger conversation and the real conversation that has to happen. i give the governor a lot of credit, but it is important to know that he did not name people in the speech word violent offenders. that is because it is a lot more politically difficult to navigate that terrain because of the connotations associated with the idea of what people think of
when they think of felons. they think everybody is a murderer or rapists. we have to consider -- maybe someone -- one of the men i worked with rob day mcdonald's when he was 17. he shot the cashier, he is currently 62 years old. should this person, who took someone's life when he was 17 years old, clearly that is not ok and there should be some sort of justice for that, should that person spend less -- rest of their life in prison with no opportunity to get out. he is serving life with no possibility of parole. these are difficult questions to grapple with. when i was first teaching in prison, i did not ask any questions about why the men i was teaching were in there. i was scared that if i found out
it would change the way i thought about them. my second year, i knew what everybody in the room had done. reading poemstime with men who are murderers. we have to -- when i was working with them i did not see murderers. evil cannot singularly defined by the worst thing they've ever done. -- people cannot be singularly defined by the worst thing they have ever done. i think that is a really important thing to address. a lot of people at home are watching online or on c-span are business owners or work with organizations, or know people that are business owners that work with organizations, people are wondering what can i do? it is important to count -- account for the ways that small
non-malevolent decisions continue to shape and perpetuate the chances that formerly incarcerated people have of getting jobs. if you are the owner of a toy store, and somebody comes in for an interview or turned in an application and you see that they were convicted of a felony, you have been trained that this is something you should swipe aside. for you, it might just be good business or you might just be protecting your business, family, coworkers. i think those are the moments where is important to step back and check yourself, ask if this isision that you are making holistic based on everything you know about this person and what they offer as a future employee of my business, or am i making this decision in a way that is predicated upon this person being formally incarcerated --
incarcerated. it has been embedded in all of us to shape these business decisions. these are small decisions that many people make that end up contributing to recidivism rates. >> i like numbers. the first is to properly treat. as a resident woman on a lot of criminal justice panels, it is important to talk about women who were incarcerated, because it often goes undiscussed. of women who are incarcerated have experienced a traumatic event areas a tremendous event means they were -- dramatic event. event means they suffered from substance abuse, or have experienced or suffered from some sort of under --
mental illness. this is what i mean when i talk about the systems being conflicted. now we need to have a conversation about health care. when we don't properly treat prison, -- women a end up in the circumstances. -- that they end up in these circumstances. arenow that white women much more likely to be -- received treatment when they are discovered to have these things, and women of color are more likely to be criminalized. think a lot of people are surprised by the sheer volume of incarcerated women which was preventable had they been treated on the front end. the second is to properly train folks. when i was on president obama's policing task force. we talked a lot about training. if we are going to live in a
world without police, i think we have to have a broader conversation about it policing as it is now is going to continue. books have to be trained properly --folks have to be trained properly. we made sure that when we are talking about training we were not just talking about detox and officers. we're talking what teachers, school resource officers, and parents who don't understand what discipline looks like in a school and need to understand what is right. the kind of training that those folks are retrieving best receiving is not culturally relevant -- receiving is not culturally relevant. especially when we think about how kids of color, and girls in color -- of color in specifically --
suddenly the things that they do are childlike for everyone else are somehow much more punishable for those kids. the last thing is to properly humanize them. human,don't see them as that is the thing we have to grapple with. your family didn't discover that to they came to visit you r ight? i have family members that are and i still see them as valuable irrespective of this thing they did. i am fighting a lot of folks that don't see you that way. looking at folks who are in the circumstances as fully human, then we are not going to get me where. think one ofint, i
the things that contributes to extent toon is the which -- does a lot three calibrate the way the you understand these institutions. there are a married of organizations who do work around -- eight myriad of organizations who do work around reentry. a lot of prisons and jails are attempting to build robust volunteer programs. , if youd be surprised are yoga instructor, you teach poetry, or you love to cook, give anydesperate to
sort of programming that they can. especially free programming to the people in prison. if you have some time and you are thinking about what you can do, even if you can only go once a year, it really makes a difference for you and your to advocate on behalf of the incarcerated if you are in proximity of those you are talking about. >> proximity in a special way you are offering a service and not enough cultural tourist. -- being a cultural tourist. >> i have been to a lot of prisons and take a lot of people to prisons. that this isay changed them when they came at the prison. for prisoners, having volunteers come in and try to keep you tethered to the real world and not prison, which is important to rehabilitation, the people that do best are the ones that are thinking about the day they come home, not what is going on
in the prison. you can all go volunteer at any thatn and i would tell you once you do, you will want to go back more and more. you will want to invite other people. we need armies of volunteers to go in. if the government is not going to provide training on how to get a drivers license, then we should. i think most of the solutions are going to come not necessarily from government from businesses and individuals. my wife drove me to 30 job interviews in 2008, the height of the recession. nobody was finding work, much less a guy who got out of prison. she was a resource to me that other people did not have. everybody thinks that iowa pick yourself up by the bootstraps story, i and the opposite of
that. i had resources and people that poured grace into my life. i would like to tell you it is different, but it is not. it is really that simple. >> one of the things that we is thealk about a lot part the wardens have. you would be shocked, from prison to prison, the people who -- the prisons i was at one place for the -- wheres religious the warden was religious. some things should not be at the discretion of the random warden who is there. >> my name is elliott, i want to
thank the panel for a good conversation. i have two questions. i would like to ask if anyone saw the piece on 60 minutes last night on the reforms in the cook county prison in illinois. ? like to ask about the statement that was on the panel that milwaukee is the most segregated community in the united states. i was married in milwaukee in 1972. i would like to hear there is any more evidence on that point. >> there is a great book by matthew desmond that just won a .ulitzer his research outlines the way that immunity segregation contributes to high homelessness and eviction rates that disproportionately affect people of color, specifically women of color.
he often talks about how mass incarceration is a system that deeply impacts black men and an issue thats impacts black women in a disproportionate way. if you google it, it came to the , the police filings two years ago, there were a lot of articles about it. housing,ot a panel on it is essential to understand the ways in which the history of redlining and how segregation and zoning policies, but historically and contemporarily am a shape the dynamics that the communities look like. milwaukee is a case study in the way that a community has been constructed through systems of redlining. through systems of certain
people being afforded loans to buy houses in certain communities, real estate companies refusing to give -- to sell houses to immigrants or black people or brown people. community,gregated a the more stratified and isolated resources become. the more stratified and isolated resources become, the more desperate the circumstances of the people in those communities. the rational decisions that people make are in response to deeply irrational and insidious circumstances. i am going to the cook county jail tomorrow to meet with the sheriff. i know that they did just have the 60 minutes piece. order willjudge's effectively -- that will effectively end money mail, that
will be interesting. the cook county jail saw a big decrease from 18,000 to 10,000. arrests and chicago have dropped , which is good for people who are not been arrested. that i see a hand back there? -- did i see a hand back there? in the back. thank you. thank you for this awesome event. i think that one of the things we have to look at is the , we arethat prevails guilty until we are proven innocent, not the other way around. i hear the frustration of going to capitol hill far too many
times and coming back with nothing. the specific case i want to talk iut is kalise broader, don't know how you think we can ever avoid having a situation like that. his only crime was he happens to be a poor black teenager who couldn't raise bail. in the end, he had done nothing wrong. if you could speak to that for a minute. just wrote down his name because i didn't want to go unspoken. i had the unique honor to posthumously honor him. documentary on him which is required viewing if you are interested in this topic. he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack.
he was jailed at rikers island , not even having been convicted of anything. he suffered an immense of abuses, had a hard time with reentry, and took his life -- took his own life. be a greatstory to hero of this movement. without his willingness to tell his story, this would have gone unseen. some quick solutions, like closing places like rikers island, that are necessary in recognizing the rikers that are in every state in this country. i think you speak to something more insidious. that is why we spend a lot more time on racial bias issues, on properly disciplining police on
the ways in was -- in which police unions protect people from being disciplined and keep people on the force which should not be on the force. allow for many cases like broader's to exist. it has to be a multi-approach -- jail,on the nature of especially juvenile detention facilities. as you are developing as a young person, the kind of futile mentality that exists in a lot of juvenile detention centers as a means of survival against corrupt guards can completely destroy the rest of your life. his case was so tragic, but there are a lot of cases like him -- his. we have to come from every angle at that thing. his story also
demonstrate that there is far -- too low a bar for people who are becoming correctional officers. there is a great piece that was in mother jones last year, and which he went undercover as a correctional officer. before he went undercover he was a well-known reporter. he went undercover and talked about how easy it was for other people that he worked with, who should not of been in the position of power and authority , who simply slid under the radar. or the ways in which there was very little accountability in the way that they operated or bestowed their authority upon the prison population. i think that is also something to consider.
power isan inherent stowed upon those who are correctional officers in prisons and jails throughout the country area we do not often -- throughout the country. we do not often think about what it takes to get into that position. you look at the spike tv documentary, you see the footage on how officers were treating kalief. that is a microcosm of something that doesn't does not happen -- get caught on camera across our country. how much power and accountability is being afforded to those individuals. be clear, for people who don't know his story well. the correctional officers in rikers started a -- smuggle in the things that they wanted to and make the money.
theasn't the kid facet of system, it was the correctional officers. if kids didn't get with the program, they were punished. the correctional officers came up with that. >> people talk about bail reform and becomes the theoretical -- this theoretical thing we can't do. it is a real thing that can happen. we can close rikers. is the only jail in new york city, which is why everyone goes there now. the people leading the close rikers campaign, closing it will require the creation of a jail in every borrow. sometimes we find ourselves with some unlikely foes. correctional officers are people of color, their women, they are people who are fighting against closing prisons because they
would be out of a job. out how tofigure make this work. we have time for one last question. >> thank you. i am a 35 year veteran of the criminal justice system. , am a criminal defense lawyer and 20 defense best 20 years a trial defense judge. -- 20 year trial judge. i had the pleasure of riding on , he said there is one of those liberal judges that just got on. i said if there any more fascists on board, please push lobby for me and we will go to lunch. the problem is so daunting, and the tasks for reformers are so .ast and difficult
maybe a simpler solution would be to declare the system bankrupt, it into a bankruptcy type proceeding, chapter 11 maybe, and charge our policymakers on the task of and coming uplate with a new system. what would it look like? where would it start, where would it end? and everything in between. is thatlem in my view most state and federal lawmakers are not going to make those changes and decisions. follow the money. until we take big money out of ande and federal elections publicly financed those willions, i think that
give you a different kind of legislator more interested in pursuing the public interest. d.c has a chance to adopt fair election laws that include public funding, i would hope that you contact your councilperson and the mayor's fence, she is on the give it a try. be surprised how different kinds of lawmakers get into making policy. bankruptcy may be a solution. chapter 11 reorganization may be a model. bankruptcy. i was thinking about that.
the thing we haven't said is, what is a world without jail? does it lookwhat like when you make a mistake, is there a different pathway -- what does it look like when you make a mistake, is there a different pathway? say, part oft to what you were alluding to is a certain conception of prison abolition. that isa conversation not often at the center, but i think it is important. there are generally does go to understand prison abolition. one is that there should be no prison or jail at all. the other is a sort of conceptual recalibration of what prisons and jails are. prisons and jails as they
currently exist and operate should not exist. that is kind of similar to what i heard you saying. we don't have enough time to litigate whether prison abolition is a helpful or legitimate means of pursuing criminal justice revolution, but i think it should be at some point. 1850,ant to say, back in if you are a slave abolitionist people would look like -- look at you like you were crazy. this is something that is universally celebrated now. he is out here somewhere. if you go back and read the literature at that time, a lot of people thought that abolitionists were these crazy individuals. they thought this is ridiculous,
how could you say that all the slave should be let go. to make mass incarceration and antebellum slavery analogous. only look back at how individuals were advocating for what were seen as radically irresponsible public policy initiatives, then we look back and say those folks were ahead of their time. i think sometimes, people who are noton abolitionists invited and are not part of the conversation because people say they are not serious or this is ridiculous. it is worth considering to understand the historical context and presence that exists around questions of abolition and questions of creating a blank slate. these things have been done before, i want to make sure
certain people are not left out of the conversation just because we think that there ideas are not politically feasible. there is a big opportunity for reform with behavioral science and technology. there are so many ways to handle criminal justice rather than jails and prisons. ,here are so many cheaper ways so many more effective ways. we really need to reevaluate everything. systems we have now, we know the outcomes are horrible. anywhere from 66% to 75% are going to go back within five years. if you treat someone like an animal and tell them they are worthless and tell them that they are going to reoffend from the time they are arrested through their incarceration and their probation officer will often times act as if it it is
only a matter of time until you go back. if you get that long enough, it is only a matter of time until you believe it eri. what we are currently doing is not working. >> your question? >> it is a short comment. thank you very much, sean you stole my point. but also aan planner technologist, i think that technology can play a huge role to support behavioral scientist and neuroscience -- behavioral science and neuroscience. if you can write algorithms for watson to look into the incarcerated population, but also in the incarcerateors, because of the dynamic between the two of them.
trying to find the hidden resources of this population. that 1.7bly discovered million would be a lot less after looking into using technology to get new insight into this. , my wifelso discover watches america's got talent, why not incarcerated america's got talent? >> piper who wrote or just the new black -- piper who wrote "orange is the new black. ." >> to your point about the at the i was amazed waste of talent in prison. there were some people that had circumstances been different, or
had they gotten treatment, they would not have been sitting in prison. they would be out as artists, , these arectors people that are no different than you. they just got caught making mistakes, many of them when they were young. i get that a lot. judges,ad federal federal prosecutors, police, fbi agents come up to me and say, if i gotten caught for some of the things i've done in my 20's i wouldn't be here either. we as a society seem to be awfully judgment till and we shouldn't be upset about crime and weental shouldn't be upset about crime. most of us have done things we regret from our 20's. just quickly i want to say
something about sean's point. the time i spent working in prison i encountered some people who were incredibly talented and smart. you work with folks who know the entire canon of western philosophy. i was talking about ice cream and you brought up chuck cousteau.jacques it is important to not make a litmus test on whether someone deserves to be imprisoned or not. there are people who struggle with literacy and people who , andmental disabilities people who are not quoting the western canon. to focus on both of those things at once.
there are people with brilliant town's are being wasted, and people who would not contribute in that sort of way to the community, but we have to recognize that there is still value in that. one value is not predicated or dependent on whether or not they are the next picasso or wall street banker. it is important to hold both of those at once. i have been interested in decision theory, i see a lot of what you are saying has a lot of implications for a very broad discussion. to your comment about behavioral sciences and technology as a means of addressing some of the issues you have raised. i have been attending a series on the drawbacks of the uses of technology in identifying
, as well as following the replication crises that were00 studies used for replication purposes. i was wondering whether you would have some caution about the uses of findings and behavioral sciences, because there is a broader problem of the statistics that are used towards these findings. i am worried because, even in the neurosciences, the findings are very sketchy and many findings are false actually. i just wanted to know, what exactly you are driving there ? >> you are talking more about
predicting behavior of individual defendants using technology. that is not something i have thought about a great deal, it troubles me that judges and prosecutors are using that. the behavioral science i'm talking about is more basic than that. we know young men from 18-25 are the primary causes of violent crimes. the statistics are undeniable. we also note that behavioral science can deter someone. thatear from jeff sessions we need long sentences to deter people. i will sentence you to a long sentence because then it will ditch her everyone else. deterrence only works if you know about it. but stop let the people that commit crimes, drug addiction,
-- let's talk about the people that commit crimes, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and mental illness. these are not the people who weigh out the consequences of a long sentence. that a person who has serious mental illness and finds drugs on the corner will think about what the punishment will be before they commit the crime. they will have to find the federal statute to determine the maximum and minimum punishment. will have to go through a guideline manual that judges misapply in court. the chances that that happen are ludicrous. would think that everyone could get on board with, we want more policeman catching people doing crimes because that deters people, and we want less incarceration because people
don't know the punishment they are going to face. in 11 years, i didn't meet one person who knew that they were going to fake -- who knew what punishment they were going to face are committing a federal crime. our criminal justice policies are in opposition to that, we wonder why they don't work so well. >> it is important to remember -- a hundred years ago they were saying that black people were born to be criminals. there is predictive data that was a real problem. she brought up an interesting example. if new york city had done what d.c. had done by getting rid of bail, they would have replaced it with risk assessment, and kalief would still be in jail.
when they ask, do you live in a high crime neighborhood? that is a lot of people. those things are real problems. prison, aing them in do collect a tonic data that we are not using for anything. when i think about the amount of data that prisons collect from .he intake process whatever attributes you have you probably had before you are booked. if we figure out how to intervene earlier in these cases . there are shockingly little data about bail. we can't look at how a judge makes decisions around bail, it is really hard to find the data. what did the defense attorney asked for, what are the prosecutor asked for -- what did
the prosecutor aske for? the last question is back there. this is the real last question. >> thank you for this panel. i write for high ride magazine, i wonder if you could speak to the relationship between higher ed and criminal justice reform. stepsf the concrete colleges and universities can take to contribute to reform. >> i deal with that issue a lot. the big asks, what was thing when you got out that made a difference? post secondary education is a great equalizer. gets out, ther more education he receives, the better off he will be. it is more important for
prisoners is going into universities is a good community for them to get back on their feet. it is very supportive. i encourage a lot of universities to think more about their admissions process. i am talking about people with felony convictions that graduated from law school, we need more people with that perspective. i worked with this place in seattle. seattle's recidivism rate was 55%. the people who went through this program, the program got donations and distributed it to people coming out of prison. from bus tickets to college funds. the recidivism rate with that program was 2%.
post secondary education is a .reat equalizer for prisoners it gives them legitimacy in the eyes of the public. it is a great community for them to be involved with. you have teachers that really go to bat for you, and the last thing you want to do is commit a new crime and let them down. that is the way forward for a lot of people. the problem is we need the resources and we need universities to step up to the plate and admit more people. there are places that are doing that, the university of does not ask questions about your criminal history. that is the way forward for a lot of people. , in a practical sense, partnerships with alternative k-12 programs.
a set ofof mine ran alternative schools for young women. she had come from a more traditional k-12 background. she was not prepared for how many young women have the will to stay. engaging in traditional education was not an option for them. if i can't earn money in the traditional ways, the way is -- the idea is to go back and earn way -- earn money in a way that is not good for me. she recognized that she needed to give those young women he opportunity to be able to work and go to school and i way that happened much more rapidly -- in a way that happened much more rapidly. it was hard for her to find institutions of higher education
that were willing to put in the and talentthe time to actualize that type of partnership. that is what our young folks needed. they needed to get college credits, advanced training, and do that simultaneously with working a job. turning those into job opportunities for them and their family. practical partnerships are things we need to see more of. massachusetts i was working with the boston university prison project. that is one of the few remaining ba andities that offer a associate degree to those who are incarcerated. there were a lot more programs that were doing that before the 1994 crime reform. is,idea that was propagated why should these felons and
convicts have access to college, we should not be paying for them .o go to school despite all the evidence that demonstrated that education was contributorsggest to not ending up back in prison. you are 13% more likely to get a job after -- it would be a lot higher if there was not such profound job discrimination in the workforce. difficult to overstate the extent to which the 94 crime bill decimated the entire landscape of education. so many of the universities that were putting professors in these they didons claimed not have the resources anymore. there were not the same to operate in
prisons, so there were less opportunities for prisoners to have access to college classes. ,art of what has to happen obama towards the end of his second term has started a program around teaching in prisons that we are unlikely to see continued. that whenthings ,eople are considering voting we talked about small examples of people being in office -- i think people don't consider the totality of the landscape of executive power that exists when we are thinking about who to vote for. in prisons that is something that is felt very deeply.
especially people who have been in there for a while, a can tell you what prisons felt like before and how it feels like a very different atmosphere. >> before we go. a lot of people have talked box. banned th the the latest research complicates that. >> this is the research that has come out in the last three years. this is not specific to schools, i think it is different for college admittance. wasxd th teh about criminals not -- employers not being able to access your criminal records. >> checking whether or not you been convicted of a felony. it is sort of understood that it
is a bad thing, this is not helpful to those who were formerly incarcerated. if you have to remind people that you are once in prison, the state is continuing to punish you after you have been out. i think this is generally understood as something we should try to move away from. some of the research that has been done has suggested that in place where the box is removed, employers will simply assume theythe black men, since can't tell whether someone was theylly incarcerated, would assume that the black men coming to apply for jobs were formally incarcerated. to make athey had judgment call, they had to figure out if someone was a former felon. they wouldthan not,
make that decision at a higher rate than they were previously. the would happen is that likelihood of people who were formerly incarcerated getting a job once the box was removed had gone up a bit. the opportunities for black men who weren't incarcerated went down. men wereo that black generally less likely to get jobs than before the box was banned. there are not a lot of neat, easy solutions to this work. i am not saying that we should completely forget about ban the box. there is more social science research that needs to be done across multiple contacts. this study, gaetz what that means.
-- complicates what that means. a lot of this is going to be happening in the private, individual decisions that people make every day with their small businesses, organizations, corporations. the box will only go so far to remove bias. >> i don't think the box would have helped me. think about it, i don't check the box, but when it comes resume time there is a 10 year gap on mine. i can only explain that by telling them what happened. i think ban the box is important, that i think we pat ourselves on the back too quickly after we pass a bill. instead we should be convincing businesses that we want them to affirmatively highere people with felony convictions, i think we would have more
successful outcomes. >> sean, click, britney, thank you so much for being on the panel. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are going to be a juror forever, i need to give you tools that are going to help you for the rest of your life. eastern, high8:00 school teachers discuss how current events affect their lessons on history, politics, and government. component, this is a chance for them to learn about their story. their story does not begin with airborne, their story begins of people who came long before them
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