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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  January 9, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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>> this is aljazeera america live from new york city. and i'm tony harris with a look at the top stories. president obama has unveiled the promise zones, aimed at eliminating poverty and creating jaws. eastern kentucky and the choctaw nation of oklahoma are the first five areas, and 20 areas will be chosen by 2013. new jersey governor, chris christie, has fired one of his top staffer s. after she leaked a plan to start a traffic jam near the george washington bridge. >> i had a tight group of people that i trust implicitly.
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and i had no reason to believe this they weren't telling me the truth. it's heartbreaking to me that i wouldn't told the truth. i'm a very loyal guy, and i expect loyalty in return. >> president obama met today with lawmakers to discuss his review of the national security agency. it's anticipated there will be restrictions on how the nsa collects information. and meanwhile, asked to speak before a parliament committee, looking into u.s. practices. inside story is next. >> striking numbers of black, white and latino men are arrested by the time they're 23, how does that shape their lives, and how does that affect a
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country where crime has been dropping steadily for decades. that's inside story. >> hello, i'm ray soares. a group of scholars are getting taken. they show that half of black men are arrested. and latino men at 44%. they raise provocative questions. do the large number of men reflect the rising law enforcement at schools? if crime has been dropping for a generation, why are are those numbers so high in the first place? or has crime been dropping so
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much because young men have gotten so much attention from the criminal justice system in and after years of it a tough attitude on even minor crime, young men are finding it tough to get around. a study has a striking phenomenon in the lives of young americans. a surprising number of young men, regardless of their race, have been arrested by law enforcement at least once before they reach age 23. the journal, crime and delinquency, has published a study done by justice professors. it found that 49% of black men have experienced an arrest. 44% of hispanic men, and it 44% of white men by age 23. the study is an analysis of government data, which track 9,000 teenagers and young adults over ten years, starting in 1997. the study focused on arrest
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histories, ranging from underaged drinking to violent crimes, but it excluded minor traffic of violations. the analysis also looked at young women. and found that though the arrest percentages differed from young men in title, was strikingly reversed from racial total in young men. by 23, 20% of white women had been arrested. 18% for hispanic women, and 16% for black females. citing other research, arrested youth are not only more likely to experience immediate negative consequences, such as contact with the justice system, school failure and drop out and family difficulties, but these problems are likely to long reverberate down the life course in arrests, job stability, low relationship
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troubles, and long term health problems, including premature death. according to the fbi, violent crime arrests have declined over the last two years, and the arrests of juveniles declined by 10% from 2011 to 2012. for the rest of the program, we'll talk about what those high rates of arrest mean for young americans as they enter their adult years. joining us from albany, shawn bushway, one the leading authors of the study, hubert williams, former police director in newark, new jersey, law enforcement veteran and served as the president of the foundation. from new york, parker, the director of the justice program of the american civil liberties union. professor bushway, let me start with you, be what provoked you
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to look at this particular set of data? >> well, there has been a growing interest in the use of criminal history records by moistures and others, and the question arises, what percentage of people are going to be affected by policies that are directed at individuals with a criminal history record? so as the most minor record, what is the most prevalent in data. and we published a paper that used this national survey by the department of labor to answer this question, and we came up with an estimate that said about 30% of american youth, by the age of 23, had at least one arrest. and this was compared to the only previous estimate in the literature from 1967, only 22% of people had an arrest in 1965.
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and it led to an increase, but there were many questions that we fielded. what's the difference by race and sex? so we decided to take the next step and try to look at this by african men versus white men and hispanic men and the same thing for women. and we thought it would be worthwhile to address. >> so overall, the share of young americans who have ever been arrested, has nearly it be doubled in the last roughly 50 years. >years. from 22 to 30%. so the number that we estimated for all americans is 30%. both men and women. and so that number has gone up about 50%. >> so among men, it's 40% overall? >> for men, it's 40% overall,
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and in 1965, the estimate for men was 34%. these data are from the 1960s, and they used a different method than we did, the different source of data. and you can use a question, is this capturing differences? or the method, we believe that the difference is real, and it reflects the increase in arrest rates in the 80s and 90s. >> and just to be clear. we're not talking about people who have been tried and convicted of something. just arrested, right? >> yes, just arrested, correct. yes, that,. >> now, hubert women's williamsn you hear those numbers, are they surprising or high or low. >> they do not strike me as high. i would hava expected it to be high.
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the differences between race, particularly african-american males and caucasian males. i would have expected it to be higher. one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that the police policies impact significantly the percentage of people that are going to get arrested in general. particularly people of a particular class or race. when we look at the big problem that society has been faced with, drugs and violence associated with those drugs, then you get the use of the police to target neighborhoods in which this occurs. >> now, when you talk about working the street, isn't arrest just one of a number of tools that any individual officer can use on the street in his beat? >> what's interesting, ray, is that over the last three decades, there has been a change in the police attitude about the nature of their role and responsibility. at one point, the police thought
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that they could ham these matters. they were the law enforcement and it was their job. they knew how to do it, and they didn't want any interference. in today's world, the police believe that the community is part of the safety network, and to be effective, they have to work with the community. so a lot of the police leaders in the country have to work with the community, to find out what their interest is, and the focus on whether or not they should do something on one way or another way. but the police want to be closer to the people that they serve. for example -- >> let me stop you right there. i heard professor bush way talking about this tremendous rise among young people in arrests. and i'm wondering if you were walking in the beat in 1965, whether even finding the same infractions underway, whether you might have used a different tool in the police tool's kit, besides arrest and detention in that moment. >> if you go back to 1965, i
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think that you'll find that the police had considerably more respect in community the way that police looked at the community. now people question authority of all levels, and that's a serious problem when it comes to police, because they will not accept any question of their authority. >> dennis parker, when you hear numbers like this, what does it tell you about the experiences of growing up as a young person in today's america? >> i think that it says that there's a large group of people, particularly children of color, getting used to having their friends arrested and being exposed to the criminal justice system. we do a lot of work trying to fight what we call the school to prison pipeline, which looks at issues and policies and practices which pushes children out of schools into the criminal justice system, and the numbers that you reported are completely consistent with the work that we
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have seen and the work we do. that is with the continuing police presence in schools, students are being arrested at a much higher rate than before. but what's significant, the level of crime has gone down, and we tribute that to the fact that essentially, what's happening is the things that would have gotten you or me sent to the principal's office now frequently result in you being arrested because there's a police officer who is always on duty or perhaps hasn't gotten the training in dealing in a school environment, who doesn't have a clear understanding of exactly what his roll is. so that people are being arrested, and it's not because the kids are misbehaving more or their conduct is different than it was in the past. it's just the whole environment is now more conducive to these arrests happening. >> dep is parker is joining us in new york. when we come back after a short
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break, we'll talk about what being arrested means to you for the rest of your life. this is "inside story."
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray juarez. on this edition of the program, we're talking about crime and youth in america, and a study examined government data and found that 50% of black men were arrested before the age of 23, for hispanic, 48%, and for women, the numbers are much lower, and when sorted by race, the differences are relatively minor. dennis parker, we ended the last segment with you, but you used the phrase that caught my ear. the school to prison pipeline. but for all of the methodology, it wasn't talking about those convicted of a crime and sent away. but just arrested. what are the affects of being arrested and are they different than they were in earlier decades? >> in the school context, the affects of being arrested are like they are in the rest of the world, it increases the
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likelihood of further involvement in the criminal justice system. it exposes you to the system x it makes it more likely that you'll be recognized or identified as a suspect. it really starts the whole process of your involvement in the system. and so it really doesn't matter whether or not it ends in a conviction. the process of being placed under arrest, even as usual happens, the case is dismissed and you don't get sentenced to jail. there's a danger in increasing the number of arrests, even if there are not convictions associated with it. >> professor, is it tough to escape your past? if you are arrested and convicted of nothing, does the fact that you were arrested become a millstone around your neck in a way that perhaps at other time, it might not have.
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i'm thinking of filling out job applications, they don't necessarily ask if you've been convicted of a crime, but they often ask if you've ever been arrested. >> there's more of an emphasis on conviction rather than arrest. about you its true, mania mixes ask if you've been arrested. but the media in general makes it easier to find out about past reports. it's easier to know people's past involvement in the justice system than it used to be. they have more of an impact in arrests, but i did reach in the 90s that showed that arrests by itself had negative implications for employment. and i think it's worth being concerned about that the arrest could have at least short-term
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implications. if you walk down the city streets, they will tell you about experiences, but they have an attitude toward the police if they feel they have been hassled for something that they haven't done. is there a corrosive affect that may influence if you're starting out be being a criminal? >> they don't want to lose face
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because it is a sign of weakness and they might be subject to attack. so the fact that they don't want to lose face, and the police have a conflict with the youth. but whenever you find that the police are not involved and someone is getting arrested in the process, it significantly affects not just the short-term, but the long-term implications of how the police can police the society, the level of respect that they will have, and the things that the youth in the community will be involved in. the police are the thin line. they have always called themselves that. they are society's line of dealing with problems with breach and trust in breaking the law. but what about the other institution innings society that are supposed to stop that?
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there has been a breakdown in many quarters to come up with programs that are going to cost to deal with the issues of the youth in this generation. and as a consequence. what we're doing is building up a greater problem for the future. and we're experiencing now the problems that we are because of a failure to deal with some of these issues in the past. and the criminal justice system is not going to cure all of the problems of our society. it will make a lot of them worse. better to keep a lot of these kids out of prison, not all of them, but many of them, and we should do something before getting arrested and going to jail because of the police. >> when we come back, i want to start from there, whether there has an a harsher and more punitive attitude to the youth.
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray soares. a new story points to the vexing problem of youth arrest in this country. and we're continuing our conversation about the causes and the impacts of youth in trouble. still with us, in albany, professor for criminal justice, hubert williams, police director in new jersey, and dennis parkish of the american civil liberties union. professor bushway, the way that people feel is sometimes hard to measure, but i'm wondering if the get tough policies that came in with the rise in crime in
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america are still appropriate with our numbers rising with the crime numbers. if we still have the holdover feelings about when and where to arrest people that are not necessarily appropriate to a low crime atmosphere. >> i think its important to remember that in 1965, the estimate was that 34% of men had at least one arrest by the time they were 23, and now we're talking about 40%. so it's an increase, but it's not a huge increase relative to where we were before. and it speaks to a larger issue, that oftentimes we don't want to hire people or have people in schools that have a criminal history record. and i think that the first thing that this research points out, if you say something like that, you have just eliminated over one-third of the population by age 23. and if you go up to age 40, you would be even higher. i think that you have to be aware that this is a much more
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common experience that many people realize. in terms of the question of the limits of getting tough, i think that particularly where it leads to convictions and incarceration, people have to understand that there are consequences over and above the criminal justice involvement and we have to think about the benefits of that. particularly if these collateral consequences lead to defending people that you're trying to stop defending. >> but the biggest in america and other places have gone steadily down since the big rise we saw in the '80s. and yet, we saw a rise in the number of young men being arrested. how do you understand that? >> to me, it's not that complicated. the police have been called upon to deal with a drug problem if
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our society. particularly the hard drugs. when this happens, the police go where they can see the drugs being moved about in the city. and there's a bigger chance that people are going to get arrested bit police, checked by the police there than other areas. >> even though drugs are being used in the suburbs, and they are. >> because basically the police roll is street crime. they're not going to into apartments of people smoking joints in the apartment unless they have evidence sufficient to build a case. it's much easier and clearer from the police perspective, when they see the crime, and they have information related to the crime, whe in the inner cit, the police demand that they do something about the problem. they are targeting the problem and arresting far more people. >> professor bushway, you were
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talking about the assumption that people are going to have a tougher life after they get arrested. and the understanding that we are making life tougher for one-third of our people. what should we be doing in four view. >> number one, we have to recognize that if you are convicted and you serve your time, you have paid your debt to society. and the fact that people have to continue suffering the consequences in terms of their access to jobs, to apartments, and whether they can get federal student loans. we have to say what we believe in, that people should have a chance, and should be able to become positive parts of society. >> but our politicians who got positive notice bypassing the tougher laws need to say now it's time to stop making it
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harder to get a student loan if someone has been arrested. >> one of the things that have been going on, people realize that it's expensive to society as well as to the individuals, to the families and to the communities to continue to incarcerate people and arrest people for very minor offenses. particularly when those arrests and incarceration follows racial and ethnic lines. so there's beginning to be some recognition that the criminal justice policy that looks at punishment and particularly disproportionate punishment isn't good for society, as well as being not good for individuals. >> hubert williams, we have a very short time least. left. is the public going to understand so they don't arrest as many people? >> i think that the public is not going to go for that. the public wants the police to
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do their job. what an individual does to himself, how are we going to treat that with criminal offenses now. we have seen big changes in colorado and now the governor of new york. what we classify as a crime has a huge impact on what the police do and fail to do. so society has to come to some recognition, these are the things that when you hurt people and take something from somebody else, these are the priorities that you need to focus on. when we do that to somebody else. >> thank you for joining us. that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." from washington, i'm ray soares.
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>> jose antonio elena rodriguez was 16 when he was killed with a bullet through the head by the united states border patrol. nine more shots went into body, as he lay on the ground in his hometown, nogales mexico. the bullets fired from the top of this cliff in arizona traveled through an international boundary, and into a legal vacuum. the agent has never been named. >> jose ano


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