tv White House Discussion on the U.S. Criminal Justice System CSPAN April 25, 2016 9:45pm-11:30pm EDT
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>> obama administration officials and business leaders talk about the economic consequences of the criminal justice system at a forum hosted by the white house today. the panel analyzed data by incarceration. this is about one hour 45 minutes. the morning. thank you all for being here today. thank you. we are so excited to have you here today for this very important discussion. a couple housekeeping items, for those of you looking to use wi-fi, it is white house, w-uppercase-letter, h-uppercase-letter 2015 and two exclamation marks.
as you are participating on social media in this conversation, please don't forget to use our #. with that, i will turn it over to valerie. [applause]. thank you set name. good morning everyone. you come to the white house. we are delighted to have you here for what we believe to be a historic week focusing on the reentry in our country. i want to begin by recognizing our partner here today. i think this is good example of how broad the political spectrum is focusing on this issue from the progressive to the conservative, all around the country people understand the need generally for criminal justice reform and specifically to make sure that the 600,000 people each year who return back to our communities can do so in
a way that will allow them to become members of society, law-abiding members of society and eliminate this a norman us rate we see around the country. the pres., this week weekend his weekly address, said, we know simply locking people up doesn't make communities safer. it doesn't with the conditions that led people to go into criminal activity in the first place. obviously we know that's the case. to the private sector folks were here today, you realize the impact that our current criminal justice system is having in our economy. we will drill down into those numbers a bit in the course of our conversation. throughout the week, the administration is sponsoring activities all across the country. the department of justice and the bureau of prisons and u.s. attorneys, they will have 500
events across the country focusing on what we can do to help people and raise awareness on the ground from a whole whole range of stakeholders so that when they are released, they have the skills they need and get the job and become law-abiding citizens of our community. we have announcements coming from urban development, the department of housing, the department of human services and veteran affairs. also the department right here in the white house. you will hear from the council on economic advisers. all of the agencies have been focusing on what can we do for this very important issue of reentry. reentry, as we all know, gets to the broader picture of criminal justice reform p last summer the president gave a speech where he focused on three buckets. the community, the courthouse and the cellblock. we have a collective responsibility and i know many of the advocates that are here together with the private sector have been focusing on improving our communities. it's everything from early
childhood education to breaking the prison pipeline in the sexual assault to prison pipeline and ensuring that every child gets a fair shot. helping kids get that fair shot and follow a life free from crime. we have to improve our community and our courtroom. as you've been seen, there is bipartisan support for federal legislation that would reduce the mandatory minimum for nonviolent drug offenders. when people are incarcerated, they have everything from job training to counseling and substance abuse counseling, whatever they need to be able to return to society. we know that over half the folks that are incarcerated have some sort of mental illness. the best objective, of course is to treat them as soon as it's diagnosed, but as while they are
incarcerated, part of responsibility is to help them so they have whatever they need to be able to reenter society. >> we are also focusing on what happens in the cellblock. that's the reinvestment. that's ensuring that job opportunities are available. a couple weeks ago, they announced the business pledge but really it generated enormous support for the business community. several months ago we went around and that we know you're hiring people who are incarcerated would you be willing to talk about it. we were met with deafening silence. many companies did it, they just didn't want to talk about it. over the course course of the last few months, we made a lot of progress. when we launch the pledge, we had nine companies, big-name, big-name companies who agreed to come forward and it was pepsi cola to coca-cola, facebook, et cetera.
since that time, we are now up to 90 companies. we are asking people who are interested, people who employed folks all across our country recognizing that they are better off having a job as a poise to not having a job. he makes our economy safer and improves our economy. they can go sign up for this pledge. it sends an important message about who we are as a people. part of what is been extraordinary is the basic support from safe leaders to the business community to advocates, to think tanks from all political spectrums, recognizing that if we reform our system, our economy will be stronger and our communities will be safer. we spend $80 billion a year, $80 billion a year on criminal justice, on mass incarceration. we have 5% of the world's population, yet 25% of the world's prisoners. with the stark statistic to me
was since 1985, the women incarcerated has gone up 400%. you will hear from jason later that for children who have a father whose incarcerated, there's a 40% chance, greater chance that they are in poverty. the statistics are very clear and what we really need now is to continue to build on the momentum, not just at the federal level but the state level as well. we know that occupational hastens as, for example, are regulated at the state level and there are many states that have blanket prohibitions against anyone who has been incarcerated to get a license. 40% of our jobs require some sort of a license. state work that jason did earlier in the year demonstrates that if we were to change those state requirements and taylor them appropriately by reviewing
it, we would be able to employ so many more people. a good example is people who are incarcerated are often taught to be barbers. you need a license to be barber. asking our states to take a look about how we are licensing is an important step. along the same line the attorney general loretta lynch will be visiting and sending a letter to our nations governor asking them to provide state ids to people when they are released, immediately. if you have a state id, that's the first step to getting a job a job. there's so much that we can do if we work together and, i guess i want to close by saying i do feel we are at a unique moment right now. the nation is focused on this issue in a way way that it hasn't before, with the number of people who, two-point to million people who are incarcerated, it touches every community in america. it used to be a topic we tried to brush under the carpet and
and nor. but that's unsustainable. with your help, we actually believe we can make great change. for that i think you and i would like you to welcome the president with aei and she will come up and give a few remarks. thank you very much everybody. [applause]. >> thank you so much valerie. what an honor it is to be here and participate in this event. aei, for those of you who don't know is a think tank here in washington. my colleagues and i are really dedicated at the end of the day to two basic values. human dignity and human values.
there are going to be a lot of facts that you will hear from our panel. i'll ask you to consider three. the first is that only one third of americans incarcerated have any access to vocational or educational programs while in prison. thus leaving them almost entirely unprepared for life after prison. the second fact is that about half of the incarcerated are functionally illiterate. the third follows from the first to fax that at 60 or 70% of parolees end up back in prison within the first three years after being released. now as jason pointed out in the op-ed in the new york times last week, and they will talk about here today, our society pays an enormous material price for this. it creates an enormous amount of economic inefficiency. as much as it pains me as an economist to admit, this really isn't about money. this is about the lives that we are throwing away. i want to take a few minutes at the outset to remind myself and
everyone else that the reform is just a proxy that's much deeper that we are talking about today. my colleagues and i are working with the best nonprofits in the country that have a visionary notion of how to use human lives, how to integrate our society better. whether they're incarcerated or free, educated or not, we been working lately with a group in new york city and it targets men who have all the strikes against them. they're homeless and have been addicted to substances, they been incarcerated, they've abandoned their families and they're not working. what does it do for them? it helps them put their lives back together by helping them
understand that our society needs them and needs their work. this is a subversive and radical concept. the first one i met from this organization, i was in new york city and i met a man named richard who was imprisoned for 22 years, since he was 18 years old. he was working for the first time. about a year after he was released he was working for a look low-wage, a wage that some people here in washington d.c. might call it a dead end job. he wouldn't consider it such. he was working for and exterminator. i asked him how it was going. he took out his iphone, the first one he ever owned, and that's not the secret to happiness, but it's pretty cool, and he said read this e-mail from my boss.
>> >> that is the question i hope we will begin to answer today. by the way one more thing. ron, and many of us are looking for a way to bring ideological opponents together that there is a key problem with political polarization that is troubling every single person in this room. what better way to bring people together then to look at those in the periphery of our society what can we do together?
this can be the beginning of for those who are imprisoned as a result of a matter where we sit on the political spectrum. thank you for your hard working and you're interested is our honored to be a part of this effort. [applause] >> i and the president of the center for justice at nyu school of law we are thrilled to be a part of this event to co-host with the american enterprise institute to be here with all of you for the white house and learn from and understand the significant report and a dialogue about the economic cost of this
human problem. a lot to a college arthur brooks for his remarks and creativity for public policy those to read his dialogues are glad to be doing this together also thinking valerie garett for her passion and her voice the that the entire administration has brought something that a moment of polarization and division and dysfunction has united communities across the political spectrum and we are grateful to be a part of this discreet aspect. the council of economic advisers and i want to thank my colleagues for the center for justice including
several board members and the members of the economic advisory board some whom you will hear from shortly. as we all though this is a singular moment here in one of the most challenging issues facing our country for years. it is a topic at the center of american history but in so many ways the up magnitude of the problem has been in hiding in plain sight. it is one of the issues those aggregate statistics can have a punch in the gut impact greater than anything else the fact we have by percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prison population is not only wrong but shocking. we also that there are cost
to that phenomenon in agreed now that we're having this conversation at a time when crime is down dramatically. a fact that creates the opening to have a creative assessment of what we ought to do. read nobler lovell of incarceration simply is not necessary to keep our streets and community safe. one of the center's did a study last year to assess the impact of mass incarceration and found it had very little or no impact to keep our streets safe at this moment in time. that the remarkable coming
together across partisan perspectives we hear from business leaders and that could be replicated i can the of any other issue where there is this much of a genuine seeking enough common ground. not that there are two sides each give up something that people are coming with similar views because of their own core aspirations. it is striking that ae i which is renowned of an institution and state has placed at the center of thinking about this and was
struck by human dignity. the center for justice is 20 years old started by clerks in the family of the late supreme court justice william brennan. end up off part the concept of human dignity. we have found working on this issue of massive corporation -- incarceration three years ago under the leadership of my colleague to understand read those tools of the economics is something we could help with. and we believe there are
measurable cost and benefits and unexamined negative consequences in of the very financial incentives built in to budgeting that steers us to where we are now with better foresight to a wiser policy. we have launched the first public event of an economic advisory board including those you are hearing from today treasury secretary severs and a bunch of others with the perspective to help us to understand to make sure that it meets the top
rigorous standards. because of that focus we are thrilled to be a part of this event. this report is a landmark in a rock-solid lead is as important in the fields they might be focusing on. i am delighted to introduce to you to talk about the new report the chair of the council of economic advisers before this i should note among other things headed the hamilton project prescient beyond words to understand how cool alexander hamilton could be. [laughter]
[applause] >> thanks for that introduction. president sherman was reported to have been frustrated with his economic team because every time he asked toward vice rather than and tell him something clear and direct, they would tell him on the one hand and then say of the of their hand he said he wanted to get himself a one-handed economic adviser. the topic we discussed today land itself to though one-handed economic adviser. and to put together their research on this is clear and is consistent with as we
will hear on the panel the changes we have seen and policy that have led into the workers -- the work force to but it was for other reasons and using that evidence or research can help us point it had better direction we don't have all the answers to this topic but we do have a lot and the issue is to put that in place at the federal level and encourage a conversation to lettuce said the highlights very quickly not
only to summarize but take what was the morally uplifting set of comments by arthur brooks that they're not for the most part morally uplifting and elevating. at though local bubble total spending in there are 11 states that spent more on corrections than higher education. look at us in comparison to other countries, the united states is second
although blacks and hispanics represent 30 percent of the population comprising over 50 percent of the incarcerated population because they dwarf the rates 3.five times larger than the whites. a large body of research has tried to look carefully at the causal role that race plays and finds that for similar sentences black and hispanics to be likely sought stopped and searched and convicted and rested to harsher penalties even controlling for defending characteristics prosecutors are 75% more likely to charge black defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimums. also disproportionately concentrated with
individuals of high rates of mental illness. this has substantial consequence that arthur and bowery both spoke to in their comments. one piece of evidence is the interview callback great with criminal records is lower than without criminal records and it is much lower for blacks than whites. criminal sanctions with the negative consequences and the statistics of the family end poverty increases by 40 percent walla father is incarcerated the fact that tens of millions of
americans have of record that this is a point to a larger fraction playing a role including the long-term decline in the participation rate. it is important to understand crime has a substantial cost. in produces direct damages to property and medical cost and reduced quality and loss of life in some of the poorest communities disproportionately. economist try to estimate the social cost has a range of estimates for the media and is about $300 billion per year. this is something.
uniformly been found to have a cost benefit. with an important part of the strategy to reduce crime is strengthening our economy and raising wages. everyone may not agree on the strategy but what that this administration supports using that in contrast based on estimates if you increase spending by $10 billion which is 12% per year that would reduce the crime rate to take into the coster's is the benefit that net societal benefit but that itself is a generous estimate because that doesn't factor in the consequences.
of a larger net society cost contrast that to raising to $12 an hour that assumes no employe of the defects to have an even larger impact on crime with a net societal benefit that would be true from the range of the economic literature talk about the administration's approach to deal with criminal justice reform. first of all, focused on the community in the economy and raising wages and investing early childhood education and community policing licensing exclusions right
now there are 46,000 federal/state local was regarding the ability of ex offenders to work in certain businesses 46,000. betty of those give no regard the nature of the crime or the relevance for a particular occupation is something we have ted working together with cooked industries to encourage states to look in this area were broadly for sentencing reform with the steps we have already taken with drug sentencing of the council of economic advisers issuing
the very regressive nature that can be proportionally much larger for low income households that could be not even collected to have large economic consequences with the deterrent effect for a high income per cent compared to low income where that would represent a substantial fraction of their income. and finally the cellblock rehabilitation and job training as part of reentry we can the steps that the president and the attorney general announced a few months ago to address solitary confinement is said
savings for being here today to moderate the panel and they're always in is the distinguished but this really is. and something else, as a professional skeptic wondering if anything can get done in the current political climate and if you were serious to get something and a space bipartisan credentials this is the kind of panel the you get behind. so to my left have president the american action forum
and two former directors of the cbo and the director of criminal justice and a former director of the u.s. equal employment opportunity commission. with a founder and chief executive officer and adding to his philanthropic community. director of the justice program with the creative civil liberties union's and with mass incarceration as a former director the office of management and budget and here is also a member of
economic rigour and bipartisan and credentials. i will start by asking one question to each panel. the first question goes to douglas about the cost and benefit analysis so why should we think in terms of cost and benefits? what is the benefits of that approach? >> first, faq for the of white house for this event and the council for this report. for sponsoring this event in the benefit to put up with me. i am grateful for all of those five especially painful that we put out a
report with the cost-benefit free-market and for those of you who are afraid because you think they were born without souls or were surgically removed. [laughter] that is not the right way to think about it. i and many economists because of the way to organized there are things that are good and bad we may or may not have put dollars on that the loss of a productive life somebody that was incarcerated too long but arthur brooks is good and reminding this so if we write down what we know our list what we don't stand on the benefits and the cost side. that is really useful to be
disciplined public policy it tells you it is a slam-dunk. has everything that is identified by i the literature we have a problem and can fix it the second thing is it identifies the magnitude winner you really out of line? it is great to solve a bunch of little problems. so that is what this is about to it is said beautifully written report and it doesn't stop there and get some solutions for you cannot ask for more in a report. >> this report talks about a failed policy.
that is not humanitarian or just by committees you have recent -- and britain about the deficiencies but tell us about the case life isn't that type of approach? >> this is one example of a broader phenomenon and to go about policy making. we should talk about not wasting lives but to get there and that is the broader phenomenon to bring evidence to bear across el whole array of federal
policies but it is the case far too little make sense and it definitely applies to criminal justice. but 100 / o what is applied that the way we have gone about crime. so the severity of punishment matters less we put much too much emphasis on the length and too little on providing certainty that should not be surprising but to suggest something that happened 15 or 20 years from now is much less dramatic than something that would happen tomorrow.
into betrayed that basic principle. at the same time the certainty part is really lacking and it is stunning under half of the crime can lead to an arrest or other form of resolution something like burglaries' it is 15% 85% disappear in terms of of resolution faking about the attempt of a burglary one of seven to be brought to justice and encourages those they don't do much to offset. you think there is a much we can do is they're hard to solve that the evidence is very compelling there is a lot that we can do.
so that empirical evidence suggests there is a positive return to police presence. part of the mechanism is despite misleading evidence to suggest response times matter including manchester and the u.k. and you may remember the computer with batman and robin thought they could predict crimes that that is becoming reality. and it predicts individual criminal behavior in the future and it is quite effected if -- affective. then the final point is the
recidivism rate is unacceptably high rate especially for those with behavioral health and substance abuse issues which is a significant share in the evidence strongly suggests that providing targeted health care and other social support can pay off. we still need better evidence but it is suggested that effectively cut the recidivism rate in half. one of the benefits of the medicaid programs is those people are qualifying for the type of help that they need to make sure we don't waste lives there is no better intervention for someone who was already started to go down the wrong path doesn't repeat that mistake in the future.
>> from the entire business sector valery garett made the point that it has been hard to speak out. what is the hidden impact upon the business world? why do you feel the need to speak out? >> i will partially died to the question. i will take a stab at it. as a business person in our business is largely centered around evaluating situations with the best data and evidence with a specific outcome and what is missing
from this entire complex is the use of evidence data and logic and what we're trying to achieve. i don't think it can be overstated by truly it is a landmark paper to embodied the issue that points in one direction. you can get into debates to create a framework how we can improve the system. as a philanthropist the way i got into this was that an api conference and it shouldn't surprise people that they're committed to humanities and social justice. but i was there at this api
conference and there was cory booker with democrats and republicans it is a bipartisan issue. some of the data introduced to be very engaged in education reform if we want to close down the highway from education to prison we have to start with the education system and ready to apply that same sort of evidence and logic to get kids that are graduating from high school this goes to see that this is shocking that those larger
percentages primarily from the black community if he didn't graduate from prison i'm sorry high-school, but right now is over 30 percent if he didn't graduate from high school the likelihood is 60% so to take that in total reforming the criminal justice system to think how do we bring back the civility and honest discourse and to the core for the citizens as opposed to what we see right now and extremes of the political discussion going on. >> one of the most powerful
things and you are making someone making the case for children and families with occupational housing it is the statistic so so much larger groups of people. >> we have been looking at this question with the opportunity of the criminal-justice and how those policies have activated. mass incarceration is a major driver economic and racial inequality. there is a study that says between 1980 and 2004 it
would have dropped 20 percent. the impact has tripoli sex across our country. to illustrate the impact on people of color were than 60 percent of the prison population or 40 percent of the u.s. population. there is a statistic to put out with the scope of the problem but the impact that is not often talked about. african-american women are more likely to go to prison and a significantly over represented. they are nearly three times more likely to report a disability soties to ripple
across window wide variety of individuals. one at a three americans have a criminal record and it can lead to a consequence of employment opportunity educational opportunity and we know that 60 percent of those arnot fortunate enough because of the barriers than those that our lucky to get employment often get jobs with low-wage occupations. also with fees and fines to commercialize property and we found it doesn't just impact criminal records but families and children and with the new number shockingly one of two american children have the least one parent with a criminal parent which is a staggering number if you consider the impact that
ripple effect on the children and, obviously and those not benefits of a logger available with a felony drug conviction depriving the families of the nutritional opportunities with means of stability and a livelihood. savings are also important if you're not able to get a job that will cut into your ability to save money and all of this is polestar of the report coming out today as part of the report that focuses on the impact of all of these policies of those who are incarcerated. their number of things we could do with the employment
practices but to make sure we take criminal records off the table but pennsylvania takes the lead that they are under circumstances with the housing process that there are barriers we have seen a lot of bipartisan support. >> to focus on the policies of those limited occupations they have felt the need to keep people safe the table and employment so it could be a desire to keep people
safe. how do use economics with is inefficiently prison population? was still making people feel safe and? >> one of the core part of economics that people respond to incentives there is so whole school of legal thought to bring that concept into policy himself led is legislators or policy makers are not thinking about those incentives second in order to prevent that from happening we need to clearly think about what types of incentives be create it plays itself out over and over again there are incentives built into the way that federal laws
work that incentivize mass incarceration and. one of the most common examples is the police department prosecutors measure success on convictions and how they seltzer -- some people to prison but one of the examples is the 1994 crime bill it is the part that gave states $12.5 billion to construct additional prisons if they pass a lot to increase prison terms over 28 states change laws and apply for funding. then the prison population doubled. so to truly end incarceration it has to be
changed and here is where the federal government can play a large role the states and localities need to change but like in the 1990's when it incentivized incarceration it could use federal grants. today there are 3.$8 billion going from the federal government most run on autopilot. all of that should be taken in given to states to reward the states to reduce crime and incarceration. see you give them the right incentives how to get there so we run the numbers of the reverse mass incarceration act which is the reverse of
the '94 crime bill this could cut the prison population by 20 percent save $40 billion and keep crime down that is just one example. >> it seems to me the overarching theme what is going on he will not get the country to completely abandon its goals is to deter crime and punish people but the current system wasn't chosen the happened by accident but then you see the consequences with the policy so explain why economics is useful to cut through the partisan politics we can have those same conditions
it is the smarter policy? >> for someone like me as a criminal justice expert it shows up in all the things people say they care about so labor force participation rate is what people think it should not be. with that in the ability of people who have a record to get jobs. persistent poverty is an important issue which you find? people are working families that don't stay together together, the mothers on their own. state budgets are exciting topic and prison populations
are a big chunk of that they have the striking results you can make a lot of progress of labor force participation the relief of state budget without sacrificing. that is a rare public policy moment. i like to do these they are drawn into this they are skeptical so whether the imprison people will? and it cost a lot of money what would we do that? is a unique situation the
heart of economics is incentives that apparent benefit is that it would deter crime but the fact is it does not work. so fundamentally lead is designed to create more businesses to do exactly the opposite there was another approach that did work. but to say you are concerned about incarceration does it mean you are soft on crime but if anything is the opposite. where warm hearted is hardheaded because not the severity but those who commit crimes in hand to be
kinder to those to help them to become criminals again not just the nice to people the hard-headed empirical driven common-sense reforms and make that people directly affected in their lives better off. >> you had written specifically that economists look at rational decisions if you give people the choice of immediate short-term punishment then to stay off drugs that we will lock you up for 10 years and people responded different. punishment very differently talk briefly about that.
it is a randomized experiment the gold standard of evidence and having the certainty to be tested regularly with a known penalty if you are using drugs even if it is small or short has a very significant effect that is on the discount rate how people compare today including for criminals ended suggest a high discount rate which is not that surprising and what i suggest knowing for sure something will happen to you to affect your behavior a lot more than an than vs. 20 years. >> one of the ways to make a
criminal think twice he might be arrested by a policeman and this is full of extraordinary fax a hey mildred fact reading it over the breakfast table. [laughter] if you can get that job dropping fact. [laughter] and in order to take care of this enormous prison population the corrections officers have 2.5 times the average global rate but having spent this money employs 30% fewer police officers per capita than most countries.
tell us how the world of policing can play if you can defer these resources away to the right to kind of policing as they spend those vast sums of money? >> i am not an economist by training but a lawyer by training. [laughter] actually criminal defense lawyer that as a logger panel. [laughter] but it all starts to reorient our perspective as we have seen over the past few years with that public break down of the trust but it has been broken for a long time and it goes to treating lyme port -- law-enforcement and community members. just like the majority white communities want efficient
and respectful police of that profile so looking at how do we restructure that relationship? quite frankly those who feel that customers are participants and not just those who are targeted. it also goes to law enforcement to step up to training but also from the perspective to understand that police officers are stakeholders in this conversation as well. talking about a coalition that is the right and left leading organization and what keeps us together is there really is the
juxtaposition to keep every community safe and have that effect to go lockstep so of housing and pointed to make that available you would see a reduction of recidivism in this report speaks to that as well. >> you have that statistic 80 percent come to justice. with the political part of that discussion these communities of color are badly police but one of the unreported things they're also under policed. that is something you can work on. >> and use this as an example their communities where police are seen as keeping them safe or participants in the democratic process see where
my employee. and also those who are targeting and citizens feel the same way they want to beef feeling safe and make sure the property is kept safe. it goes back to restructuring how we look at policing in the people in the communities to be sure that everyone is entitled to a base level of respect through consumers a few reorient them that will go a long way to solve the problem? >> he spent time on capitol hill if you get through this bipartisan idea israel to take risks and the primary season to say they are soft on crime. regular look at things like policing is this one of the
ways to use the economic numbers to make the case to keep communities safe? is set to build up this bipartisan consensus? >> there are two parts. first, with policing just follow the evidence and we should be policing that what works with the cost benefits of it is proven increasing the number of police officers or evidence based policing but however things like stop and frisk creates a larger issue within the communities. . .
states that sort of recognize these issues and can make the changes. they had increasingly on this problem with legislatures and had to grapple with the facts on the ground, versus the rhetoric and myths. i think that has helped on this particular issue. peter is right about the importance of evidence-based policymaking. one of the ways that is little appreciated is when the legislators can explain the issue to their constituents. that is an important piece. they need to be well-equipped with an arsenal of facts comes
up quickly with criminal records, but there is another aspect that comes up in the business community. why this is so up for, aside from the data in the issue of human decency, which which is the crisis that we have in this country about the system. whether it's a sense of cronyism or a lack of upward mobility or social mobility. this goes to the heart of the issue. it's why we have kids on campuses with socialism, the system that maybe we should try out. i do think the business community does care and believe in the use of classic, whether your democrat or republican, i
think we all agree at the core of the free enterprise system is the best system for this country. and in that sense, the business community is very invested in this. >> we exist in a time of constrained budgets. you can see some of the states saying we are spending a fortune locking people up. in your time, as an analyst and when you were in government, do you see if fiscal constraints as an opportunity that you can start trying to drive policy because people understand they have to make choices and there are trade-offs they have to make? >> i wouldn't call it an opportunity but its necessity as constraints become tighter at the federal level and the local level. we are doing a poor job in
general at measuring what we do and then trying to take that into account. it's not just criminal justice across the board. the book that i did called moneyball for government tried to promote the idea that we could be doing better. they have put out a book showing what the obama administration has done, but we are still far away from what's possible. criminal justice is a good example. it's always the case do not wasting lives, you don't want to waste money. it's even more important when things are tight and this is an area where were doing a very poor job of spending our money wisely. it's as simple as that. i'd like to take questions from the audience. i just want to ask the panel, given this moment where we can focus people and construct good criminal justice policy, there's
an extraordinary weight of evidence that we been making some bad decisions. give us just a few small things that you would like to see people talking about more. if it's draining in prison or education, feel free to jump in and flag some of the things you want people to look at in the report. >> all start briefly. i think we can make better use of police on the ground and identify hotspots in other ways of making sure the resources work well and on recidivism i think there is a lot more we could be doing in addition to just cutting funds to make reentry into a productive work place a better mall highlight, i
think criminal record is something worth pursuing. someone who committed a nonviolent crime in their 20s should not have a scarlet letter on them for the rest of their working lives in the way that so often happens today [applause]. i think in a whole variety of dimensions we have gone too far in this is one of them. >> i wholeheartedly agree, of course and i think that from our perspective, the report really highlights the importance of what we call, in the criminal justice system the true front-end to make sure we create opportunities before there is criminal justice involvement in the first place. i think reducing those barriers, making sure we don't exclude people and then looking again to the state, pennsylvania
introduce legislation to take it off the table for employment and housing and i think that's something we should be looking at. >> so i would just add to that, to ban the box and reentry programs are all incredibly important. one thing i would like you to compete in mind is, for many of these i don't understand understand why they're going to prison in the first place. if we know that's not what works , it doesn't bring down crime and it's causing all sorts of consequences. i think we need to change our law so the default for many of these low-level crimes is an alternative to prison. >> i just want to add, on top of the report, a way we can all get involved in this, and it distant to engaging with political leaders, there are institutions
that have been great on this, but there are others as well. the u.s. justice action network that, for example, is helping us get a german a gentleman out of prison. he was in for 13 years for possession of two g of marijuana. he was arrested for riding a bike the wrong way on a one-way street. he hadn't gotten into trouble with the law for over a dozen of years because of prior conditions, we are working within the state of louisiana, they have the highest and worst incarceration rate. were also involved with the marshall project, the innocence project and there's a german name adam fost and the important role of dashes ted talk was
really amazing. he left his job as prosecutor a week ago or two weeks ago on friday. he started a 5013c to really build on this. i on this. i think this is another one of the critical areas where we can make progress on this issue. >> were sitting in washington and we would be remiss not to discuss this and in november, is this bipartisan push going to have to take a bit of a pause between now and november or can it survive the bumpy road in the final months of the campaign? does anyone want to speak to this kind of momentum? you have
this tremendous coming together at the state level and federal level. how do you navigate this in small ways? >> if you narrowly defined this as can legislation passed legislation, i think the answer is yes. i would say that mechanically for a couple of reasons. number one, special legislation exists and there are bipartisan sponsors in the house of congress and, as i mentioned, perhaps one of the most important things is what happens when you go home. i think there is a lot of evidence on the republican side that this is an issue in their states and locality that they can benefit from not to be viewed as a curse. i would say this lovingly, but i don't think the republican presidential platforms are so rich that there crowding out this debate. [laughter]
>> i tend to agree. i think there is a chance for bipartisan action in congress. i would add to that that i think it's truly remarkable that this has become a live issue in the presidential debate. this is something that even i, as as an advocate, wouldn't of thought could happen. you have the lead candidates talking about this and that's great. i used to tell people that i work on criminal justice reform and they didn't know what it was. now people know and it has opened up a much larger public awareness that i think is helping push forward momentum. >> if you asked the question, it would be great if it happened in the next few months, but if in the next two years there's a chance of legislation, don't forget that it is still rare that you have bipartisan agreement. this is the sort of thing that
if it doesn't happen this year, it should be high on the administration it's eminently doable and would produce benefits. >> this is a word of caution, although bipartisan issues and up as hostages because they don't go through so they get attached to something that's less hospitable for both sides and that leads you to the scenario where it doesn't happen this year. >> and if i may add, we were one of the ones pushing for criminal justice reform in congress and i think it's deftly possible. i think, if i recall reading reading something that they have adopted something close to a platform calling for that. i think it's becoming integrated into the political discussion.
i also want to urge people to look to their state too. there's a lot of things happening at the federal government but the states have led the way in a way. were actually seeing new things happening at the state that are worth looking at. they're also happening in a bipartisan way and i think they can provide more models that can come down the pike at the federal level. >> please ask a brief question rather than make a speech so everyone has a chance. >> i think someone had their hand up. >> please wait for the microphone. >> thank you for this extraordinary work. my name is jennifer from respectability. my question is about americans with disabilities and putting
the disability lens on this important vital work that you're doing. in reading, what we could read in the report so far in hearing your presentation, it seemed to me that you were missing the lens of the disability beyond the mental health or the addiction issues. i think when peter was talking about how you can use big data, for example, to predict which crime is going to take place, you can actually look at a third-grade child old and their disability status in their learning status and see the likelihood of that child being involved in the correction system. i'm wondering if you're going to be putting a lens of hoping to do early diagnosis and intervention, particularly for children of color who are very frequently underdiagnosed and don't get the support that they need. number one and then for people in the correction system to get beyond the mental health or the addiction issues and to look at the learning disabilities that are barriers to opportunities for them. >> thank you. just because we have so many
questions, you need to keep going. >> the 5 million children who have at least one parent who is incarcerated and we know that one of the few institutions of stability are schools, whether public or private. what can we do to support schools and teachers who have to work with this population and in particular what role can the faith-based community play in the process? >> thank you. >> just for the microphone. >> thank you i'm from the caribbean and african conference. my question is, as as it relates to the incarceration of immigrants and black immigrants, how do you look at the impact
that it has on our population, one of of the challenge that we face, especially as it relates to faith outreach for prison reentry populations, is that after an arrest? before we can minister to them, they are ready in process for deportation. we have a recent case with the young man who, on his 18th birthday, a young lady lied to him and he got involved with her. he's working on his paid phd, moved on with his life and all because of an incident on his 18th birthday he's going through deportation process while he has a great job as an engineer, dreams to offer this country and these are some of the challenges that our population base. if you could look into your
research and how something can happen to make life better for some of these immigrants living here. >> thank you. we've had some very important issues raise. if you want to jump in on the issues. >> i'd like to respond to the question about early life trajectories. i think it's very important. the ca report has some compelling data about raising the share of people who graduate from high school and what effect that would have on criminal activity is just one example. we know that kids often go off track early in elementary and secondary school and don't even get to high school graduation. it's interesting that the same phenomenon here where better data can help, it's necessary but not sufficient, you still need good management and attention to detail. it's absolutely the case in education.
i'm on the board in new york where we are attempting to do exactly what you are describing which is better identify a kid in second or third or fourth grade who's going off track and measure what works to get them back on track. the consequence of that would be not only making their lives better off but also helping on this problem. >> so just quickly, i think that people don't generally think of it this way, but education is a crime control policy. i think it's also a way to reduce incarceration. on the case here about the young man who was sent to prison, i think we've started to see that we have been using prison as a one-size-fits-all response to crime. i think we are trying to undo some of that. >> i'm also on the board of a charter school network and our math proficiency levels for
special ed kids at successive academy is double that of the general population. i'm not an expert on that, but it wasn't excellent question and something i've been thinking about. the importance of getting more data around the relationship between children who are in need of special education and how we educate them and how we don't push them off to the side and really deliver to them the education that can hopefully move them outside the special ads silo into the general population. unfortunately, going back to the issue of incentives, the district public schools, all schools get extra cash for educating special ed kids so there's no incentive to get them out of that. i'm not saying this scientifically but perhaps we should think of incentives to move those kids over and get them to graduate from special ed
into general education. >> starting with the? disability, i think it's a very important lens and it's a lens that's not been used very effectively in the reformed context. we are beginning to do some work in the area. the number of folks that identify disability in prison, how much larger that is, it's other forms of disability as well. were looking into that and the pretrial context but also in the larger prison context per the other related question you had is how do we support children in schools. i think i mentioned before that the movement is very sideload. when we say front-end we made front-end of the criminal justice system. i think what a lot of us would urges that we see all the predicate activity that lead
someone down the path to being criminal justice. i think that is something that my organization is looking at separately but were also integrating our discussions with those groups and early education folks to make sure were probably properly integrated. regarding immigration reform, it's very, very challenging. we have folks for moving in the direction to over criminalize or increase penalties on undocumented folks in areas where there should just be civil penalties. i think to somewhat respond to your point, if if we don't get that right and we continue down that path we will have burdened jails and prisons with folks that shouldn't be there. i take your point and they think it's something that needs to be examined very closely. >> i think one of the themes that's come out of this conversation is education. we shouldn't need another reason to get better education.
the thing i would add to what's been said so far as it's important to not only understand who that risk and what works in terms of policy, it's important important to pay people for those outcomes. those funding streams should be devoted to getting high quality outcomes. if they are, then we will take care of the child who's incarcerated in those with disability by getting them early interventions that are successful. if we do everything else but we don't demand high quality outcome we probably won't get the job done. >> we have time for two more questions. i'm going to choose arbitrarily. i wonder to other important stakeholders that haven't been mentioned except briefly by dan are that of the police chief, sheriffs and prosecutors, i wonder wonder if the panel could
comment on their response to data into the kind of analysis that we now see in this report. >> good morning. i am president of an organization called hope for tomorrow. my question is so many people are taken to jail and taken to detention where it takes a longer time. the u.s. spend so much money giving them food, why can't they look at that system and include in the report or in the future, if they have checked but let them go home. or let them come back into the system instead of sending warm
money up to ten years and that does not help them. that would be, how do we make this an organization to better forecast? >> those are great questions. it's a gigantic subject. we talk about all the mental health issues and he wants to speak to that briefly. let's go back out to the panel. >> just briefly, i'm i'm not an expert on police chief and prosecutors, but one thing i think is useful, you pointed out we have a lot of correction officers that the systemwide view, it raises the question why, what incentives are we giving people. you. you have to look at the incentives. it really forces attention. i think that's one of values. again, i think this discussion has highlighted the inefficiencies of our criminal justice system. if another report of this to get
you through our justice system. >> law enforcement community has been a great partner with us. they're very important stakeholders and it's important do send a message about what they offer really doesn't nothing but ensure safety because of the steps or tape taking. i think that's a good point our working hard to amplify those voices. regarding immigration detention and your point, i think you're correct that it mirrors, and many way our broken criminal justice system which is why, we need reform among other things. i think the same incentives, economic perhaps and the like could perhaps work in that context because they are mere images of each other.
>> we support them for the work that they do in this area. >> on the question of police and prosecutors, we launched a group of 135 police chief and prosecutors to reduce crime and incarceration in october. that is an incredibly powerful voice. we have seen firsthand that sending people to prison does not bring down crime rates but smart policing does work. this group has gotten very involved recently to offer credibility to talk about the fact that it's not going to damage public safety to reform our sentencing laws. on the point of mental health,
also, our prisons are the largest mental health institution in the country. over 50% of prisoners have mental health issues. one one of the things that we have advocated for is that many of those people need treatment instead of prison. treatment has been proven to work and be more cost-effective. >> i just want to emphasize that point. the report also highlighted that almost 70% of incarcerated population has a history of regular drug use, something like 20% have 20% have a history of physical or sexual abuse. often highly correlated with mental health issues. it is not surprising that when they leave incarceration, we just say good luck and they wind up in trouble again. the programs that have been shown to work, in, in some sense shouldn't be surprising because relative to just, we'll see how things turn out, there's a lot of improvement that's possible. >> i think that's one of the messages that comes out of the whole report. this isn't like sending men to
mars. people have been doing this in many ways and you can measure it. i'm incredibly grateful to the parent panel and it's unusual to have such a great discussion and i thank you very much to the panel [applause]. i also want to lend my thanks to the panel and thanks to all of you for being here today. thanks for everyone at the white house and jamie on our team and i hope we can continue to have this discussion through the lens we talked about today as well as the many other perspectives that have been brought to bear on the issue. thank you everyone. [applause].