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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  June 2, 2015 9:00am-10:01am EDT

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captioning performed by vitac and i think that there is a consensus as well that the war on crime has produced serious collateral damage for our society. so what do i mean? now, remember the american ideal places less emphasis on the exercise of control and power than the willing consent of the governed. participatory democracy, even more so than other modes of government depends on trust, legitimacy, and the inherent justice of the social compact. that's why we chose justice as the second element in our initiative's name. now, justice must be perceived to be reasonable and fair to be
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truly effective and for citizens to internalize the values and practices. when the rule of law seems intrusive, imposed or oppressive, that social contract falters. and i fear that in many places, america is seeing that process in action. now, researchers have studied the experience of people in communities where contact with the criminal justice system is a regular part of life. and their findings are sobering. they show how wide a net law enforcement and the justice system is casting. in 1980, only 1% of 18 to 23-year-olds who self-reported no criminal behavior had been exposed to parts of the criminal justice system. by 2002, that had grown to 13% and, remember, that's 13 years ago. misdemeanor plea bargains have created a whole generational cohort with a criminal record. many, many people who are not serious criminals are exposed to the controlling effects of the
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criminal justice system. studies show that these encounters are profound. and they lead to, and this is a quote from the study, low levels of trust in politicians and public institutions and a diminished sense of standing. now, three-quarters of the people surveyed in that particular study agreed that leaders in government care very little about people like me. and so residents of certain neighborhoods are less likely to report routine problems like potholes and broken streetlights. in short, we have many people withdrawing from society hoping not to draw attention to themselves, and this is the polar opposite of constructive civic engagement. so the lesson is that by its nature the criminal justice system is extremely powerful. so when contact with it from apprehension to incarceration, while in contact with it ordinary people have their rights radically curtailed. so the experience of arrest jail or prison actually
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profoundly changes how individuals perceive themselves in their relationship to society. so if government expressed through the criminal justice system seems to be capricious or dangerous, people will cease to be fully participating citizens once again i assert that when the justice system fails virtually nothing else can succeed. so you can see what we're engaging in here is something that has very high stakes, and that's where our word challenge and the challenge itself lies. how can we work toward a criminal justice system that secures and strengthens public safety while ensuring democratic accountability. in particular, and this is what we're all about together how do we change the way jails are used and perceived so they don't undermine the credibility and the respect for the justice system. now, incarceration is a powerful but blunt instrument, can it be more surgical and effective, can
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it be more fair? we don't underestimate the scale of this challenge. the justice system often encounters people when they're at their worst and yet we're asking those who work in the system always and everywhere to be at their best. we're looking for well conceived and executed reforms and procedure and culture that raise the levels of trust and reduce the harmful effects of encounters with the law for both individuals and for our society. and we're asking this of a system that is chronically underfunded in many ways, often less than optimally designed, subject to local politics bureaucratic infighting and the sometimes conflicting goals of its disparate parts. it is a tall order but what we have seen in the proposals submitted by the jurisdictions represented here and even those who are not in the final 20, there is an inspiring determination to make real and meaningful progress to imagine experiment and innovate to
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serve, protect and support communities so that ordinary people can flourish in peace and security. now, macarthur is proud to have found partners like you who share our hope for the future. we pledge ourselves to you, to the task ahead. it won't be easy, but we're confident and we hope that you're confident as well that it is just the right thing to do. now, before i turn the podium over to laurie garduque, the director of justice reform at the macarthur foundation, who will introduce the selected jurisdictions to you, let me applaud you for the work that you do every day, but even more so, for your aspiration to make that work more effectible, more accountable, and even more in keeping with our democratic ideals. thank you so much. and welcome. [ applause ] >> good afternoon.
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i'm laurie garduque, as jewelulia said. julia has given you a picture of the journey that brought us to this stage today and to all of you joining us in this room. and i want to thank you all for joining us and participating in the safety and justice challenge. so let me go a little bit deeper into the nuts and bolts of what this endeavor will be. and why in thinking about the growth of incarceration in the united states we decided to focus on local criminal justice reform. that's always an initial challenge. so despite the growing national attention to the large numbers of americans confined in state and federal prisons, significantly less attention has been paid to local criminal justice systems where the criminal justice system primarily operates and where
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overincarceration begins. there are nearly 12 million local jail admissions every year, almost 20 times the number of prison admissions and equivalent to the populations of los angeles and new york city combined. three out of five people in jail are legally presumed innocent, awaiting trial or resolution through plea negotiations. nearly 75% of the population of both sentence offenders and pretrial detainees are in jail for nonviolent offenses like traffic, property drug or public order violations. 17% suffer from serious mental health conditions and many are there simply because they cannot make low level bail. important to the foundation and a core principle of our work is concern about the disparities in how people of color are treated by the system.
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and we knew that reducing racial and ethnic disparities in local jails would be a core focus of our work. so the safety and justice challenge was announced last february. and the reason why we have confidence in launching this challenge is because we know there are promising strategies out there. all across the country jurisdictions are working to safely reduce overreliance on jails, with a particular focus on addressing disproportionate impact on low income individuals and communities of color. we set out to find these solutions and to build a network of partners who are motivated and committed to local justice reform that creates a fair, more effective justice system that protects public safety and produces better social outcomes. so when we announce the safety and justice challenge, we expect to hear from jurisdictions across the country with the
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motivation and commitment to create meaningful local criminal justice reform. while we certainly expect a strong show of support and interest and enthusiasm for this project, we were overwhemdlmed by the response that we received. we had over 190 jurisdictions submit applications from 45 different states and territories in response to our rfp. they exhibited a commitment to collaboration, an understanding of the need for local solutions a motivation to address racial fairness and a deep commitment to local reform. with the help of an external team of expert reviewers, we undertook the daunting task of selecting from among them to form the safety and justice challenge network. and here are the 20 network sites. charleston south carolina, cook county illinois harris county
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texas, los angeles, california, lucas county, ohio mecklenburg county, north carolina, mesa county colorado, milwaukee, wisconsin, multnomah county, oregon. new orleans, louisiana. new york city new york palm beach county florida pennington county, south dakota philadelphia, pennsylvania pema county arizona, st. louis county missouri shelby county, tennessee, and spokane county washington. the jurisdictions include large cities like los angeles and new york to smaller localities like mesa county colorado and pennington county south dakota. their jail capacities range from just over 200 beds to as many or as close to 21,000 beds. together these jurisdictions
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represent 11% of the nation's jail capacity meaning this initiative has the opportunity to impact a large segment of today's jail's population and demonstrate evidence-based alternatives to incarceration that other jurisdictions can successfully adopt and implement. the sites are diverse geographically, as well as in their politics, climate, economic and social structure, and how their jails are organized and governed. that was important to us because we wanted to demonstrate that regardless of jurisdiction starting point, that there is a path to systems reform and ways to change how the jails are used. in terms of the population base represented by these sites, they represent over 42 million or about 13% of the total u.s. population. they have very diverse jail capacities as well.
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this gives you an idea of how we pick both small, medium large and megalarge jails. so all of these jails i think, are representative of what we see across the united states. now, why these sites? as i mentioned we were tremendously gratified by the quality and volume of the responses we received from jurisdictions across the country. the sites selected for the challenge network are broadly representative of the nation's diversity and its challenge. they exhibit leadership collaborative capacity, and determination to make change that is urgently needed and a commitment to the themes that are core to this work, including addressing racial and ethnic disparities that may exist within their systems. i am also pleased to note that in support for the broader collection of jurisdictions, the 171 who are not selected for the challenge, that we are committed to working with them and providing support to them for
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training technical assistance, and convening events, to those jurisdictions as well as others across the country because it is our aim to raise this as the safety and justice challenge as a national imperative and we know there are promising innovations out there that will help us reduce the misuse and overuse of jails. so what will the work entail? what will we accomplish together? in the next six months, these jurisdictions will work in partnership with some of the nation's leading criminal justice organizations. the city university of new york's institute for state and local governance, the center for court innovation, the justice management institute justice system partners, and the vera institute of justice to generate actionable plans for reducing incarceration and creating more fair and local justice systems. they will focus on who is in their jails whether there are racial and ethnic disparities in
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jail usage or experience. they will propose new approaches and innovations, including alternatives to incarceration as usual that can be developed, tested, and adopted on a larger scale. they will explore better ways of targeting resources and assessing risk to ensure that confinement used only when necessary. they will do all of this while maintaining an emphasis on public safety. and together this work will create momentum for change on a national level. it is important to note that many of the jurisdictions that are involved in this work, all of them, actually have already made great strides in justice reform. their work in the next several months will explore how to build upon that progress. all the sites will turn an eye toward collaboration across their justice systems seeking to foster the partnerships among judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, defenders, and community leaders that are
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necessary for meaningful and lasting change. beginning in 2016 ten of these jurisdictions will be selected for a second round of funding to implement their plans. so we look forward to working with you and sharing with you the experiences of our 20 selected jurisdictions, and so may i ask those jurisdictions that are represented here by their teams to please stand? and will you join me in congratulating them. thank you so much. so now we're going to go a little bit deep near what has been happening in our nation's jails. it is my pleasure to introduce to you nicholas turner who joined the vera institute as the president and director in august of 2013. he came to the vera foundation
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after a sojourn with the rockefeller foundation, and that nick had previously been with the vera institute. before attending law school, nick worked with court involved homeless and troubled young people at the sasha booth youth work of washington, d.c. youth services organization, and he has also served on the boards of the national council on crime and delinquencies, living cities and the center for working families. please join me in welcoming nick to the podium. [ applause ] >> so this is the second dais i've been on today, and the first one i was on i toppled off backwards in my chair. so i'm going to assume that today's short talk with you will
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go a little bit better than that. but you guys can be the judge. so i am, in fact nick turner director of vera. i'm thrilled to be here today. it is really a very auspicious occasion. and if i'm quite honest with myself, i'm really awe-struck at this moment. by two things. first is the challenge that we have before us the challenge that all of you have before you and because there are so much that is at stake. the second is what is -- what a tremendous opportunity we have. there is unprecedented national attention on the work that we're called upon to do here, and there is unprecedented opportunity to make the most of this moment. before i get into those and talk a little bit about the first challenge, i think this requires a very brief sort of historical digression about the organization that i run. you see, vera, which was founded in 1961, was hailed as
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developing here in the united states, a solution to unnecessary detention in our jails, 54 years ago. the story is a great one. louie schweitzer who was a philanthropist then, his family made money on cigarette rolling paper. and the first president of vera a guy named herb stirs, were concerned about the problem of too many people too many poor people in jail in new york for simply because they had the inability to pay bail. the brooklyn house of detention, many of those of you who have spent time in brooklyn know it. it is on atlantic avenue, was filled with young men. mostly young men of color. some who are awaiting up to ten months for their cases to be adjudicated, and mostly they were there because they couldn't afford to pay bail. and so what vera did at that
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time really what herb stirs did at that time was to devise an entirely different system for managing release. what we all know today is releasekoging couldkoging couldkoging couldkoging couldkoging couldkoging could recognassance. this experiment proved to be more effective than bail. and so that was in the early '60s. what happened after that is that a number of jurisdictions got interested in it and the work of vera ended up in forming the 1966 federal bail reform act which was the first reform of the bail system in this country since the late 1700s. i tell that story not only because i'm proud of it but because i have to acknowledge
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that we at vera and those of us in the field have to face what i would describe as a very bittersweet recognition that that innovation did not win the day. it is as if the work that we did in 1961 and the manhattan bail project almost never happened. laurie recounted some of the statistics for us, 700,000 people in jails today. a statistic she did not recount, but i'll say a little bit more about in a moment is that we are now spending four times what we spent 30 years ago on jails, that's 22 billion but put a little asterisk there, because i have more to say on that as laurie also mentioned, three out of five people in jail right now are there presumed innocent awaiting the disposition of their cases. and release on -- this thing that my predecessor at vera invented release without financial conditions is less
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common now than it was 20 or 25 years ago. so there is a lot of work that we need to do. and what we know from this little sliver of a document that you all received when you entered is that -- it is called the price of jails, measuring the taxpayer cost of local incarceration incarceration. we learned that we're spending a little bit more than we thought we were. and that is part of the huge challenge that we have to undertake, that we need to solve. the cost of jails is higher than most policymakers and the public realize. and it is almost certainly higher than the 22 billion figure that i just quoted you. what we learned is that significant jail costs sit outside of jail budgets. vera conducted a survey, sent it out to a number of jurisdictions, 35 jurisdictions responded and what we learned was that in 20% or i'm sorry inquarter
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of the jurisdictions that responded, 20% of the budget sits outside of the jail budget. in one jurisdiction over 50% of it does. these costs pension health care legal judgments, capital costs, programming are often not found in the correction -- in the correctional agency budget, but in other agency budgets in var yaus countious counties and cities. we have our work cut out for us and perhaps what we learned is that it is more work than we thought we might have had. but i'm quite confident we can do this work and here's why. so first as tupac tupac shakur said, all eyes are on us. he didn't actually say that he said all eyes are on me an i'm relieved there is some recognition in this audience because i thought this could be
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a worse stumble than falling off of the dais as i did this morning. it is a -- every once in a while you assess the audience you're talking to and think, oh, you know sheriffs d.a., jail administrators i'll bring up tupac and see if anyone recognizes that reference. but anyway, so, never before has so much attention been showered on those of us in this room who are dedicated to developing safe and smart and humane solutions to mass incarceration. that attention comes from people like newt gingrich and grover norquist and rand paul and the coke brothers and rick perry and eric holder and ralph reid. here is how hillary clinton put it, just last month when she kicked off her presidential campaign with her very first policy speech. there is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison in their lifetimes. and an estimated 1.5 million black men are missing from their
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families and communities because of incarceration or premature death. it is time to change our approach, and it is time to end the era of mass incarceration. we need a true national debate about how to reduce our prison population while keeping our communities safe. this -- i don't think anyone in this room i don't think anyone who is a veteran of this work that we do would have put smart money on that ever happening. so but here's the second point this group has the potential to make good on the promise of smart, effective reduction of over incarceration. and different than what hillary said, you're not debating you're doing. this is a group that has the potential to meet what i'm already seeing in the field which is a degree of skepticism, which some people are voicing. they're saying there is a lot of
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talk out there and there is not enough action. so there is going to be action here and one of the examples that we can take is we can look at the -- at albuquerque, at new mexico, we touched upon it briefly in this paper. it is indicative of the ability, the counties have to reduce overincarceration at a large scale and to do it quickly. so berno leo, facing a federal lawsuit and had 700 people placed in out of county beds decided it needed to take this problem on head first. it created a criminal justice review commission to develop emergency jail population management plan, and that plan contained 40 different initiatives, including speeding probation violation proceedings, using more citations in lieu of arrest and funding of a new line for an assistant district attorney for misdemeanor
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arraignments who can speed processing. and the results were astounding. in just two years, there was a 39% decline in the jail population. if you want a less gaudy example than that, take hampton county, massachusetts, which reduced its population by 30% in six years saving $16 million annually as a result. so the punch line with all this the reason why all of this matters is that big counties and cities are nimble. and they have many levers at their hands at their disposal to safely reduce their jail populations. system players, judges prosecutors, police, have lots of discretion to act and different from state prisons, you're not sitting on big stock populations of people serving long sentences that you simply can't move out quickly. and you can put this comparison in per spect of by looking at
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new york state or new jersey which has been branded in this country as the leaders of decourse ration. each of these states has reduced their prison populations by 30%. but that has been over 15 years. so that's a rate of about 2% a year. so the smart money should be on cities and counties to make a dent in overincarceration. and to not just debate, but to act. and well frankly, the smart money is on it. so thank you laurie, and julia, and the macarthur colleagues here today. so while on the subject of smart money, let's talk a little bit about justice reinvestment. you all know the concept. it is a notion of taking what you're spending on your -- on corrections and public safety and figuring out how to reduce that smartly and then reinvesting it in things that you -- that help communities to thrive, that help individuals and families to succeed. that's yet another reason why this work is so important. and why all of you must succeed.
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reinvestment of jail savings and the things that help communities to thrive stands a better chance of succeeding here on the local level than it does most anywhere else. you don't have regional competition for savings, you're not having a debate in a state house about rural economic development and what to do when a facility is closed, there is no rural urban divide in that sense. your constituents can benefit from the actions that you take not some other senators constituents who will benefit from the services you invest in and the leaders of these communities, of counties and cities, are closer to their communities and they know how to best reallocate for positive purposes. and because cities and communities pay for community-based services, you're well positioned to be able to redirect savings that meet the needs of your -- of your citizens. so we can talk a lot about smart
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reinvestment, and the hard thing will be to get it right. but it can be done, and there are fewer obstacles in cities and counties to make sure that it does get done. one final point that i want to make to you, which is about why this work is important and it is not anything that is contained in the price of jails, but it is something i think all of us who have observed the events of the past few months are, you know, have an understanding of with a degree of poignancy, and it is important that we bring it all to the work that we do here. and that is that the task that you're undertaking really is not only to figure out how to develop smart solutions, to reduce your jail populations, but it is to reinstill trust and confidence in the criminal justice system. so contrary to the news, that we have heard since ferguson, and even before that, and even the report today about cleveland
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entering into a consent decree with the department of justice, the shootings, the unauthorized use of force, public misgivings about the criminal justice systems are sourced in thing other than just police and community relations. ask yourself these questions. the people whose lives are interrupted, whose jobs are lost, whose expenses piled up, whose children may end up in foster care because they couldn't avoid jail because they could not afford to pay bail, does that have anything to do with the distrust or the uncertainty that people have the criminal justice system and those who lead it are paying attention to their best interests. ask this question, to the brother and sisters and the mothers and the spouses of the missing black men in communities like anacostia across the river or east new york back at home, or west garfield park in chicago, does the trust that
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they have or that they have lost in the criminal justice system have anything to do with the -- with what has gone on for the past four decades and are we in a position to change that? ask the person who sees a sibling who is suffering from mental illness or substance abuse whether jail is a place for him or her to go or whether there is a better place where he can receive or she can receive the services that they need to get a fresh start in life. and whether in doing that that would be a basis of trust and confidence in the criminal justice system. and finally, ask the taxpayer who wonders why we pay for what we do, when the results that we achieve and that we know that we achieve and that we have struggled with and are the very foundation of why we are here today are not worth it. so i would say that there is a lot to be awe-struck with here,
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there is a -- there is an undeniable excitement that i feel for the work that you're undertaking. and with that work i think i would like to leave you with the simple fact that you should know that what you're doing is exceedingly important for the country, that you're being watched, that it matters, you're being watched by everyone, that it -- you're being watched by c-span too, that's like espn, but that's a reference to dodge ball. it matters to people both not just in your jurisdictions, but all around the country. so as tupac says, all eyes are on you. [ applause ] >> come on in. there is plenty of seats. thank you, nick for that presentation and for such a helpful report, which reminds us
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why we're all here today and of the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead. our next speaker knows well the impact that jails have on individuals and families. the faith community has long been concerned about overincarceration and justice issues. joining us today is timothy head, the executive director of the faith and freedom coalition. prior to joining this organization, mr. head was a district director for member of the texas congressional delegation, he also worked for member of the texas legislature and as a missionary in asia the middle east and europe. please join me in welcoming mr. head. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. thank you to -- certainly to the foundation for hosting this event and also you got to enjoy comments that fold in, a will ferrell and a tupac reference in their comments. thank you for that, nick.
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so let me just say that budgets are important, systems are important, policies are important, but the reason why this conversation really at the core of it, why it is important is because good policy good systems, good budgets are really they serve people. and so really human dignity is elemental. the core of freedom. as freedom flows, through personal choices, conflict is inevitable. so the question becomes, can a nation create a system that can resolve those conflicts as ronald reagan once put it to result in the ultimate and individual freedom consistent with law and order. there is no doubt safety and security are the ultimate end of our criminal justice system. but at the faith and freedom coalition, we believe that every government enterprise must begin
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and end by acknowledging and preserving the dignity of every single person involved, created in the image we believe -- of our creator. so as national attention does focus more and more on the huge number of americans state and federal prisons not only -- not enough attention is paid to our jail systems. you don't need to be educated anymore on the overreliance on our local jails. a population that is overtripled in the last 35 years. expenditures that are rising in keeping with that 12 million as we just heard earlier, 12 million admissions annually almost 20 times the number of people who passed through our state in federal systems. this really is the core and the root of where our incarceration problems and dilemmas rise which is why i commend mcarthur for focusing here while there is
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so much focus being placed, and other admittedly needed places, this really is where our laser focus needs to lie. so my hometown is waco texas. and it can be said that in the middle of delicate situations like we're observing there some of the other places that we're also just mentioned by nick, that that may actually divert us away from this conversation. i actually believe it should attract attention and conversation in our focus to this conversation nationally. so this is a prime opportunity for us to zero our focus and to really investigate where are thins going right, but also where can things be adjusted. the primary purpose of local jails, of course is to detain those that are awaiting core proceedings. those who are a danger to the
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public, or a flight risk. but jails have come to hold far far more people than fall into those two simple categories. there are often warehouses for low risk individuals who are too poor to post bail or too sick for our communities to actually deal. so my -- i actually was a therapist, i didn't mention that earlier, but i've dealt quite a bit with mental health issues and clients interacting either formally or informally with the criminal justice system and i've seen far too often that people that are really have their own personal and maybe psychiatric issues find themselves maybe dealing with a system that is really not designed or maybe at the moment capable of appropriately handling them. so it can -- our system can protect the public by separating
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dangerous offenders from society at large and can deter crime. if we fobbouscus on crime and punishment alone, we miss countless opportunities to help break vicious cycles that plague too many of our communities. when we carefully apply resources to root causes of criminal behavior substance abuse, mental health, child neglect, truancy we can actually prevent some crimes before they happen. we can protect victims necessarily from that. and ultimately we can devote our limited resources to the point -- to the design purpose that these limited cells were designed to serve which is ultimately just to keep us safe from dangerous people, right? so as we -- i do think it is really important for us to point out that as we embark on justice reform discussion, that really
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we must first remember victims are the ultimate -- those who ultimately suffer the most. and so our -- we must design systems to protect, but also who seek to remedy the damage done to victims first certainly to society at large, but particularly to victims themselves and individually or in small communities. we also must proceed in any reform conversation with the clear understanding that local and state police truly are our first responders. they put their lives on the line every single day and we're incredibly thankful for the service they provide, we're also deeply indebted to corrections officers probation and parole officers across the country who also put themselves in harm's way, either in jails themselves or also out in the field. but there is more that we can do to ensure law enforcement continue to provide excellent
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service to the communities they have sworn to protect including engaging in partnerships with communities and using the latest technology to protect both the officers themselves and the public. public awareness community policing and even faith-based programs can prove incredibly helpful to this end. so in michigan governor snyder just has recently offered some remarks of a renewed focus and vision for criminal justice there. the state has an arrangement now in over 30 cities across the state to incorporate people of faith and particularly clergy to make up what they refer to as a criminal incident intervenor. so faith leaders are part of quick response teams that provide a calming influence in the midst of challenging circumstances. they also act as liaisons between law enforcement and community. they're provided specific
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training to help diffuse crisis, and also houses of worship are holding basically community gathers where law enforcement is invited in, either to disseminate information on a regular basis or just to get to know each other. we also know that our federal and state laws are unwieldy, even the word unwieldy, or unwieldy and out dated. there are codes today that say to accept a dual is punish amount by up to a year in jail. you have any inmates that are found guilty of engaging in duals lately? and not to be outdone, reproachful language about a person who refuses a duel a six month misdemeanor. so you can -- i will probably at some point hang that over my
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7-year-old's head. should we challenge? what will we do? thankfully discussions are well under way now nationally here in washington, d.c. and in state capitals across the country to eliminate redundant outdated laws, but we also need to look carefully at penalties in place that are regularly enforced. low level felonies, we may need to review those to see if they actually should be misdemeaners. there is many misdemeanors, they should be reviewed to see if they should be civil infractions that don't actually have criminal implications. so as we know before a defendant goes to trial as we discussed on bail risk assessment tools need to be -- they need to be implemented. they're kind of -- there are communities around the country that do this, courts around the country that do this. this needs to be a widespread
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practice. so that we can divert people away in the event of recognizance is a great example. if we can identify those eligible for pretrial supervision in the form of a weekly check in or electronic monitoring, this is the direction we need to go. we're seeing that more and more but na needthat needs to be the norm rather than the exception. jail sentences also are imposed on people who should be eld accountable in other ways. if mental health or substance abuse issues lead someone to crime, treating those problems can actually improve lives and prevent people from committing new crimes. diversion programs can be designed so the offender can avoid a permanent criminal record if they complete the program. doing this makes it easier for them to return to the community as a employable citizen. specialty courts, something becoming more and more widespread are better equipped
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to deal with substance and alcohol abuse mental illness, again, we're seeing veterans courts come up around the country, these are great practices. and because of more interaction with a seasoned judge, an experienced judge and also with prosecutors and defense attorneys who are also seasoned and practices and also into the law itself we actually see far better results to this end. for individuals here who are convicted of crime, but don't go to prison too many of those probationers ultimately end up behind bars anyway often for technical violations. so to address the growingvokeing probation, we need supervision and set specific parameters around the length of confinement for technical violations. short certain periods of confinement far more, far more
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effective than absolute revocation. criminal justice system to work americans must have absolute confidence that convicts are reached fairly and in a timely way. we need to hold fast to the constitutional right to council. prosecutors and defense attorneys must be well trained and practices in the latest developments in criminal law, there are far too many instances where innocent people are convicted of crimes. maybe because of false accusations, perjure testimony mistaken identity or ineffective council. when guilty, verdicts are found and sentences are delivered, incarceration is a central critical role of our criminal justice system. but putting people behind bars is not always the best answer. the time is now. and you all have entered into this challenge for this very reason. you are trailblazers to this end. in texas, first judge that i worked for after law school, he -- i remember after he was --
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after a trial, we were just finishing a sentencing hearing and he had been found -- the defendant was found guilty, the judge, one of the finest men i've ever known actually, it was his common practice, he would step down off of the bench and he would walk around still in his robe and he would hand this particular individual handed him a key, and he said i'm giving you this key because you now hold the key to your future, that if you actually use your time in that case in prison, to remedy yourself to become a productive citizen then you will return to this community as a constructive contributing member. if you choose not to do that, it is really -- it is your decision. since we do know that most criminals will be released after they complete their sentence, wouldn't it be better if they
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returned for a job, to be a productive member of society instead of turning back to that life of crime. redemption really is the heart of faith-based programs across either jail visitation, prison ministries for not just decades but actually ultimately millennia, actually across the world, christian communities have stepped into -- into jails and prisons forever. and so georgia faith and freedom coalition, we did a luncheon about two months ago in atlanta, and as we sat and listening to governor nathan deal talk about justice reform issues, efforts in metro georgia, the man sitting next to me leaned over and he nudged me and said, i'm a graduate of the very program that governor deal is describing. and he went on to tell me that he now is a minister and he leads a chapter of the faith -- of the fellowship of christian athletes in north atlanta, and
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he particularly reaches out to students to talk about his time in prison, the choices that he has made and the ways that he's actually turned his life around. all kinds of examples of individuals like that man who have committed crimes, turned their lives around are in places of respect and influence in their communities. we can actually reform our criminal justice system so that we can have more and more success stories just like his. the best opportunity to secure communities is to secure the future of children. we must find ways to divert juveniles away from criminal justice system. we need to accurately assess the risk and their needs, treat the underlying causes of their behavior and we need to invest in high quality community-based interventions. as you all know juvenile justice is largely local, we end up with systems -- different systems across the country, slightly different, there are some challenges that come with that, but there are also some real strengths that come with that.
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we're able to customize our interventions for each of our individual communities, all unique. and we were able to assess different community assets that we -- that different communities may have that lie differently. but removing a juvenile offender from his home and community to place him in a residential facility really should be a last resort. numerous studies have shown being absent from school as a child greatly influences the ability -- the likelihood of committing crimes as an adult. diversion programs keep youth out of juvenile justice system by avoiding adjudication that could result in a criminal record. community-based programs generally are more effective and still less expensive. we know that many youth don't receive the most appropriate placement or the right kind of treatment and these failed placements can actually be disruptive to youth and contribute to additional misconduct. can actually be more harm than
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good. so as these -- as these various factors take their toll and identifying underlying issues, we find that youth will receive the treatment they need while they're still with their families, in their homes in their schools, homes, in their schools and in their communities. lastly, the criminal justice system engages to protect the public punish the guilty and offenders so they don't reoffend. these are incredibley exciting times at the state level, local level and on the policy level and the practice level so i commend you with that. momentum is building from city hall to state capitals, to literally the halls of congress right there, that's maybe, literally unprecedented. so i think it's very, very safe to say that change will happen. we're now just in a place of what will the change be and how
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quickly will it happen? our justice system must be designed in such a way that when it does engage it maintains ultimate individual liberty and is consistent with law and order. in so doing, we will acknowledge the inherent dignity of every person involved in the justice system and the people in this room today are the trail blazers to that end and for that, i thank you. [ applause ] >> so may i ask mr. bot chely to come forward? thank you. it's my great pleasure and honor to introduce michael bonacc krshgsbonacelli who was sworn in to the federal drug control policy in 2015.
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he has served as deputy director of the national drug control policy. he joined the office of national drug control policy as deputy director in november 2012. mr. bonacelli has more than two decades of experiences is up parting americans affected by substance abuse. he's received numerous awards and honors and he's in a long-term recovery from a substance abuse disorder celebrating sobriety. mr. bonacelli? [ applause ] >> good afternoon, everybody. it's really exciting to be here. i think many of us have been doing this work for a long time and have been waiting for moments like these and how do we capitalize on these opportunities and i want to thank the foundation for all of the work that they have been doing for criminal justice reform and congratulate the
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grantees for their willingness to enter into this journey. as folks have talked about today this is really a remarkable moment in time not just in terms of the revolution and the reformed her justice system, but particularly the confluence of the implementation of the affordable care act as it relates to people with substance use and mental health disorders. i can't remember a time when it's been cooler to be working with drug policy than right now as we think about the historic events that we have before us. and quite honestly at least when it comes to criminal justice reform and bipartisan reform that we have at all levels of government. this course is changing from supporting draconian measures to addressing mass incarceration in a thoughtful and systemic manner. i think with the energy, bipartisan support, commitment, creativity and perseverance being applied to this movement,
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i remain confident that reductions in incarceration request become a reality and we can ensure public safety. we've been brought together to find solutions to this disturbing problem. the overuse of incarceration and criminalization of poverty race and disease. this is no small undertaking, but you have been selected because macarthur knows you're the best people to take on this challenge. like youshgs the administration is concerned about who is behind bars, and how we can make the justice system more fair humane and cost effective. the national drug control strategy is the obama administration's primary blueprint for drug policy. u.s. drug policy in the 21st century is anchored in science and recognizes that drug use is a public health concern. effective drug policy leverages public health and public safety resources in a coordinated man
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for the overarching goal of reducing drug use and the consequences. it is a critical platform of our efforts to reform drug policy. for us drug policy has been putting evidence above dog ma addressing our nation's health and concerns using sky tones support our decisions. not being loing people away because we're mad at them, because they have a substance use disorder, but because they pose a threat to the safety of our communities. for too long we have used the criminal justice system to address substance abuse disorders. when science began studying addictive behavior in the 1930s, people with substance abuse disorders were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. these were bad people doing bad things. any discussion of substance abuse disorders was relegated to the shadows. steeped in stigma and discrimination. we use punitive rather than therapeutic responses. the time has come to treat
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substance use disorders as the chronic disease we know it to be, like diabetes and hypertension. we would not allow them to spiral further into their illness without trying to assist them and we can no longer describe to addiction or wait until a run-in with the law provides a good opportunity for intervention and treatment. this is my professional mission, but it is also a part of my personal past, despite the fact that i exhibited the classic risk factors for addiction my illness progressed unscreened, undiagnosed, untreated until my own intersection with the criminal justice system encouraged me to seek care. unfortunately, for many my story and my journey are not unique and while the justice system should play a critical role from the arrest and incarceration the social service systems must do better at early intervention and more timely access to care
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before someone's use puts them in contact with the law. that is what ondcp is doing. moving this discussion front and center and bringing it into the light of day and working on solutions. fortunately, ground breaking discoveries about the revolutionizing are understanding the disease of addiction and supporting the public health responses and not just a legislative approach. they have allowed for more than just changes and sentencing. the change reflects an understanding of the need to protect societiy from the most dangerous individuals while providing solid alternatives for individuals with nonviolent drug and other offenses. our administration wants to make certain scarce resources are applied in the most effective manner supporting evidence-based alternatives to arrest an incarceration that can meet the needs of justice-involved individuals. we are working to ensure that
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evidence-based responses are the norm. screening for substance use disorders, effective treatment including medication-assisted treatment and overdose prevention efforts and recovery support. without these viable alternatives how can we expect anything to change? we join you today in support of our mutual goal. diverting more people from jails and prisons and toward community-based solutions that will both hold them accountable and allow them to be with their families, live in their communities and be treated with decency and respect. in fact we would like nothing better than for individual of substance abuse disorders to remain out of the system if at all possible primary and specialized health care programs should be providing preventive services and treatment and not just the criminal justice system. jails are too often being used to detain the right individuals, and disenfranchised from communities of color struggling with the disease. it would be far better to
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identify people that need help much earlier in the process and connect them to services. for individuals with substance use disorders using evidence-based health-focused screening tools and risk and needs assessments should be fully integrated into the justice process. we should be screening people out, not in. on the federal level we're trying to establish systems and processes that can help you respond to the needs of your community. the federal government plays a critical role, but we know that local governments are the incubators for innovation and effective strategies. we learn from you, your exper experimentation and your determination to tackle head-on these intractable problems. you are in a powerful position to turn the criminal justice system upside down and inside out. to make it effective and more importantly, fair and compassionate. i wish you all the best in charting a new course and look forward to your work together. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> thank you so much director, for your inspiring words and leadership on this issue. i know the sites who are here today and across the network will carry forward your message and the administration's message as their work gets under way. the intersection between substance abuse and disorders is one you will all face as a challenge in your jurisdictions. and now let's celebrate. i'm what's standing between you and this fabulous reception next door which should provide you some sustenance in advance of two incredibly difficult days ahead where you will hear a lot of really good information and have a very very challenging schedule. it is the challenge, the safety and justice challenge. so before you proceed to the reception, just let me give you a little bit of housekeeping. for those of you staying at the hotels here in town we have three busses available this evening to go back down the


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