tv Discussion on Criminal Justice Reform CSPAN August 17, 2015 1:00pm-2:35pm EDT
movement in this country as we are learning to peacefully coexist with animals and respect them not as our inferiors, but as our co hab tants of this planet. >> jeff cur is general counsel for the ethical treatment of animals and you can follow him on peta.org. thank you for being here this morning. >> my pleasure. thanks for having me. >> that will do it for "washington journal," see you tomorrow and we hope you have a great day. we'll see you then. c-span3 programming today focuses on law and criminal justice. next, a discussion on incarceration and race. they look at reversing the trend of overcriminalization, particularly in communities of color and how incarceration perpetuates poverty, after that, reverend al sharpton, tvone's roland martin and benjamin crump
talk about police accountability, criminal justice, voting rights and the 2016 election. community activists and journalists look at the challenges of poverty, gang violence and drug addiction in low-income communities in what's being done to address them. tonight at 9:30 p.m. on c-span, washington post executive editor marty baron talks about threats to freedom of expression across the world, covering world events and the state of journalism. early last year russian authorities were given the power to block websites without any official explanation. almost immediately four russian opposition websites were blocked. by the summer of last year, speech on the internet was constrained even further. new rules required anyone with the daily online audience of more than 3,000 people to
register with russia's internet oversight agency. names and contact details were to be provided and bloggers would be held liable for anything deemed misinformation, including in comments from members of the public. late last year a new russian law required the data about russian users be stored on computer servers within the country, that way russia would have easy access to information about the use of facebook, twitter, google and other services. the russian government already had an arsenal of laws it could use against those speaking freely. the new rules created additional risks. bloggers were more likely to muzzle themselves for fear of fines and criminal prosecution, many of the rules are considered vague and confusing, but ambiguity is often a weapon in
the hands of government and that is the case in russia today. as george packer wrote in the new yorker, in russia vladimir putin has been masterful at creating an atmosphere in which there are no clear rules so that intellect alls and artists stifled themselves in order not to run afoul of vague laws and even vaguer social pressure. >> this dartmouth college event on journalism features new york times washington post editor. this is tonight on c-span. >> next, the justice department's community policing ronald davis and black lives matter, alicia garza take part on the discussion on incarceration, the criminal justice system and race. they look at reversing the trend at overcriminalization, particularly in communities of color and how incarceration
perpetuates poverty. the center for american progress hosted this event. good morning. my name is winnie stackelford and i'm the executive vice president at the vernt for american progress. thank you all for joining us today for our important conversation about criminal justice reform. we are proud, so very proud to be hosting it with pico national network. the united states is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's jails and prisons. a 500% increase over the past 30 years. these trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and a rapidly expanding penal system despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of
achieving public safety. while acknowledging the need to continue working toward keeping our communities safe, the impact of overcriminalization and overincarceration resonates throughout our country. between 70 and 100 million americans or as many as one in three have a criminal record. a criminal history carries lifelong barriers that can block successful re-entry and participation in our society. this has broad implications not only for the millions of individuals who are prevented from moving on with their lives and becoming productivity is zens, but also for their families, communities and the national economy. today, a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of our poverty, presenting obstacles to employment, housing, public
assistance, education, family reunification and more. one recent study finds that our nation's poverty rate would have dropped by 20% from 1980 to 2004 if not for mass incarceration and subsequent criminal records that haunt people for years after they have paid their debt to society. in fact, a criminal record makes achieving economic security nearly impossible. the impact of mass incarceration on communities of color is particularly staggering any is a significant driver of racial inequality in the united states. people of color make up more than 60% of the population behind bars. recent events in baltimore and other american cities highlighted many of the challenges facing our communities. high poverty, lack of opportunity and rampant inequality. they have also shown a light on
serious questions about police practices and the tensions between our community members and the law enforcement officials sworn to protect them helping to further fuel the call for comprehensive criminal justice reform. the center for american progress entered the criminal justice reform space to add our voice and resources to the vital policy debate and the efforts to reform the criminal justice system at the state and federal level. we are working to make the criminal justice system more equitable and more fair. this work includes urging policy changes that would keep our communities safe while ending mass incarceration and overcriminalization particularly as it impacts poor communities and communities of color. supporting policies that remove barriers to socioeconomic opportunities for those with criminal records and supporting ways to address the racial and socioeconomic inequities within the criminal justice system
itself. many of the reforms being discussed would actually promote and enhance the safety of our communities. we are very proud to be collaborating with pico national network to present today's discussion about how we can begin to reverse the trend of overcriminalization of people upon color and address its lasting consequences including reforming policing practices and removing barriers to opportunity for people with criminal records. you're in for a treat today. next, we're going to have pastor michael mcbride, director of urban strategies and live free campaign, pico national network who will deliver some opening remarks. pastor mike as we all prefer to call him, pastor mike will then be followed by heather ann thompson, professor of history at the university of michigan who recently served on a national academy of sciences blue ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the united
states. she will then present the panel's findings and finally todd cox who is caps' senior fellow for criminal justice reform will lead a fantastic panel discussion on these issues so thank you again for being here and now i turn it over to pastor mike. [ applause ] >> it's great to be here and we're glad to be able to partner with the center for american progress and i certainly do work for pico, and i am a black preacher and i will read my remarks because i can easily become intoxicated with the exuberance of my owner havebocity, and they tell me i have a time limit. >> one day a man was walking along the bank of a river and saw a baby floating downstream and he quickly jumped into the water to pull the baby out, and another woman walking down the
riverbank and saw another baby in the water and she jumped in to pull the baby out. not soon thereafter they both noticed there were more babies floating down the river and they both began to jump in and pulled as many babies out of the water as they possibly could. after engaging in these life-saving acts for quite some time, they realized there were still babies coming down the river. so they both looked at each other and said we have to go as far upstream to find out who exactly is throwing these babies into the water. this is a metaphor for how many of us in the pico network, people of faith across the country, community members for incarcerated folks and all of us who find ourselves caught in this current of floating down the river. we used this metaphor to help remind us that our quest for seeking justice in the cities where too many of our loved ones are drowning down a river of8ik lack of opportunity over criminalization and incarceration, violence that we
n ve responsibility to not just) have conversations, but to actually go as far upstream as we can to change the system, structures and conditions that make these realities even possible. i believe we have a sacred moment and a unique occasion to rise up and meet this challenge because the blood of the innocents are crying out to us from the streets. the pain of the excluded are reverberating from city to city and the demands for reform and even in some places, revolution are bubbling up from every corner of our country, and yet all of us who are participating in these efforts and movements must resist the urge to take the easy way out. and doing what i call a race to the bottom rather than achieving the kind of transform tiff structural reform and change they believe our families deserve.
sadly, i believe we have not yet risen to the challenge. i come here today just a few days removed from participating in some non-violent, peaceful protests in our city of oakland led by some courageous black women who were joining in national days of action to say her name, to highlight the many, many women who are being lost to state violence and the response of our city leaders who claim to be progressive or democrats or similar to the response of many other cities where this has happened where we have quote, unquote, progressive leadership and there was responsive tear gas, arrests, detainment, intimidation, military-style weapon and tactics that i believe should not be in the streets of our neighborhoods and cities. which brings me to this quote that dr. kick often said and i read it all of the time, or maybe i'm just reading the same quote over and over and over
again where he says i've almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the negroes' great stumbling block is not the ku klux klan, but the white moderate more devoted to order than to justice. today i will modify it to include black moderates, latino moderates and all of us that have reached the place of power and privilege that makes us more inclined to reach for order and justice. this is why in our work we believe that every revolution must first be an internal revolution. a revolution of our values, our heart, our mind and our souls. indeed, on our watch, the prison industrial complex has quintupled, indeed on our watch, we have seen the expansion of the criminalization of people of color taking on many manifestations including the internalizing of that even in our own communities and the
concretizing of that in the public imagination. these conditions have reached a tragic concern level, and i believe, as people of faith, we are not just fighting for the future of our country. we are fighting for the soul of our nation. so in the spirit, the millions of people that represent the pico network are with the prophetic declaration of these conversations and movements about reform. we have listened to thousands of voices from incarcerated young people. many of them are here today. we have attempted to help facilitate the coalescing of demands and concerns and strategies, and we believe that these strategies will continue to inform our countries coming out of the wilderness of mass criminalization and hopefully leading us into a future where all of us are able to live free from incarceration, violence and exclusion. some of you will hear very
powerful voices today that we have gathered in partnership with the center for american progress. many of these folks are leaders in their own right and we are so blessed and humbled that they have joined this forum with us. their voices are stand alone voices and their wisdom, i believe, can be very informative for all of us. we want to scale up a movement of justice and fairness that is grounded in the truth that all black lives matter. that brown lives matter. that the lives of poor, marginalized people are not expendable in this democracy. we will continue to insist and believe that those who created the policy apparatus that makes mass criminalization possible should not have a free pass to super intend the process to restructure, repair and heal the harm. many of the solutions, we believe, lie in the collective experiences and wisdom of those who have endured these realities and still have the love and
resilience to stand up proudly and proclaim and fight for their own freedom. so today we start here with cat, and for the third time we will participate in a delegation leading into the white house to ask for an executive order to ban the box, to make sure some 30 million jobs can be available to those who have served their time and are now in need of full inclusion back into our communities and we'll go to the senate and we'll go to the house and we'll carry these messages and we invite you all to join us as we raise this banner, as we go as far upstream as we possibly can and meet the occasion that is before us. i'll close with the words of isaiah the prophet, and please don't be mad at me. this is the prophet speaking. they killed the prophet so i guess some of them were mad when they spoke, but i want to live a little while longer, if i can.
the prophet says i can't stand any more of your special meetings, conferences, weekly worship services. meetings for this, meetings for that, i hate them. you've worn me out and i'm sick of your religion while you go right on doing wrong. when you put on your next performance of prayer and speaking no matter how long or loud you speak i will not be listening. do you want to know why? because you've been tearing people to pieces and your hands are bloody. go home, wash up, clean up your act, sweep your lives clean of your evil doings so i don't have to look at them any longer. say no to wrong. learn to do good. work for justice. help the down and out. stand up for the homeless. go to bat for the defenseless. this is the moral call that we, the pico network are bringing to this work and we're very excited to be making this journey with all who are willing to fight for
the lives of our loved ones. god bless you. let's have a great conversation today. [ applause ] >> good morning. so i'm very honored to be here with you this morning to offer you an overview of a report that i had the honor to participate in. it was a two-year study that we think will be very helpful to all of us assembled here today that are very interested in doing the important and vital work of criminal justice reform. i was privileged to serve as a member of a consensus panel convened by the national research council to address one of the most important nations -- one of the most important of our nation's issues which is the fourfold increase in rates of incarceration over the last four decades. our task was to examine this and to come up with some recommendations for how we might remedy it. our panel was convened by the national research council and was actually organized by the national academy of sciences
which is an esteemed organization that was chartered by congress in 1863 by the lincoln administration and its intent was to serve as a source of independent, research-based advice for the government and to society. in this case, the research was assembled by a group of panelists, 20 scholars from around the country who came together, as i said, over two years with a very, very specific charge. the specific charge was to ask these questions. what changes in u.s. society and public policy drove the rise in incarceration? what consequences have these changes had for crime rates. what effects are those on confinement on families and children and neighborhoods and communities and so forth and what are the implications for public policy of the evidence on causes and effects of high rates of incarceration? our report was subject to
anonymous external review by groups of scholars and policy experts followed by the national research council and the reason i mention that is we hope this report will arm you and help you to get the information that you might need to take to your communities and indeed to help you to go forth conducting your own work on this issue. let me quickly highlight our main conclusions. some of these will be obvious to you, but it will have weight given where this came from. the growth of incarceration rate over the past 40 years is historically unprecedented and internationally unique. historically, unprecedented because we might notice that the incarceration rate despite flukt raisings remain relatively stable until suddenly it did not when it went through the roof. indeed, we are an international outlier of virtually any country and indeed today we now have -- excuse me, more people in prison
than any other country, western democracy or not. it's also important that we recognize formally in this research report that this incarceration did not fall evenly on all americans. it was severely, racially disproportionate and it also include the mentally ill and it was inclusive of people living in poverty. indeed, incarceration rates for african-americans have been four and a half to six and a half times higher than whites and incarceration rates for hispanics have been two to three times higher than for whites. the committee also found that it was ratified by levels of incarceration. the incarceration rate for black men with very little schooling is more than 100 times higher than for white men who have been to college. by beginning with the historical perspective in our report which we invite you to read and we invite you to download this report and to access it, we've explored mary things and first starting the underlying causes
and how is it that we came to this term of events? we underlined and located several causes. indeed crime rates did begin to rise in the late 60s and we didn't locate that so much in rising crime rates. we located this in a policy. responding to civil rights unrests and demand in the streets and decided that disorder and crime was synonymous. this was a political decision and as a political decision, that's something that we can change, and i'll talk about that in a minute. we also talked about the direct causes. again, these will be familiar to many of you and we criminalized spaces in a big way with the drug war and we overhauled sentencing and it was a direct cause of such a high rate of incarceration. indeed, the volatile political environment provided fertile ground for these rapid changes and policies and we discussed and went through in determining
sentencing, laws reducing judge's discretion and truth in sentencing laws and so forth. the bottom line, though is that we chose this policy and that choice brought vast changes to our policy and the primary one being the unprecedented incarceration rates, but the thing is that if we chose it that means we can unchoose it and the research in our report indicate why we must do still. first of all, a report indicated that increased incarceration rate did not relate to an appreciable crime, and that was very important particularly when taking this out into the community. indeed, not only did it not lead to an appreciable decline in crime, but indeed, we also found that it did not have a strong deterrent effect. long sentences, for example, did not have a strong deterrent effect on people and therefore had its own negative impact.
and yet, if it didn't work it certainly had a whole lot of other negative impacts which we also document in the report. we know, for example, it had a terrible effect on people in prisons and we also know that it had a terrible effect on communities outside of prisons, particularly communities of high rates of incarceration, concentrated incarceration. i won't belabor these and we'll hear more about this, but of course, everything from severe unemployment, rising rates of poverty, weakening of family bonds, children losing parent, and i can go forward. this all adds up to our main conclusion that we've gone past the point where the numbers of people in prison could be justified by any potential benefits and indeed, the consequences of this have been so far reaching it will be quite a task to undo it, but one that we must. i will leave you with principles that we also came to based on our research and these are relative normal principles and
we hope this will help arm us as we go forward. we have policy recommendations, as well, at the end of our report which i'll invite you to look at, but we suggest that these pol sos need to be important and these are policies that are living in a democracy. the principle of proportionality requires that people who have committed crimes would be sentence in proportion to their offense. the principle of parse mony requires that the period of confinement should never be greater than is necessary to achieve a legitimate social purpose. the committee observed, for example, that many of the sentencing statutes enacted over the past four decades failed to have the longstanding democratic juris prudential principles. the principle of citizenship that requires humane treatment of those in prison and has been embraced by the international community and federal courts in numerous places that we have abandoned and indeed how these
principles have been strained by the current corrections policies and practices. and finally our committee that is based in science and the literature came up with the overwhelming principle of social justice which would require that prisons should be viewed as social institutions that must not undermine the well-being of members of society. indeed, pursuing this principle were to require greater attention, oversight, transparency and more regarding the role of prisons and society. >> so again, these guiding principles and imperical findings and the overriding recommendation that we must reverse course and reduce the levels of incarceration and then we had actual sentence -- i'm sorry, policy recommendations, overhauls the sentencing policy and recommending that we eliminate or at least re-examine mandatory minimum sentences and long sentences in the enforcement of drug laws. that we reinvestigate prison
policy, improving the conditions of confinement and reducing the harm to families and communities of those who were incarcerated and finally, to assess the social needs of the community, housing, treatment for mental illness and employment and all of the things that both have created so much trauma in communities and indeed the incarceration has made far worse. so i thank you for your attention. [ applause ] and i gave you a quick overview and it is my understanding we can take questions. this is a 500-page report and i will put the slide up. if you're interested in it you can go to the website and it is something you can download and it has charts, issue briefs and all kinds of information that we hope will be of use to you and i'm certainly willing to answer questions, as well. yes, ma'am?
how many scholars were directly impacted by the growth of incarceration. two question, the other one is why structural discrimination which in my humble opinion is the elephant in the room not listing as the underlying cause not listed for the cause of incarceration. >> okay? no. wonderful question. we had at least one of the members -- one of the scholar members was formally incarcerated. the requirement of the national academy is to put together the committee was a scholarly requirement. that is to say, we had to have various recommendations that we brought from our own work. for example, i'm a historian. we also had sociologists and we also had political scientists and we did very much make sure that in our review of the literature that we took the voices, the concerns and indeed, the experiences of the formerly incarcerated very seriously. one of the key members on the
committee, craig hainy who has done a tremendous amount of work on solitary confinement and we had a real imperative on this committee to make sure that when we were doing studies they were not just topdown studies and we also very much took seriously again the voices of the people who were mostly impacted on this and what was the second? i'm sorry. the structural discrimination. i would invite you to look at chapter 4 of the report. even though our actual -- what we came down to are actual policy recommendations were limited in number, the report and those recommendations came out of a very deeply historical analysis of the root causes of this and while i highlighted a few of them, i think in chapter 4 you will find that we paid great attention to policy and so forth. again, that would be chapter 4. yes? go ahead. >> good morning. thank you. i'm reverend fisher stewart with calvary episcopal church, and i
ask this question based on the 20 years i spent patrolling the streets of washington, d.c., as a police officer. part of the growth of the incarceration involves inputs. the police are the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, and so how do you -- what we've seen with baltimore and other places, the justice department is supposedly providing oversight on police departments. how do you recommend that we first deconstruct the police culture because if the police are the gate keepers, you have to deconstruct that mission before you can change the police. and so how do you see, say, the faith community and policymakers coming together to first deconstruct the mission of the police. >> it's a wonderful question, and i have to -- excuse me, answer it in two ways. as a committee member and as the
committee we did look at policing and policing did not end up on recommendations and by extrapolation are the recommendations that feed the policies that feed into such high rates of incarceration and certainly will begin with the immediate implementation of the policies on the ground which is policing. speaking to you as an individual and myself as a justice fellow and someone who works on these issues as an advocate myself, i do think the issue of policing is front and center is very much linked to issues of incarceration much more so even than it was when we embarked upon this report and i credit the people in the streets about making the case program people have spoken and made clear that we can't talk about incarceration about policing and i welcome your comment and certainly as an advocate i really support that and i think we can't change that culture and i can't change that implementation if officers on the street are expected to continue this low-level policing of drugs, for example.
great question. >> apparently, i am not allowed to take more questions. time is up and we'll move forward to our panel, i'm sorry. to todd. thank you. [ applause ] >> good morning. my name is todd cox and i'm a senior fellow for criminal justice reform. as we've been discussing, the broken criminal justice system manifested by the overincarceration and overcriminalization is a major driver of inequality and
particularly racial inequality and poverty in this country. it has important civil rights implications and human rights implication and not the least of which can achieve the opportunity for us to live a life without barriers to economic security and human dignity. we should be prepared to answer important questions such as what obligation as a society do we have to one another in this regard and what are the consequences to all of us if we failed to restore just toys our communities and acknowledge the humanity of our fellow community members. how do we ensure that we seek out the input of those impacted the most in answering the questions and what can we do to strike the proper balance which was in reference before between works the community safe and free from crime and violence while at the same time addressing the structural inequities in the justice system that we've been identifying. today we are proud to welcome this distinguished panel to help us sort through these questions and more. we don't have a lot of time.
we will reference or invite you to take a look at our website for the bio, but i'll introduce them briefly. we have reverend hebert brown iii from baptist church in north baltimore. judith conte, federal coordinator at the employment law project. ronald davis, director of the policing services at the u.s. department of justice and pastor darren ferguson, mount carmel baptist church in far rockaway, new york. and finally, alicia co-founder of black lives matter. i'll start with you, reverend ferguson, if i could, could you please talk about your work in new york and how that has informed what you see as we need for the criminal justice reform in this country. >> sure. i'm a formerly incarcerated individual and spent eight years and eight months of my life in the new york prison system, 16 months on rikers island and seven and a half years mostly at sing sing and after the release
in 1998 i started working with several organizations, exodus transitional community and working on what eventually became re-entry. it was just -- at that point it was just, you know, guys getting out of jail and doing it out of the back of our cars. we had extra socks and stuff and we would pick them up in jail and take them home and doing the work they did and getting into ministry and different things we found that, you know, there's a lot of imbalance in terms of what's happening when people get out of prison. so what's happening is in new york state, for example, you get out of prison and you get $40 that belongs to you that you take over the course of the year and i don't know if they give you a metro card anymore, i got out 17 years ago, and i don't know what the policy is now and they send you home and give you these great things that don't -- they maintain employment, be home before 9:00 at night and
all of this stuff and so what happens is you have all of these folks who come home and they feel alienated from society and they can't get jobs and they're afraid to go to a job interview and they'll ask the magic question that frightens anybody that's ever been incarcerated. have you ever been convicted of a crime ? there is a feeling across the board, there is no place for me, there is no hope for me so what else can i do? to their credit, myself and others have progressed past those points and been able to do things like what i'm doing through organizations like faith in new york who is working. through organizations like new york theological seminary, through organizations like healing communities, we've been able to get people to understand that it's not -- i always tell
folks who get out of prison it's not your net worth it's your network and networking is the way to get past this. what we're doing is working with faith and new york to get fair hiring practices for people who were formerly incarcerated. what we've been doing is working with different re-entry organizations to make sure that people get the training and the things that they need in order to readjust themselves into society in a proper way and also just being able to be there for people. as a formally incarcerated person, one of the things i can do is talk to people who have the conversations with individuals to help them re-enter society and know that it's possible and it's one of the things that people don't see the possibilities. and it covers a lot of the work that we've done so far. >> it's great. thank you very much. judy, i think this is a good segue to you. we're discussing mass incarceration and overcriminalization and what impact to remove the barriers in employment and across the board would have on that conversation?
>> you can't talk about criminal justice reform without looking at what happens once people get out and once they have that record. because as a society we just continue to punish people over and over again. we often don't let them vote so they can't even have a say in the democratic process through which laws are passed about criminal justice. we erect almost insurmountable barriers to getting employment and reemployment when someone comes out of incarceration is the single most important factor in preventing recidivism, giving people that sort of opportunity. we are so glad to be working with the pico national network and many other groups in this work that we call the fair chance hiring practices. we've talked about the bay in the box movement to make sure that the question about criminal records can't be asked on the initial job application. that it has to happen further along the process.
when someone already understands that you are a qualified individual with something to offer that employer, and we find that when people get vested in an applicant and they ask the question later in the process, they're willing to listen to the explanation. they're willing to judge the person on the entirety on their merits much more so than they are than if that little box is checked and then they go through the individualized assessment that's required by the eeoc guidelines on the records and they decide whether or not there is a business necessity to refuse to hire somebody and it's just such an important tool in giving people that chance. so we're very excited that this moment is happening in criminal justice reform and that it is happening in a genuine, not even bipartisan, sort of an omni partisan way because people from all walks of life have recognized that what we've done hasn't worked and that the ways that we can continue to punish people long since they've paid their debt to society just
offends all notions of justice and decency and morality. >> thank you. director davis, i'm going to switch gears a little bit and we've been talking a lot about the tensions between local law enforcement and communities. can you talk about what the department of justice is doing to try to respond to this, and also from your perspective, how we strike the public balance and public safety and removing crime and violence and reforming law enforcement in such a way that we have fair and equitable criminal justice system. >> first, good afternoon -- good morning, everyone. i don't think you've departed too far from the topic of re-entry because that is a significant part of how we reform the system is recognizing the impact on people across the board. i spent 30 years in law enforcement before i became the director of the cop's office, and i watched my evolution as a cop and i think back when i was in 1985 when i became a police
officer in oakland, and i remember for those around in the '80s and late '80s and we started dealing with the crack epidemic and with regard with the war on drugs and mass incarceration and it was in 1985 and asked me about re-entry, i would have told you i believe in it wholeheartedly and my job is to re-enter parolees back into the system because there is not a second chance at redemption and apparently those are completely wrong and i became chief in 2005 of the community in east palo alto, and i had the honor of meeting a formerly incarcerated person who educated me and touched my soul in part by saying people deserve second chances and more importantly, as we started working re-entry together we started seeing the impact of reducing recidivism, the impact of policing community relations are strong and if i can offer this, we are probably at one of the most defining moments that i've seen since
i've been in this arena and probably in the last 40 or 50 years, we had the opportunity and quite frankly the obligation to redefine policing in a democratic society. people are talking about a cultural shift and we have to start with what is the role of police in a democratic society. to borrow a phrase from dr. king, he used it in regard to war how peace is not just the absence of war. it's the presence of justice. public safety cannot be the absence of crime, it must also include the presence of justice and so we have to change what we want the role to be for policing. so mass incarceration, statistical drops in crime cannot be the priority of public safety or law enforcement. so what the department of justice has to work on my office focused specifically on community policing. we offer services from police departments to look at their operations and their assessments, to work with the community to provide progress reports. we provide training and provide issues of implicit bias which is
a huge issue of why people do what they do and have the impacts and the justice department has civil rights division and the pattern and practice investigation most recently, and the agreement in cleveland. ferguson report, and we have a lot of services, and i think the way we respond to crisis, the way we have the country is one. the attorney general said it best that we cannot utilize local law enforcement. there is a reason why we created 16,000 departments and it was about local control, but we can help set up standards by which the 16,000 agencies should be able to follow and we should assure that whether there are two officers or 20,000 that they're engaging in a constitutional policing and the impact of the community is the same. we can also provide training and guidance, we can identify best practices and working with the community to ensure that we're doing it the right way. i also point to in december, and
the 21st century task force in policing. and you really want this task force to identify a couple of things and address a couple of questions and how do we build trust between the communities and the police department so we can ensure we have the public safety they we all deserve, and for about three months, four month, there say report out and we just released in may that identifies 60 concrete recommendations on how to proceed for it and what i would recommend moving forward as community leaders, civil rights leaders, teachers, community member, law enforcement is to really look at those 60 recommendations and they range from looking at independent prosecutors to civilian oversight, to implicit training to hiring, to diversity. those core things that we know will get to the systems that are at play. too often in this country, we make the debate about good officers and bad officers and that does come into play. we need to hire right cops to do the job effectively, but as someone said earlier, and maybe one of the speakers is not just
about good officers and bad officers. we r systems that will make that good officers have bad outcomes that despite their best behavior the system was, in fact designed to have the outcome which is for the incarceration of young men of color. we are still operating in systems that were used to enforce jim crow laws and used to oppress people and these are operational systems and policies and practices that exist today. so a part of this is changing cultures of organization and changing the operational systems and questioning how we provide public safety services and questioning how we fight crime and you know, making sure you're empowered to ask your department and city the right questions about what they're engaged in and use the report as a report card. are you engaged in these following things? if not, turn it the department of justice and get assistance or follow some of the better examples and i'll close with this, we have a very unique opportunity to really transform policing in this country.
my son graduated from high school and he graduated from northwestern, and i have a a good title of the department of justice and i the same fear as a man of color. what happens when he walks down the street when he goes into chicago? it's not the indictment of law enforcement and it's the most noble profession it and i respect it across the board and we have a lot of things to fix and this is the time to do it. we need to push forward to find ways to bring the community together and make the civil rights movement not against the police and with the police. i'm seeing chiefs walking on demonstration lines and holding the sign saying black lives matter and all lives matter, and starting to recognize, and police unions are recognizing that we need to improve the relationships and i would ask that we come together and we
basically not make it support and it's easy to point blame, but can we get in the circle of change together and advance public safety for this country so that it doesn't make a difference what color my son is, that the only thing i should be worried about is the college and grades and whether he wants to bring me a grandchild too soon. [ laughter ] >> well, ms. garza, i would like to pick up something that director davis referred to and i'm characterizing as the democratization of justice. can we talk about how we can do a better job of incorporating the voices of the most impacted community members into this debate. what do you suggest we do to make that happen? >> so i think the first thing that's really important is to answer this question that mr. davis put forward which is what is the purpose and intent of policing? and you know, from one perspective, you could say that the purpose and intent of
policing is to solve problems, right? and from another perspective you could say that the purpose and intent of policing is to -- is to incarcerate people, right? to criminalize, to strip people of their rights and also to punish, and i think what we're seeing right now is a movement that's trying to push more towards the question of how do we solve problems and are police necessary for that? that's an honest question. i think the other thing that's really important is to understand that to deal with the question of criminalization we also have to deal with all of the issues that lead to it. so someone earlier said that, you know, poverty is inextricably connected to this question of criminalization and so if we're going to address that then we need to put the most impacted voices of folks who are in poverty, who are searching for jobs, who are without food, who are being criminalized for being poor, right?
at the center of the conversation and part of that is by having those folks shaped what the policies, practices and systems should look like because nobody knows better how to shift the trend of criminalization than those who have been criminalized and the final thing that i'll kind of put in the center of the table is not only do we need to center those voices, but we need to put folks who have been directly impacted by the systems that we're facing in positions of power. so it's not enough to have task forces. it's not enough to have a person who can speak to these issues. folks actually need to be able to make decisions that impact our lives. and until we're able to do that, we're not going to see a lot of the shifts that we desire and that's why in the opening remarks we heard, right, that it doesn't actually matter what the face looks like if the agenda is the same. so let's make sure that the people who want to move a more
progressive agenda are able to make those decisions. >> thank you very much. reverend brown, given your work in north baltimore, i want to talk to you a little bit about or ask you, you or ask you, referred to how to get the voices of those most impacted into the conversation. what issues are you seeing on the ground and in your work that aren't being translated into effective policy either at the state level or at the federal level to reform our criminal justice system? >> well, i think -- thanks again for the invitation. i think alicia hit it on the head when she talked about and referenced the power arrangement and who actually determining where resources go. i think we have to really just sit and settle there as my judgment and assistance from brothers would say we've got to lean into that discomfort and look at the ways in which the
power brokers and stockholders are not necessarily those effected by the institutional racism that is manifested in local communities. so i'm having a deja vu moment a little bit. i'm not an old guy, but i study history a little bit. and after the watts uprising in the '6 0z, some of these came kinds of settings happened and the same kind of report was produced that looked to some of the same issues, i look to reading your report and the 500 pages, i will get to it, but some of the same issues were addressed in the '60s after the watts arising. when harlem went up, some of the same setting, some of the same report, same recommendations happened in harlem as well. so when you talk about what do we need and bring into the conversation, i would say number one the conversations are already happening. they're just not happening here. they're happening in the local communities and the barbershops, beauty salons, on the corners in local communities where people are providing expert analysis ot not only the problem but also the solutions.
and i have a hunch, i don't know if this is true or not, but i have a hunch that the solutions that people are coming forth with in like gilmore homes and west baltimore and east baltimore are the kinds of situations that make us uncomfortable because it may mean us moving out of space of privilege and render to others who can speak best and most to these issues. in baltimore right now what that looks like is not only the legislative work we're doing as part of a wonderful organization we're involved with, a long and strong track record of working on these issues from legislative advocacy to op-eds and writing and everything else. community organizing, et cetera, et cetera. in addition to banging on the system as i'm terming it right now and banging on the system and going to annapolis and getting legislation passed, we also have to build for power. that is the piece as i study history i don't see that piece as put forward as strongly,
right? and so what the report and commission that came out after watts it was what can we do for them? and the report and commission that came out after harlem, what can we do for them, right? so it's this assumption at the base that if we just provide more then they'll calm down. and i think also on the other side of that i think is people who are directly effected by these issues of constitutionins racism say, now that the uprising is done let's wait for the experts to come in and fix it. i think i have to remember, why did i get invited to the center for american progress in the first place? it's because young people in baltimore said enough is enough. and all of the avenues that you have set up to deal with the issues that plague us are not working. and so we're going to do things our way. and then i get an invite to a wonderful panel. or alicia gets a -- speaking at wonderful conferences, right?
so i think remembering what got us here, all right, how do we continue to organize to build for power in such a way that continues to have us at the tables of negotiation and not at the kiddie table. in my family i got country roots in my family. my dad's from aiden, north carolina. my momma from a little dot called kilmonic, virginia. there was the adult table and then there was the kiddie table. and i was so excited when i graduated from the kiddie table to the adult table. at the kiddie table you had no right to say anything about what the adults were speaking about, right? so we looked over there but if we even act like we heard them, they would move over, mind your business. so we graduated to the adult table. why am i saying that? i'm saying that because i believe that as we're doing organizing on the ground in baltimore and oakland and new york and what have you, that
it's time to turn over the kiddie table and go to the adult table, move the adults away from the table and say this is the agenda we need to set up. baltimore looks like us feeding ourselves. one in four black people in baltimore live in the food d desert. until we in the midst of the uprising said, you know what, we need to start doing some of this stuff on our own because we can't wait for the benevolence of others no matter how well intentioned they are to come and save us in the midst of our trauma. and so we started feeding ourselves and creating a food system. and the midst of all that was going on that connected churches with farmers with colleges and universities. and i personally was driving -- alicia was on my church bus. i personally was driving food around the city along with our partners and our colleagues and feeding ourselves. and at the pennsylvania and north avenue -- i'm going to pass like the mic and i feel i need to shut down in a minute.
i feel my third point in my hoop coming. say very quickly i'll just say what we saw was we started to create the systems that we needed. and so near the pennsylvania north avenue watching on cnn and whatever else, the corner stores were effected to the degree that entire neighborhoods were starving because those corner stores were effected, right? and that's criminal even before all that went down. it's criminal that entire neighborhoods are relying on corner stores to eat, right? and so the midst of the uprising that picture crystallized and it was urgent for us to move forward on feeding ourselves. not only that but also on canvassing our own communities, right? we're not calling 911 for everything. let us move into spaces where we develop the training skills necessary and just be neighbors and sisters and brothers again so that we can help to engage some of the issues that might lead to interpersonal violence so that we don't even have to call 911 for everything.
and so you saw bloods and crips and black gorilla family and sisters and brothers marching just checking in on our family members. you okay? everything good over here. even in the midst of the curfew we're checking in with one another. basically i'm saying in addition to banging on the system, in addition to going to the white house and moving forward on legislation to ban the box, et cetera, et cetera, i think it is a mistake for those who are most directly effected by these issues to recline and wait for others to do it. we have to continue to build for power economically, socially and politically so that we can get to that adult table and say no more will we rely on the benevolence of a system that has an appetite for our destruction to decide our destiny. no more. [ applause ] >> tell me how you really feel? >> sorry. >> don't make me follow that. >> i won't.
in talking to a number of you on this panel we talked a little about this bipartisan moment that we're all observing or experiencing. and i want to ask each one of you to answer this question. what if any opportunities do you see for solving the problems you all identify getting to the adult table, pushing through in communities to take care of the predicates to entering the criminal justice system, resolving issues of implicit bias, to reducing barriers to folks who have records, what opportunities do you see to resolving all of those issues and more in this bipartisan moment, at the state level, at the federal level? i'll start with ms. garza. >> well, firstly, incarceration is incredibly expensive. and one thing that i think democrats and republicans can agree on is that it's an incredible waste of money. and certainly not an effective use of resources given all of the things that we are trying to
make sure has resources and funding. so that seems like an opportunity to me. i have to be honest though, when we talk about the bipartisan moment, we have to be very conscious of the fact that incarceration is also an industry and a business. >> yes. >> so until we remove the profit motive from putting people in cages and keeping them there for years and years and years and then having them under state surveillance for years and years and years and years, we're not going to make much progress. even in a bipartisan moment. so that's something that i think we need to be paying attention to moving forward. but again, i do think this question of how do we more effectively use our resources to promote the social good as opposed to continue to further social ills is a wonderful opportunity. >> yeah. you know, in terms of the post conviction barriers that we see, you know, we're seeing red
states and governors in red states passing laws issuing executive orders. alicia's right, a lot of it's from this notion that this doesn't make economic sense what we're doing. you know, i'm in rooms in d.c. there are people from sort of all spectrums are there because either it costs too much, it offends their religious sensibilities, they're worried about the civil rights implications. you know, from sort of all spectrums of the political sphere. and they're coming together at this moment and understanding that we've got to give people a second chance. and what i think is so important about that is what the reverend was talking about. that in and of itself was something can put formally incarcerated people right at the center of the solution. because once that first person gets a second chance in an employer's situation, and people know their story and they understand that this person has made a mistake, has accepted responsibility and has changed
their lives, or quite frankly they learn that maybe they didn't make a mistake. that the white kid two neighborhoods down didn't make as well, but they didn't get the chance that i did, who looked like i did, as a teenager got. that will be a way to start to open up the conversation about the racial systems that we have in this country that give some people a chance and other people not a chance. and about the never ending human capacity for redemption and to turn one's life around when that's needed. and i think that's one of the most tremendous tools. so we comment with public policy levers, but when people get that chance and other people have their eyes opened and their hearts opened and they understand that things aren't black and white, simple answers, yes or no, right and wrong, and that there's a lot of complexity to it. for me one of the things that's most exciting about this moment is the opportunity for people to
really learn from other people who have gone through the system about just how unfair and unjust it is no matter how it is that you got there. >> wow. i think a lot of the roots of this is in something i will call us versus them. the us versus them is that -- we're talking about closing prisons, right? there's an economic engine that is driven by prisons in different communities, especially in upstate new york, where i'm from. so they want to take away jobs from us by closing our prisons. and we can't let them do that. inside the prisons there's this tension between us and them. they want to keep us locked up so they are the enemy. in our churches they don't want to hear what the say of the lord so they are the enemy, or they don't go to church so they are the enemy, or they don't open a
bible, they open a quran so they are the enemy. they wear blue uniforms and carry guns, and they are on our streets. and they want to victimize us. and they are on the streets and they're committing crimes and they are a danger to us because we may not go home at the end of the day because something one of them does to us. and we have to, some of us have to live on this dangerous precipice of being us and them at the same time. i'm us and them at the same time. i'm us because i progressed to the point where i have a nice job. and i live pretty comfortably. me and my wife make a nice living. and i look at some of them on the corners and they are in affront to me because they are where i used to be, but they don't see that they can be where i am. and i live on the precipice of us versus them because even though i spent nine years of my life in new york state prisons, my father was a cop for 25 years
in new york city. so i went to a place where they put us and us lived in my house, us was my dad. they were my dad. so we have to start to transcend this difference between the kid table and the adult table and know that the kids have to have a voice because how can the adults properly raise the children and they don't know what the children need. and how can the children properly relate to the adults if they don't understand the adults' point. and we have to stop thinking that people are taking things away from us and realize that it's not an us versus them. because if we really dig deep, if we really look within ourselves we'll realize when we look at them they are us and we are them. and the only way to solve this is to come together at the table of brotherhood. cops aren't my enemy. even when i'm nervous and feel some kind of way when i get pulled over by a cop in my
neighborhood in the hood, i still need them because i want them to protect me. and even though that muslim over there has been vilified and demonized by the media as being somebody against american values, they are still us because i have muslim brothers and sisters who want their children to go to school just like i do. and correction officers want their children to go to school just like i do, because there's correction officers children go to school with my children and cops children go to school with my children, so at the end of it we're all in this big melting pot that means if we don't start doing something for ourselves, we're all doomed. we have to stop looking at it as who's trying to take things away and realize that all of us has something to offer. bring everybody to the table and let everybody have a voice. because at the end of the day everybody wants to say anything. i don't care if you're democrat, republican, white, black, young, old, southern, northern, we all want the same things. we want an opportunity of prosperi prosperity. we want an opportunity to live better lives. we want our children safe and
educated going to and where they go. we don't want to monitor our children at 15 years old because they might be shot dead on the street because of somebody that looks like them and police are afraid of them because what they've seen in the streets and they don't know us. we have to get to know each other. we have to sit down at the table of brotherhood. we have to have uncomfortable conversations. we have to make one another mad. we have to walk away and agree to disagree and not walk away saying i'm not having anything to do with them say they have a point and i may not like it and i may not be comfortable with it, but i have understand everybody. if we're going to truly, truly understand that the american values saying that everybody all men and women are created equal. and we have to stop that now saying all men are created weaker because all men, all women, all children, all black, all white, all christian, all muslim, all formerly incarcerated, all gay, straight, lesbian, whatever label you want to put on yourself, we're all god's children and we all have a place at the table and we have to fight for one another. because if you don't fient e fight for me, then we all lose.
[ applause ] >> reverend brown. >> one of my professors and seminary, dr. jerome ross, he said i'm a believer and a realist. the two are not the same. we would often say that. he would push us as preachers to stand and lean into the vision of what we can be. but not so much that you lose sight of where you are. and i'm so thankful for how the reverend just put forward -- i thought i was preaching. we went on revival for a moment how he helped to point us to a vision of where we can be. in light of where we are, i would just add that what sister alicia shared i think is particularly important as it relates to the realities of the bible called spiritual wickedness in high places. we had 17 bills in the last
maryland general assembly. earlier this year. 17 bills dealing with police accountability and transparency. and my brother, another member of the coalition, awesome brother, we're working going to annapolis from baltimore back and forth over this 90-day period. as we were building a statewide coalition to get something done, we learned pretty early on that these bills were not moving. in a very candid conversation with one of the leaders of the legislative black caucus in maryland, i said, delegate, we come down here every other day, we're buying these buses, we got to feed these people, we're bringing folk from baltimore every other day, why can't we get anything done on this legislation? and she said, very frankly, she said to me, reverend brown, she said, the police union puts money in all of our campaigns. >> uh-huh. >> she said and we can't pass anything if they don't like it. >> well.
>> the same thing came back to the fore when not long ago governor hogan vetoed legislation that would have enfranchised 40,000 people in baltimore alone with the right to vote. in the article wrote about rationale for vetoing that legislation. it said that the police union was not in agreement with giving people the right to vote after they have served their time. can i be a little weird about giving people a second chance. perhaps it's the system giving people another chance. when you think about people -- black people before they're even born, before they're even born having to face hurdles, societal and political hurdles, before i even come through the birth canal. we can look at how the tables are stacked in such a way before i even get here you're running before i can have my first birthday. so i think when you look at the
profit motive that you raised very important point which is why i go back to building for power in local communities. i am thankful for those who are doing the work at the federal level in trying to move things forward there, but i again remember watts. major legislation passed shortly before watts went up. people are like we just gave you the right to vote and this and that and the other and why are people still upset? i think a part of that may be because it just takes so long before my day-to-day reality's impacted by something that whoever's in the white house signs. and, too, when you look at the democrat and republican, in maryland, yes, we have a republican governor right now. but as pass the mic said earlier, democratic legislature. maryland's supposed to be a very progressive state, legislatively, politically, et cetera, et cetera, and still nothing moved. i think the opportunity is for local communities to continue to
build for power. continue to examine. with this question of how to improve relationship between the police and community, stop killing black people. >> please. >> stop killing brown people. stop killing. let's start before we walk into the sunset, can you stop killing us? let's just start there. and i mean that's what on the ground in baltimore it's really not that complicated. stop shooting. we really can -- the vestream i to go on, but we could shut down the whole conversation, send this back to the boss. stop killing black people, brown people, stop killing and marginalizing people and let's start right there and continue. if the onus is always on the community to show up with good nature and good heart to extend a hand and peace branch.
repentance is due for the system that helped to put us in this position right now. it is the police, it is the system of policing that must repennar repent. >> halleluijah. >> two things, i'm going to start with pass the left off had, i think we have to be careful not to say that he's wrong but i think it would be over simplistic to simply say stop, right? because if everything stopped today, a lot of the systems we have will still result in mass incarceration. there would still be very bad relationships. and i agree with you about one thing. i think one of the things we're learning is what was happening in some agencies and not all of them is to get reconciliation is the acknowledgment the role the police has played in oppressing communities of color. i think there has to be a starting point. i agree with you. the starting point has to be the acknowledgment and in some cases the apology. it was the police enforced jim crow. it was police result in the spirit outcomes.
ranging incarceration to even the use of deadly force, we acknowledge it. it's our policies even though we thought may well intended have resulted in deteriorating thousands of neighborhoods across this country. then i think web sit down and have that conversation. i do agree with you that it's hard to talk to someone you still feel is violating you at the very moment they're talking to you. i would say with this bipartisan moment is just make sure i would just really encourage especially talk about empowerment of local leaders. i agree about having people at the table that have the power. i would say the best way to have the power is to understand the system so that you can change the right part of the system. so this is a bipartisan moment. we see that there's a lot of support for issues of sentencing reform because as was just said it's very expensive to keep people in prison. but that's not the only part of the system in which you would want bipartisanship. so in other words just shutting down a system is insufficient. in some states that are doing very progressive, they're doing justice reinvestment. it's reinvesting the billions
we're using in incarceration back to the very community so that they can empower themselves and deal with the true culprit of crime and disorder in our communities, which is poverty, lack of education, opportunities and a lack of hope, job, things of that nature. but that money should be reinvested. so there's a lot of processes. we have a federal re-entry interagency group that the administration started. and they identify for example i think it was something like 30,000 or 40,000 barriers to people coming out of prison. just things you would never imagine. i started a re-entry program in california, something i learned i did not know as a policymaker. that was a person came up to me saying, you know, chief, this guy owes child support, so when he gets out of prison he didn't get his id card. i said how does he get a job then? that's the point. he doesn't. so six months from now he's going to be arrested for not paying child support. it was designed to do that.
he can't get housing because he's formally incarcerated. so if we're going to reform the system, make sure you empower and understand the system. that you know every part of it. if you want bipartisan support then it just can't be about sentence reform which is significant as the tip of the iceberg. it has to be about the reinvestment of the funds. it has to be about that you don't want to federalize the police and answers from d.c. are not going to come from d.c. put motto in a cop's office, our job is to fill the field. in some community in 18-year-old who lives out there every day, but how do you create the venue for them to speak to have power? power perceived is power achieved. how do we bring them to that table? that is the challenge i think local leaders here at the table have to grapple with how to get there. but i want to make sure we don't overcelebrate we want bipartisanship. it is occurring. i think we should embrace this moment. but it can't just be one aspect of the system. it has to be that system of mass
incarceration is not simply a lot of arrests. it's the arrest of front end, back end and everything in between that you would want bipartisanship to support it. >> thank you, director davis. i want you to answer this last question. you touched on the recommendations. there's 60 so recommendations. that's a lot. where are local police officers, our local police departments supposed to begin in terms of taking next steps to follow the re recommendations of your task force? >> probably, one is to recognize that the recommendations exist. and to take the time to read the report and to understand these are recommendations. i've said not recommendations of what we can do for you, because it's not these recommendations for local law enforcement and communities to do themselves. i think the second part is to acknowledge that there is a dramatic need for change. that there -- something has to change. and to understand why there is so much unrest and why people are so upset with the police. the third part, and i think this
is the critical part, is the acknowledgment of why we're standing here right now. and that the demonstrations are not just people who want to defy the law, it's an expression of people's frustration from being disenfranchised and mistrust for generations. it's hitting a level that's exploding. once the agencies understand the idea would be to sit down with the community. some of the recommendations we have i think the task force was brilliant in shifting it that we didn't say here's what you should do. because once again we're basically telling communities what to do. for example, oversight. they recommended that the court principles of survey and oversight should be there. that this checks and balance requires that. this is the task force. but it still requires local leaders, community members and local government to decide what's the best venue, format and structure for them and is not a one-size fits all. and this is where otherwise you are preaching from d.c. so i would really think the police departments should, one,
read it. should do an evaluation to see what recommendations they're implementing, which ones they're not. the community should do the same thing. and they should sit down together and figure out which ones are applicable to their community and implement it. we're putting grants out there to incentivize it, to support it. we're pushing for additional research to identify best practices. and we're going to keep trying to help at the federal level. but the keyword is help. because i agree with everyone here it has to be some of these issues have to be dealt with at the local level. >> thank you to all the panelists. we're going to open up for questions. by the way ms. garza has to make a flight back home. [ applause ] pastor mike's going to join our panel for the q and a. >> my question is this, you
can't get to locking 2 million people up and it not be bipartisan. so y'all are saying this is a bipartisan right now. my oppression was bipartisan. white supremacy and racism is bipartisan. so this is a special moment for my freedom when being locked up is not that, by the way i'm the person that helped coin the term ban the box. so at a certain point when we talk about banning the box to the most part unless we change it to fair chance and allow other people to move it forward, we won't even get credit for our own voice. it will be taken over and usu usurped by educated people, that doesn't necessarily mean it will empower anybody. so when y'all talk about ban the box and you don't attribute it to a body of people that actually been fighting for over a decade to get equal rights, then you actually doing us a disservice because it will d disempower us. >> i agree. if i could just respond to that quickly. in a lot of the work we've done around bander box and even with
the new york city council with faith and the pico network, it's a nice gesture, it's a conversation that needs to go further. it's not a be all end all. there's ways around it. in most legislations i've read there's not enough teeth to really punish employers for not following the mandate. so it's really just the beginning -- it's one of those symbolic victories that we need to fight for that we need to continue to fight for which starts a larger conversation which reverberates into further policy change and into exactly what you're talking about. >> if i could add one thing to that. to dorsey's point. i think this is responsibility at the federal level, i watched him in east palo alto basically knock on 1,000 doors, hit the streets, and do the work and come up to start whether it was oakland or berkeley, city by city going council meetings and doing it.
and goes to what the previous panel talked about about the movement and making things happen. that does start to dissi pappapt te. i think if we keep our eye on the ball, this movement, this opportunity, i still say it's bipartisan moment because i think you may be right there are policies on all sides of the aisle led to mass incarceration, going to take that same bipartisan movement to end it. but i think we keep our eye on the ball that it's usually those that are engaged in the battle. those that someone said are the receiving end of the service of the lack thereof or even the oppression that has some of the solutions. and we can't forget that. and as you're right as we get fancy titles and all the things that go with it and sit at the white house and things like that, we have to remember where this stuff comes from, who was the creator of it. so i think that's a very good reminder for us as we go about our days and we go about our meetings not to forget where this is coming from, quite
frankly. >> thank you. i'm jackie zimmerman. i'm at the department of education, but i'm not here representing the department. i'm here for my own learning. mr. davis, i have a question for you. for your -- regarding the recommendations to police departments around the country. what if their response is something like, hell no. and i'm asking about the consequences. for example the southern poverty law center has uncovered in florida that because of the zero tolerance policy in schools if a child as young as 8 years old for example forgets his or her belt on their uniform, they get taken out of school, they get put in adult prisons 23 hours a day solitary confinement, the parents lose -- the child becomes a ward of the state and the parent lose right to their
child. what are the consequences for that? from the federal level? or any level? >> so the consequences for violating constitution could lead to activities we've seen in things like cleveland and ferguson. but those are extreme levels. we're not going to litigate our way into police reform. a lot goes back to the consequences for not doing good policing. the greatest consequence the police department should be worrying about is the community. not me in d.c. they should be worrying about the empowering community that tells that mayor that you're not engaged in effective policing and community policing and so we get to hold you accountable through the electoral process, through the democratic process, through accountability because the system is policing is local. but although policing is local, public safety's national.
so we do have a role in helping. and we have a role in guiding and providing best practices. but to be very candid, the role of holding people accountable for the implementation of that is limited. i don't want to missell it, it's very limited. we can inventivize, encourage, inspire, look up best rules and practices, the chief says they can do you know what, then the person will hold that chief accountable has got to be that local community that is empowered to say, hold it, i know there's a better practice because i've read it, i've seen it, i've talked to experts on the ground doing it. why aren't you doing this? i think is the strongest accountability. outside of that we have to wait to where there's violations, but then it just means victims. and now you're having a completely different scenario where you now have powder kegs potentially all over the country waiting for a single incident to ignite because people are frustrated. >> this speaks to reverend brown's point of why we have to build our own power to hold
systems accountable. because the truth of the matter is people will go as far as you allow them to go. it's so consequential for them to be able to pull that kind of stuff off. this is why the young people in ferguson, in baltimore, in new york, oakland, all across the country why we pour out into the streets, why we pour out into the highways. we want to make it so uncomfortable for people to do business as usual until you are willing to change your practice. and it's an appeal also to our philanthropy and other wealthy folks who find, quote, unquote, progressive movements that we need you all to help resource the building of power in communities to be able to counteract the power apparatus as it presently exists. that is always well funded, always well entrenched, always
historical. we can be able to build a very powerful response that makes sure that if we can't get the accountability from the federal government, then the people will bring accountability in a way that is undeniable. and i think that has to be a part of our work organizing the power to actually bring accountability to the local level. >> i'm from youngstown, ohio. my question is, within all of this that we have going on with mass incarceration, no one has mentioned the profiteering aspect and what we need to do with those corporations. corporations don't die. they're like vampires. they just don't die. and another thing, so with the collateral sanctions, we have collateral sanctions in place in every state with the department of corrections that give employers guidelines to hiring. say for instance, i came home -- i've been home 22 years.
and my charges says that i can work as a social worker. i have my degrees, i have several degrees, i got educated, but i can't use those degrees. that's crazy. but how are we going to reinforce these laws and these policies with the power now that we know we have power, how are we going to enforce those laws? we need something else to guarantee the stability that we build for ourselves. >> i'm a lawyer by training. i help guide legislatures and how to draft the best law possible, remove barriers. but there's only so far that's going to go. because as people have said, there's ways employers find to get around everything all the time. i'm not going to sit up here and be polyana.
people demand justice and won't put up with it anymore. to get into another area i know very big on campaign finance reform has to be part of this as well. because if the prison complex industry can keep pumping money into campaign after campaign after campaign for people that are running on all sides of the tickets, there's a tremendous motive there. so we have to be honest about what the streupreme court has d to the country as a whole to all of the issues we care about in terms of the power the wealthy corporations and the wealthy in general have to really dictate how easy it is for our elected officials to vote against the overwhelming interests of their constituents. >> so when -- i appreciate your vampire comment. because dracula showed up in
baltimore too when mr. governor martin o'malley was governor of the state, he was pushing $104 million youth jail. and our coalition and our groups fighting against that and we were ultimately successful in shutting that down. now we have a republican governor who has breathed new life into the same plan with lower price tag. now he wants to renovate and build a $30 million youth jail. so here we are having deja vu all over again. one democratic governor, now republican governor. we know in our communities it don't matter, right? but here's what matters. at least in the minds of some. "baltimore sun" reports so far during the uprising that the city lost $20 million. and it was only after that happened at the business class, nonprofit industrial complex and like they got a higher consciousness when they had a lower bottom line, right? and so building for power in addition to creating alternative food systems also means looking
at other ways so that when we get to -- when we build our own table or go visit other people's tables, we can negotiate from a position of strength as opposed to saying can you please do for me. so in baltimore april 5th, 2016, is the next democratic primary election. so we're organizing now so that when that democratic primary election happens in less than about 11 months from now, we'll be able to effectuate because we built up our own capacity and not depending on think tanks and other groups for us we can do this for ourselves. we got this. thanks. >> and the research is important. so if we know there are corporations out here who are the draculas, maybe we need to start a dracula campaign, we need to expose them. >> yeah. >> make them public. because many of this under the cover of night, most folk don't know that a lot of our fortune 500 corporations are actually profiting off of private prison
labor and other forms of legalized slavery, quote, unquote, right? and i think we can shame them publicly in a way that will at least create some kind of forp of public accountability and we need to do the same thing with our elected officials. in the state of california our governor jerry brown has taken lots of money from the private industry -- private prison industry, and we had to make that known. and we believe that just because you claim to be an ally of our communities, don't mean you get a free pass. if you're engaging in activity that is counter in some of our young folks say revolutionary or dare i say counter justice or immoral or just plain wrong, then we have the responsibility to make it known. and then if they want to continue in the behavior, then we all then have another opportunity to hold them accountable through our voting,
through where we shop, through who we support, et cetera, et cetera. >> we have time for one more question. >> good morning. my name is tonya jord warn, i'm the founder for coalition change. we represent federal employees present and former dealing with race discrimination and retaliation in federal government. and my question is to mr. davis with the department of justice. you know, when ferguson happened and michael brown was killed, and when baltimore happened and freddie gray was killed, everybody was looking for the department of justice to intercede. my question is, given the climate of retaliation within the department of justice with u.s. marshals, black marshals, have filed in civil court class action and they're pending another one at the eoc, you can google it, he had a 25-year long lawsuit against the u.s. marshal service after he whistleblowed and told how they were targeting black neighborhoods.
my question is, what is doj doing to change the cultural internally for those persons who speak out against injustice who are trying to safeguard the public like those persons in fergusons and et cetera? that is the question. and i also would submit to you that you support the congressman elijah cummings bill on the hill 1557, which you talked at accountability and transparency, that's what we need to safeguard civil servants who speak out and say there's a problem here. >> i want to let director davis respond. >> yeah, i mean, other than -- i'm sorry, your name again? tonya, you're familiar with the department's policies on whistleblowing and actually whether it's the inspector general. there's a lot of options for people to deal with issues of retaliation against whistleblowers. i'm not a position to speak to quite frankly about the marshal service or any of the allegations, i'm really at a disadvantage to respond to that
other than as a principle, as a director of component, i know it is our continual conversation at the justice department to ensure that federal employees are protected, that they're respected, that their voice is heard. you have to protect the whistleblowing because this is how you identify issues of corruptions or inefficiencies and effective neness i think whi would say is to really reinforce and encourage employees to take advantage of all those protections and venues they have in reporting. and there's a lot of options there. but i'm really at a disadvantage about specific case in the marshal service. i apologize. i can give you my card later if there's a follow-up i can do for you, i will. but i'm at a disadvantage to answer about the marshal service here. >> i'm going to have to bring this to a close. sorry, i know there's a lot of questions. i want to thank our panel and ms. garza who had to leave for this very stimulating conversation. it was fantastic. thank you all for