tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 28, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
into criminal activity in the first place. and obviously, we know that is the case. and to the private sector folks who were here today, you realize the impact that our current criminal justice system is having on our economy and we'll be able to drill down into those numbers a bit in the course of our conversation. throughout the week, the administration is sponsoring activities all across the country. the department of justice through the bureau of prisons and the u.s. attorneys is going to have 550 events all throughout the country focusing on what we could do to help people and to raise awareness on the ground from a whole range of stakeholders so that when they are released, they have the skills they need and they are able to get a job and again be law-abiding members of our society. you'll -- we have announcements that coming from the department of housing and urban development and the department of health and hume ab services, and the department of veteran affairs, the department of -- right here
in the white house, for as you will hear from jason furman from the council on economic advisers. all of the agencies are focusing on what we could do on this important issue of re-entry. recentry fits into the broader picture of criminal justice reform and last summer the president gave a speech where he focused on three buckets. the community, the courthouse and the cell block. so we have a collective responsibility and many of the advocates that are here together together with the private sector have been focusing on improving our communities and everything from early childhood education to breaking the school to prison pipeline to breaking the sexual assault to prison pipeline to ensuring that every child gets that fair shot. the president's my brother's keeper initiative is another way of helping other boys and men of color to get that shot and follow a life free from crime. so we have to improve our community. we also have to improve the courtroom. and you are seeing there is bipartisan support right now for
federal legislation that would reduce the mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders that would reinvest back into the system so while people are incarcerated, they have everything from job training to counseling to substance abuse counseling, whatever they need to be able to return to society. we know that right now over half of the folks who are incarcerated have some sort of mental illness. so the best objective of course is to treat them early as soon as it is diagnosed but certainly while their incarcerated, part of our responsibility is to help them again so that they have whatever they need to be able to re-enter society. we're also focusing on what happens in the cell block. that is the reinvestment. that is ensuring that job opportunities are available. a couple of weeks ago here at the white house we announced our fair pledge business pledge that really generated enormous support from the business community. several months ago when we went
around to business leaders and said we know that you're hiring people who have been incarcerated, would you willing to come forward and talk about it and we were met with a deafening silence. and many companies did it -- they simply didn't want to talk about it. but over the course of the last few months we've made progress when we launched this fair pledge. we had nine companies. and big name companies who agreed to come forward and everyone from pepsi cola to coca-cola to koch industries to facebook, et cetera. and now we are up to 90 countries and we're asking people who are interested and people who employ folks across our country and recognizing that they are better off if they have a job as opposed to not having a job, that will make our community safer and it will certainly improve our economy to go on the white house website under fair chance hiring and sign up for this pledge. it sends a very important message about who we are as a people. part of what is also extraordinary is a broad base of
support from faith leaders to the business community, to advocates to think tanks from all political spectrums, recognizing that if we reform our criminal justice system, our communities will be safer and our economy will be stronger. we have -- we spent $80 billion a year -- $80 billion a year on criminal justice -- on mass incarceration. we have 5% of the world's population, yet 25% of the world's prisoners. which is a stark statistic for me was to know that since 1985, the number of women who are incarcerated has gone up by 400%. and as you hear from jason later, for children who have a father who is incarcerated, there is a 40% greater chance they are in pofrsy. and so the statistics are clear and what we need now is to continue to build on the momentumment and at the federal
and the state level as well. occupational licenses are regulated at state level and there are many states that just have blanket prohibitions against anyone incarcerated for a felony to get a license. 40% of our jobs require some sort of a license. and again, it is great work that jason did earlier in the year demonstrating the fact if we were to change those state requirements and tailer the occupational license actually appropriately by reviewing it, then we will be able to imply -- employ so many more people. so a good example is people who are incarcerated are often taught how to be barbers. you need a license to be a barber. so asking our states to take a hard look at how we are licensing is another important step. along the same lines today, the attorney general loretta lynch will be visiting a prison in philadelphia and sending a letter to our nation's governors asking them to provide state i.d. to people when they are released immediately. that is a first step toward
being able to get a job. so there is so much we can do if we work together and i guess i just want to close by saying that i do feel we are at a unique moment right now. the nation is focusing on this issue in a way that it hasn't really before. with the number of people who -- 2.2 million people who are incarcerated and the 70 million who have interacted with the criminal justice system, it touches every community in america. and it used to be a topic that we just try to brush under the carpet and ignore and from the data we've seen and from the human toll that we've observed, that is unsustainable. and so with your help, we actually believe we can make great change. so far that i thank you and would you like for you to welcome arthur brooks who are is the president of aei who will come up and give a few remarks. thank you very much, everybody. [ applause ] >> thank so much, valerie.
what an honor it is for me and my colleagues from aei to be here and participate in this event. thank you to the white house for hosting and the brennan center for being involve the with this as well. aei is a think tank in washington and my colleague are dedicated to human dignity and human potential. and there are relatively few subjects that scream out more than what is on hand here today. there are going to be a lot of facts you're hearing from the panel. i'll ask you to consider three. the first is that only a third of america's incarcerated have any access to vocational or educational programs while in prison. thus leaving them entirely ub prepared for life after prison. the fact is that about half of the incarcerated are functionally ill litter sat. the third follows from the first two facts is that 60% to 70% of all parolies end up back in prison within the first three years after being released. now as jason furman and doug
holtz-eakin spointed out and will talk about here today, our society pays an enormous material price for this. it creates an enormous amount of economic inefficiency. now as much as it pains me as an economist to admit it, however, this really isn't about the money. this is about the lives that we're throwing away. i want to take a few minutes here at the outset to remind myself and all of us that the economic case for reform is really just a proxy for something that is much deeper that we're talking about here today. my colleagues and i at aei are working with the best nonprofits in the country that have a visionary notion of how to use human lives, how to integrate our society better along all different strata of where people are, whether they are in cars rated or free or educated or not. and we've been working lately with a group in new york city
called the dough fund. some of you may have heard it. it specializes in men who have all of the strikes against them. they are homeless, they've been incarcerated mostly, they've been addicted to substances in the main and abandoned their families, they are not working. what does it do with these guys? it helps them put their lives back together by helping them to understand that our society needs them and needs their work. this is a subversive and radical concept. the first time i met men from this organization, i was in new york city and i met a man by the name of richard who had been in prison for 22 years since he was 18 years old. and he was working for the first time. about a year after being released, hes would working for a -- he was working for a low wage, a job that some people here in washington, d.c. might call a dead end job. he wouldn't have considered it such. he was working for an exterminator agency and i asked
how his life was going and he demonstrated by showing me an iphone on -- and the first one he ever owned an that is not the secret of happiness but it is pretty cool. and he said read this e-mail from my boss. it says, emergency bed bug job, east 65th street, i need you now. i said, so? he said, read it again. it says i need you now. nobody in my life has ever said those words to me before. when we hear today about the economic cost of mass incarceration, remember that that is a proxy for not needing people. what do we need to do? not throw away money? no, we need to not flthrow away people. that is what we're all about. what can we do to need the people who commit crimes and are from prison. that is the answer we're dedicated to in the next year as we work on inmate education and
re-entry programs. that is a question that i hope we'll begin to answer today. and by the way, one more thing. before i close. i think that we're looking -- i think many of us are looking for a way to bring ideological components together, there is a deep problem with polarization that is troubling every person in this room. what better way than to bring people together than to look at those at the periphery of our society and say what can we do together to need them. this today could be the beginning of needing every citizen in our society, including those who have been in principle and to bring ourselves together as a result of it, no matter where we sit on the political spectrum. thank you for the opportunity to change this debate in this country and for your hard work and interest in this topic and it is an honor to be part of this effort. [ applause ]
thank you so much. i'm michael waldman. i'm the president of the brennan center for justice at nyu school of law. we are thrilled to be part of this event, to be co-hosting with the american enterprise institute and to be here with all of you in the white house. to learn from and understand this significant new report and this significant new dialogue about the economic costs of this very human problem. first of all, i want to thank and acknowledge arthur brooks for his remarks and for the creativity that he brings to public policy. those of us who read his dialog dialogu dialogues in the new york times and elsewhere are glad to be doing this together. and want to thank valerie jarrett for her powerful voice and passion that she has brought to this issue and that the entire administration has
brought to this vexing issue. something that, in a moment of polarization and division and disfunction, has united communities from across the political spectrum and we're very grateful again to be part of this -- this discrete aspect of it. we want to thank and acknowledge jason furman and the council ever economic advisers who have done path-breaking work on this. and i want to thank my colleagues at the brennan center for justice, including several board members, tom jordy and emily spitzer and the members of our economic advisery board, some of whom you'll be hearing from shortly. as we all know and as you've heard, this is a singular moment in one of the most challenging issues facing our country and that has faced our country for years. this is a topic, of course, that has been at the center of american history, at the center
of our concerns but in so many ways the magnitude of the proble has been hiding in plain sight. this is one of those issues where the aggregate statistics in some ways can have a punch in the gut impact greater than anything else. the fact that we have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prison population is not only wrong, it is shocking. we all know there are costs to that phenomenon -- social, moral, racial and economic. we know as well that we're having this conversation at a time when crime is down dramatically over where it had been. a fact that creates the opening for us to have a reason and creative assessment of what we ought to do. and we know that the level of
incarceration and over-criminalization is simply not necessary to keep our streets safe and keep our communities safe. one of the studies that the brennan center for justice did last year assessed the impact of mass incarceration on public safety and found that it had very little to no impact on keeping our streets safe at this moment in time. it's also a singular moment because of the remarkable coming together across communities, across ideological perspectives across partisan perspectives around this issue. we'll hear from business leaders, from some of the top economic thinkers and a conversation like this could be replicated in rooms across the country. i can't think of any other issue on which i've ever worked where there is this much of a genuine seeking of common ground. it is not merely that there are two sides and they each give up
something and they find themselves perhaps to their own astonishment in the same place. but people are coming to this with similar views and similar goals. each because of their own core aspirations. it is striking to me that aei, which is renowned as a pre-enterprise-oriented institution and think-tank, has placed at the center of its thinking about this, the very human -- the human stories and the human narratives. and i was struck also by the concept of human dignity. the bennan center for justice is 20 years old. it was started by the clerks and family of the late supreme court justice william brennan, we're affiliated with nyu school of law. and while we don't take our work from the specifics of his opinions, we take our values from his notion that at the heart of the law was, as he put it, the concept of human
dignity. and we have found in working on this issue of mass incarceration that the rigor and the impact of economic analysis is matchless. three years ago, we focused our criminal justice work under the leadership of my colleague machete, who you are hearing from on mass incarceration and understanding that bringing the tools of economics and of the economics profession was something we could help with. and we believe that there are measurable costs and benefits. we believe that there are tremendous and often unexamined social negative consequences from the current system and we believe that the very financial incentives built into budgeting and the entire governmental system that steered us off toward where we are now could help steer us with better foresight away toward a wiser policy. we have launched -- and this is
actually the first public event to -- to utilize their generous services. we've launched an economic advisory board of the country's top economists, including folks you're hearing from today. larry somers, professor joseph stig let, dean laura tyson and glenn lori and a whole bunch of others from a whole array of perspectives helping us to understand and kick the tires on our work to make sure that it meets the top rigorous standards as we meld economic analysis with core legal analysis. because of that focus, we're thrilled to be able to be part of this event. this report you're about to hear about is really a landmark. it is rock solid. it brings together the top minds at the cea around something that is as important as m 1 and m 2 or anything else they might be focusing on.
and i am delighted to introduce to you, to talk about the new report, dr. jason furman. as you know, he is the chair of the council of economic advisers, one of the leading public economists in the country. before this, i should know, he, among other things, headed the hamilton project, proving he was precious beyond words in understanding how cool alexander hamilton could be to a wide audience. so dr. jason furman. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you for that introduction, michael. president truman was reported to have been frustrated with his economic team because every time he asked them for advice on something, rather than telling him something clear and direct, they would tell him, well on the one hand, and then they would say on the other hand and he
wanted to get himself a one-handed economic adviser. the topic we're discussing today is one that really lends itself to a one-handed economic adviser. because as our team, led by cea member sandy black and engineera palma emily wiseberg and gabe scheffler put together this report, the research on this is real c really clear, it is really consistent. it goes across party lines as we heard a little bit in the opening and as we'll hear on the panel. and the changes that we've seen in policy over the last decades that led to the mass incarceration that led to the -- the increasing difficulty of reincorporating people in the workforce wasn't because of some set of studies or research or analysis done by economist or lawyers or criminologists, it was for other reasons.
and using that evidence, that research, can help us point in a better direction. now we don't have all of the answers on this topic, like many other topics. but we do have a lot of them. and the issue is to put them in place at the federal level and also encouraging a conversation at the state and local level. we put out a 79-page report. i'll take you through some of the highlights of it very quickly. and my goal in doing this is not only to summarize the report, but to take what was a really morally and uplifting set of comments by arthur brooks and prove that economists really are not for the most part morally uplifting and elevating. but can show you lots of numbers. so begin with the fact that we've heard many times before, the incarceration rate grew more than 220% between 1980 and 2014. it grew at the federal, state
and local level. total spending on incarceration is over $80 billion a year. and in fact, there are 11 states that spent more on corrections than on higher education. if you look at us in comparison to other countries, the united states is second -- if the next chart, the united states is second in the world in incarceration rate. second to the seychelles. so every country has a lower on average one fourth what the incarceration rate is in the united states. this big increase in the incarceration has happened, as you could see in the next slide, despite a substantial decline in the crime rates, with the violent crime rate falling 39% and the property crime rate falling 52%.
one of the exercises we go through in the report is we say, what if criminal justice policies had remained the same-sex. they hadn't changed. and you just saw this evolution in crime rates, what would have happened to the incarceration rate? the answer at the state level is the incarceration rate would have fallen by 7%. instead is rose by 125%. and at the federal level, the incarceration rate rose much faster given the decline in crime. so the question is what happened? just an immediate in accounting for the incarceration, not delving into the actual causes but the pure accounting exercise, it is not that there is more crimes, it's that there is greater severity of sentencing, and increased enforcement. between 1984 and 2004, nearly
all crimes experienced a substantial increase in time served. and time served for drug offenses in federal prisons more than doubled over the last two decades. at the same time, arrests have come down with the decline in crime. but very couldn't come down as much. the arrest rate has risen. and that has also contributed to this increase in incarceration. and once again, drugs has played a big role, with drug arrest rates increasing by over 90% over this period. the question then is what caused this decline in crime. and there is a lot of debate among economists exactly what it was. the one thing that pretty much all of the evidence agrees on is what it wasn't and that was the increase in incarceration. first of all, the evidence is that, like so much in economics,
there is declining benefits to additional incarceration. you're getting increasingly less violent, less dangerous people as you expand incarceration so that has less of an impact on crime and you are keeping people in prison for longer after the point -- the ages where they are more likely to commit further crimes. when you look at studies, they find that longer sentence lengths, which is a big cause of the increase in incarceration, play -- has little deterrent effect on offenders. one recent paper found that a 10% increase in sentence length corresponds to somewhere between a zero and 0.5% decrease in juvenile arrest rates. in fact, incarceration can have the opposite effect, which is that longer spells of incarceration, and in this case the study finds each additional year of incarceration can lead
to an average increase in future offending of 4% to 7 percentage points. as i said, there isn't a single agreed upon cause in the reduction in crime but demographic changes and improving economic conditions an changes in policing tactics are three of the theories that people have. the impact of mass incarceration is not spread evenly across the population. although blacks and hispanics represent approximately 30% of the population, they comprise over 50% of the incarcerated population. the incarcerate for blacks dwarfed the rate of other groups, 3.5 times larger than that for whites. and a large body of researchers tried to look carefully at the causal role that race plays in this and finds that for similar
offenses, blacks and hispanics are more likely to be stopped and searched, arrested, convicted and sentenced to harsh erpenalities. for example, even controlling for arrest defendant characteristics, prosecutors are 75% por likely to charge black defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimums. interactions with the criminal justice system are dallas disproportionately concentrated between poor individuals and those with high rates of mental illness and substance abuse. this all has substantial consequences that arthur and valerie both spoke to in their comments. one piece of evidence is just the interview call-back rate for people with criminal records is lower than without criminal records and it is much lower for
blacks with criminal records than it is for whites with criminal records. criminal sanctions can also have negative consequences for a range of factors like health, debt, transportation, housing and food security. and the statistic that valerie was so struck by, the probability of the family in poverty increases by nearly 40% while a father is incarcerated. the fact that tens of millions of americans have a record means this is applying to a larger and larger fraction of our population over time. and playing a role in a range of the economic challenges we face, including the long-term decline in the labor force participation rate. it is important to understand, it is not just the criminal justice system that has costs. crime also has a very
substantial cost. it produces direct damages to property and medical costs. pain, suffering, fear, reduced quality and loss of life and it affects some of our poorest communities disproportionately. economists trying to estimate the social cost of crime have a range of estimates, but a reasonable estimate of the mean or median is about $300 billion a year. this is something that is serious and important. the question, though, is what are we going to do to reduce this? what is the most cost-effective, the most absolutely effective way to do it. and a range of tuddies that we surveyed and we tried to look at high-quality studies, most of these peer reviewed in economics and other journals, find that a minority of studies have found that great erin -- great
incarceration passed a cost benefit test. and some of the studies, how much does it cost to put someone in jail, does that reduce the likelihood of crime or keeping them in principle and in some cases the studies go further and factor in the collateral damage, the increase in poverty for their family and the impact that has on society from crime. and contrast measures that strengthen our community like education have uniformly found to pass a cost-benefit test. an important part of the strategy to reduce crime is strengthening our economy and raising wages. and we may not -- everyone on the panel agree on the strategy to raise wages. but put one up that this administration supports and just uses it -- use it to contrast to incarceration. based on estimates in the literature if you increase
spending onn incarceration, by 10% to a $12 million that would reduce the crime rate by 1% to 4% and if you take into account the versus the benefits, the net societal benefit would be minus 8 billion and plus one billion. it doesn't factor in all the collateral circumstances of that incarceration. contrast that to raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2020 that assumes no employment effects that would have an even larger impact on crime than that incarceration change. would have a net societal benefit just from the crime reduction. and that would be true even if
you employ crime elasticities from the range of the literature. i want to conclude by talking about the administration's approach to dealing with criminal justice reform it's a holistic approach that is focused on the community strengthening the economy, investing in early childhood communication. ban the box, licensing exclusions. they're right now 46,000 federal state and local laws regarding the ability of ex-offenders to work in certain businesses. work in certain jobs or be in certain of course bases. 46,000. many of those give no regard to those whatsoever to what the crime was committed. what the nature of the crime was or the relevance of it for the
particular occupation. that's something we've been working together with koch industries among others to encourage states to take a look at in this area and more broadly. the secondary is the courtroom. there's bipartisan support in both the house and the senate for sentencing reform building on steps we've already taken in some drug sentencing. an issue earlier this year, highlighted the regressive nature of fines, fees and bail which can be much larger for low income households can often be inefficient and not even collected and can have large economic impacts than for a high income person that wouldn't notice it as compared to the low
income person. and that's something doj has been encouraging states and localities to take a look at. finally, the cell block, including education, rehabilitation. job training, a set of measures that are being rolled out across the country this week, and steps that the president and the attorney general announced a few months ago to address solitary confinement, including the solitary confinement of minors. we're really happy, you're all having a chance to be here today to discuss what we think is an important issue. it's an issue that has a lot of important dimensions, moral, political, legal. we hope to convince you that the economic and business one is one of those important dimensions as well. thank you. [ applause ] .
>> you'll hear from our panel next. our panel led by david redny who will introduce everyone else. >> thank you very much for being here today. thank you for letting the economists moderate this panel. all panels in washington are always immensely distinguished, but this one really is. as a professional except tick,
wondering whether anything can get done in this current political climate. you look at who's behind an initiative. if you were serious on trying to get something done on a bipartisan basis. this is the kind of panel you get behind, this kind of initiative. even as a professional skeptic, it is an impressive panel. we have to my left, douglas holtz eken. also former chief economist for the president's counsel. and one of two directors of the congressional budget office. we have todd cox, director of criminal justice at the u.s. equal employment opportunity commission. we have the founder and chief
executive officer for third point. and someone very much involved in this, we have director of the justice program. before that she created the american civil liberty unions to end mass incarceration. last but not least, we have peter orsack. a former director of the white house office of management and budget. he's also a member of the brennen center economic advisory board. an extreme mix of people. i want to start by asking a question. then we'll have a free throwing discussion. the first question goes to douglas. this whole thing we stressed about the costs and benefits analysis of criminal justice system and does the topic -- why
should we be thinking about costs and benefits and politics instead of what's just and unjust. what's the benefit of that approach? >> let me first say thank you to the white house for this event and the council of economic advisers for a tremendous report. to the brennen center for sponsoring this event and putting up with me. i'm grateful for all of those. i'm especially thankful that the advisers put out a report in the cost benefit framework. for those of you who are not afraid. you think they were been born without souls or had them surgically removed. that's not a good way to think about it. there are things which are good and bad. we put the good ones on the
benefit side, the bad ones on the cost side, we may or may not be able to put dollars on them, the loss of a productive life for someone who is incarcerated too long is an incalculable loss. we can bring down things we know and don't know that's really useful in doing disciplined public policy. it tells you a couple things. number one, it tells you sometimes it's a slam dunk. you look at the benefits, the cost, everything's been identified by the literature. it's pretty simple. we have a problem here and we can fix it. when are you really out of line? and what are big costs to
society. it's great to solve a bunch of little problems. i have devoted my career to that. if you've identified a big problem and you have a way to go forward on it, that's important. the nice thing about the report, it does that so clearly. it doesn't stop there, it gives us solutions. you couldn't ask for more in a report. >> peter you've written -- this report talks about failed policy, i think it's powerful that it talks about policy that is not humanitarian or perceived by communities. it uses the word efficiently. you've written a lot about the inefficiency of this policy. tell me about the case that this is a bad way to fund policy. you have this phrase of success oriented funding. why do you support that kind of approach? >> first of all, let me note
that this is one example in a broader phenomenon of needing more evidence with regard to how we go about policy making. i agree with arthur brooks, we're not into saving dollars, we should be talking about not wasting lives. in order to get there, we need to make sure what the federal government does makes sense. the administration is making a significant amount of progress in bringing evidence to bear across a whole array of federal policies, it's still the case that what we do is backed by specific evidence it works. it definitely applies to criminal justice. it's very rare in academic literature to find not like an 80-20 but a 100 to zero type of situation. which goes about trying to deter crime.
effectively what the evidence suggests is that the severity of punishment matters much less than its certainty. we've put much too much emphasis on the severity. and much too little on providing certainty. there's a whole variety of reasons. behavioral economics suggests something that happens 15 to 20 years from now affects behavior much less than something that happens tomorrow. at the same time, the certainty part of this is really lacking, so it is stunning that under half of violent crimes in the united states are cleared. that is lead to an arrest. and for something like burglaries it's more like 15%. it means 85% of burglaries just kind of disappear in terms of some kind of resolution.
if you think about someone thinking about attempting to make a burglary, only one in seven cases is brought to justice, i think that encourages burke lars in the way that prison sentences don't do much to offset. you may think, it is what it is, there's not much we can do. the evidence is compelling, there's lots we can do, as an example, jason mentioned that m empirical evidence suggests -- part of the mechanism to deterring crime is that the evidence suggests that things like response times do matter, including in robberies and burglaries. interesting evidence suggesting exactly that, that response
times matter. >> it's also the case where you may all remember, batman and robin thought they could predict crimes. in millen the police use something called key crime it's been shown to be quite effective, those are the kinds of investments that can matter and we're not making sufficiently. the final point the recidivism rate is unacceptably high. especially for those that have substance abuse issues the evidence strongly suggests that providing farg etted health care to people can pay off. we need better evidence but it is strongly substantial.
one of the -- i'll put in a quick plug. one of the benefits of the expanded medicaid programs in many states is that those people are qualifying for the type of help they need. and in terms of making sure we don't waste lives, there's no better intervention than making sure someone whose going down the wrong path doesn't repeat the action in the future. >> business is clearly think about this a lot, it's been hard for them to speak out. what are the hidden impacts of the criminal justice system on the business world and why does a business leader like you feel the need to speak out. >> i'm going to entirely dodge that question, i don't feel like
i'm -- i feel i'm here more as a philanthropist than as a business person. i'll take a stab at it. as a business person, i'm in investment management business. and our business is largely centered around evaluating situations, analyzing things, using the best data and evidence and logic to get to a specific outcome. i think to build on what peter said, the thing that's missing from this entire complex is the use of evidence, data and logic in a stated goal we're trying to achieve. i don't think it can be overstated. this is really truly a landmark paper that jason and his team put together. to embody this issue with so much data and evidence that points in one direction. what he did was most valuable
was creating a framework from soup to nuts as to how we can improve the system. as a philanthropist, the way i got into this was actually at an aeei conference. it shouldn't surprise people that those folks are committed to community service and good. i was there at this confidence. i wandered into a room on criminal justice, there was cory booker sitting beside mike lee and john cornyn, you had democrats and republicans. i thought first, this is a bipartisan issue. the other thing that jumped out at me is some of the data that was introduced there.
for someone who is engaged in education reform. this is a sister issue. >> if we want to close down the highway from education to prison, we have to start with our education system. we need to apply the same sorts of data to education. and get kids particularly in black and hispanic communities that aren't graduating from high school. the large percentages of people primarily from the black community that if you didn't graduate from prison -- i'm sorry, if you didn't graduate from high school, your likelihood of being in prison right now is over 30% and if you didn't graduate from high school, your likelihood of being in prison at some point is over 60%. taking in total, looking at
reforming the criminal justice system, we also need to look at the education system and really think about how do we bring back the civility and honest discourse based on facts and compassion and real care for our citizens and for our communities and for our country. and as opposed to what we're seeing right now in -- sometimes in the extremes of the political discussion that's going on. >> thank you. >> i recommend reading -- of course you're going to read this report, but one of the more powerful things this report does is look at the collateral damage. this focuses not just on the effects for those people, not only how they got into prison, but housing, licensing. help us understand that the collateral costs on so much larger groups of people than
just the prisoners themselves. those incarcerated. >> we've been looking at this question from the aspect of opportunity. how those policies have exacerbated existing inequality. over criminalization have been major drivers. and there's a study that says that in -- 1980 and 2004, the poverty rate would have dropped 20% if not for incarceration. it really has ripple effects across our country. the impact is staggering. the report, they have demonstrated people of color make up more than 60% of prison population, despite making up 39 or 40% of the u.s. population.
there's a isstatistic that the report is fantastic for putting out the scope of the problem but there's a statistic or impact that's not often talked about, that's the impact on women african-american women are more likely to go to presideison. those who are in jails are four times more likely to report a disability than the again populati population. the effects really ripple across our community. one in three americans have a criminal record. even a minor offense can lead to a lifelong set of consequences. both employment opportunities, educational opportunities and housing. we know that 60% of folks within the first year are not fortunate enough to get immoment because of those barriers, those that
are able to get employment get jobs in low wage occupations and may be sat elled with fees and fines we also talked about in some ways criminalizing poverty. we found that this doesn't just impact folks with criminal records, it impacts their families, their children, with a new number. shockingly, that one in two american children have at least one parent with a criminal record. which is a staggering number, if you consider the impact that a criminal record has on the parent. the ripple effect it has on children is palpable. income is eliminated for the child in the household. snap is no longer available for those who have felony drug convictions. there by depriving families of nutritional abilities.
if you're not able to get a job upon release from prison, you're going to cut into your ability to save money. all of this is bolstered by a new report being issued today which focuses on the impact of all these policies on children who are incarcerated. there are a number of things that can happen that we can do to solve this, including making sure we adopt fair housing and fair employment practices so we don't blanketly expose folks to this situation. pennsylvania is taking the lead proposing we seal criminal records automatically, so that criminal records aren't at issue in the employment process or many other processes that become
barriers for folks with criminal records. we've seen a lot of bipartisan support for that. >> thank you very much. >> a question really to sort of focus on the policies trying to introduce some rigor. you look at the figure of 46,000 occupational rules and regulations, limited occupati s occupations, that tells you that politicians have frequently felt the need to keep people safe by doing things that are clearly going to limit employment. there's a desire to keep voters feeling safe. how do you use economics to tackle this clearly grotesquely inefficient population. while still making them feel safe. >> people respond to incentives. there is a whole school of legal thought trying to bring that
concept into law and policy. that works in two ways. if legislators and policy makers aren't thinking about the incentives their laws are creating, this leads to unintended consequences. to prevent that from happening, we need to clearly be thinking about what types of incentives we create. this concept plays itself out over and over and over again in our criminal justice system. there are incentives baked into the way federal and state laws work. that incentivize mass incarceration. one of the most common examples of this, police departments measure success through the number of arrests. prosecutors measure success through the amount of convictions and how many people they're sending away to prison and how long they're sending them. one of the examples in terms of the federal level is a 1994
crime bill. one of the parts that we might not have heard as much about. is the part that gave states $12.5 billion to construct additional prisons if they passed law that increased prison terms. over 28 states actually changed their laws and applied for funding and then between 1994 and 2008 the prison population doubled. to truly end mass incarceration, these types of incentives have to change. here's where the federal government can play a large role. states and localities need to also change their laws. just like in the 1990s, the federal government can use its federal grants to reduce mass incarceration. there are $3.8 billion that go out to the federal government, most of these funds run on auto
pilot. all of that should be taken, given to states, to reward states that reduce crime and reduce incarceration. in this way you're giving states the incentive to getting to the goals we're trying to get to. we've run the numbers on this proposal, which is basically a reverse of the '94 crime bill. it would keep crime down. that's one example of how this could be applied. >> thank you very much for that opening round. it seems to me the over arching team is to say you're not asking the country to abandon its goals, the goals don't have to change it's to deter crime.
the current system was not chosen, it happened by accident, the more you do the research, the more you see there's these unintended consequences vastly inefficient systems creating a rats nest of bad policy. there's probably a bias of economics in this room. explain why it's useful in providing rigor and cutting through some of the partisan politics. we can have the same ago bigs. do it in a smarter way. it's not about smartness on crime or toughness on crime. it's about being tougher. >> i think for someone like me, i didn't set out to become a criminal justice expert. this shows up in in all the things people say they care about in the economy. the labor force participation rate is not what people think it should be.
this feeds into the inability of people who have records to get jobs and they drop out of the labor force. persistent poverty is an important issue for people to deal with you look inside it, what do you find? people who aren't working. families that don't stay together. you find single mothers trying to do this on their own. that's exactly the phenomena we see. they're stretched tremendously. you look inside of it, prison populations are a big chunk of that. you get the striking results, number one, you can make a lot of progress on the labor force participation. the anti-poverty programs without sacrificing the safety of the public that's a really rare public policy moment. i'd like to do these things but we may have to worry about it on
the safety fund. that's why this is a unique moment many i think it's part of what's gone on is, many republicans conservatives sort of got drawn into this for the fact that they're skeptical the government can do anything. why do we believe they imprison people well, and they don't seem, to and it costs a lot of money, we can save some money. why don't we do that? it really is a unique situation at the moment. >> as was earlier pointed out. at the heart of economics is incentives, a big part of the apparent benefit of longer prison sentences is it would deter crime it doesn't work. fundamentally, we need to change. imagine we had a tax policy that was designed to create more businesses. and you looked and found it did the opposite.
i think the point you were making is exactly right. to say that you are concerned about incarceration and the length of prison sentences does not mean you're soft on crime. if anything, the opposite. here's an example where being warm hearted can be hard headed. by investing in detecting and not the severity, but by making sure people who commit crimes are a consequence. being kinder to those who do go astray. helps to prevent them from becoming criminals again. this is not just let's be nice to people, this is hard headed impair imperically driven, it makes their lives better. >> you mentioned some things
about the fact that criminals are sometimes rational actors. economists look at the bad decisions they make. if you give them immediate punishment for having gone back on drugs, instead saying, we'll lock you up for 20 years or 10 years. >> it was a randomized experiment, which is the gold standard of evidence. and havi"vogue" the certainty ot only being tested regularly, but having a known penalty if you were found to be using drugs, even if the ben ailty is small or short has a significant effect. this is not surprising. we actually have direct evidence
on the discount rate. that is how people compare something today versus something tomorrow versus something far in the future. it suggests very high discount rates which is not that surprising, a lot of people behave that way. it suggests knowing for sure and for almost sure that something's going to happen to you affects your behavior a lot more than whether something is going to persist for 10 or 20 years. >> he might be arrested by a policeman who is there. this whole report is full of extraordinary facts and to explain the difference between british and american journalism. in england when you're reading it, you can get a draw dropping fact in there, it's known as a
marmalade dropper. one of the marmalade droppers in this report for me was that the united states in order to take care of this enormous prison population, employs peace officers at 2.5 times the amount of the global rate. they employ fewer police officers per capita than most countries. tell us about how policing, the role that policing can play in keeping communities safe, but perhaps if you could divert some of these resources away from police officers and toward the right kind of policing. >> fair warning, i'm not an economist by training. i'm a lawyer by training. i don't say that defensively.
i think it all starts with reorienting our perspectives. we've seen over the past few year years overt breakdowns of public trust. it goes to police officers and community members. majority/minority communities want effective, efficient safe and respectful policing. they don't want to be profiled. i think it -- you begin by looking at how do we restructure the relationship between law enforcement. quite frankly our democratic process so that folks in communities feel that they are customers -- are participants in a process and not just those that are being targeted. i think it starts there. it goes to law enforcement being
willing to step up to training. advised training and the lake. also, from a community's perspective. understanding that police officers are important stakeholders in this conversation as well. if i could just touch on the economy, we're part of the coalition for public safety. which is a right leaning, left leaning organization full of unusual bed fellows, i think what keeps us together is that there really isn't a juxtaposition between keeping our community safe and criminal justice system. they go lock step if you adopt some of the policies before. you will see reduction in recidivism. >> we heard that extraordinary statistic earlier. 85% of burglaries never come to justice. it's -- when there's a political
partisan discussion of policing. it's often, these communities of color are oppressively policed or being badly policed. one of the underreported things, a lot of these communitieses are underpoliced. the crime is not cleaned up at the right level. and that is also something you can work on getting right. >> i think as i said before, it goes back to respect. not to use d.c. as an example, there are communities in d.c. where the police are seen as people who are keeping them safe. seen as participants in the democratic process, i'm a voter, therefore, the police are here there are other communities where the police are seen as targeting. the citizens in both those communities feel the same way about their communities. they want to remain safe and want to make sure their property is kept safe. it goes back to restructuring policing and people in communities. everyone is entitled to some
base level of respect. if you reorient that, we'll go a long way and solve a problem. >> you spent a lot of time on capitol hill trying to see pieces of legislation. whether this bipartisan issue we talk about. taking a vote that someone is going to cut a tv ad saying they're soft on crime. when you're looking at things like policing and you can make arguments about smarter policing. is this one of the ways you can use these economic numbers and try to make the case for keeping communities safe? is that one of the things we're learning more about in terms of trying to sell this? >> yes, i think there's two parts to that answer. the first is, i think with policing it's the same as every other criminal justice policy.
we should be funding and policing things that work. >> it's proven that increasing the number of police officers and deploying things like come stat are proven to bring down crime, however, perhaps things like stop and frisk aren't. i would say in terms of policing, it's similar to how you would look at criminal justice policy overall. in terms of the bipartisan coming together, particularly on capitol hill. so there is -- there are several bills right now on capitol hill that are sponsored by republicans and democrats. the major one is a sentencing reform and corrections act which is pending in the senate. and this is a really really remarkable effort by republicans and democrats. to come together on this issue. that bill has a real chance of
passing this session. i think that is showing how people can come across lines to push something forward about that would reduce minimums for several low level crimes as well as allow judges more discretion to depart from those when needed. >> it's not just what happens on capitol hill. what's more important is what happens when they go home? >> what's true about this particular area, there have been states that sort of recognize these issues and can make some progress. one of the reasons republicans have had to grapple with what are the facts on the ground, versus the sort of rhetoric and myths. i think that's helped on this particular issue. peter's right about the
importance of evidence based policy making. one of the ways it's little appreciated. your legislators can go home and explain the piece of legislation to its constituents. it's a really useful thing. >> you spent a lot of time talking to big business people in your invest ment business, talking to ceo's, you can get very depressed about the sheer number of people that have had contact with the criminal justice system. is there an opportunity in there too, you're a business leader, i cannot wave good-bye to that proportion of the workforce. this is something we have to grapple with. businesses are more willing to step up and ban the boggs or be smart about hiring practices, because otherwise you're
throwing away vast proportions of the workforce. tell us about the mood in the business community. >> as the soul representative of the entire business community. it's hard for me to respond to that. 50i78 on a board. this is an idea that just occurred to me, as we think about diversity in our companies, it's not just about racial diversity and gender diversity, we need to introduce this as an identifier, that we strive to solve for and i think it actually is not something that comes up specifically about integrating people with criminal records. there is another aspect of this that does come up in the business community. why this is so important, aside from the data, the issue of human zeens, which is the crisis
we have in this country right now, about the system itself whether it's a sense of cronyism or lack of upward mobility or social mobility. it goes to the heart of this issue it's why we have kids on campus who think socialism is a system we should try out. i think from that standpoint the business community does care and believes in the classic, whether you're democrat or republican, i think we all agree that at the core, the free enterprise system is the best system for this nation. from that standpoint the business community is very much invested in this. >> can i ask you about one of the other potential opportunities out of something difficult. we exist in a time of constrained budgets. some of the states that look.
the obama administration has done. criminal justice is a good example. it's always the case that in addition to not wasting lives you don't want to waste money, it's even more important when things are tight. and this is an area where we're doing a very poor job of spending our money wisely. it's as simple as that. >> i'm keen to take questions from the audience, i wanted to ask the panel given that we have this moment, we've been guessing at how to con construct a good criminal justice policy. we've been making some bad guesses. when you look at the range of research. give us just a few smart things that you would love to see people talking about more. whether it's exactly what you do with people when they leave prison or education. feel free to flag in one or two
policies you want people to look at in this report. >> i'll start briefly. i think we can make better use of police on the ground and on it to identify hotspots and other ways of making sure those resources work well. on recidivism, there's a lot more we could be doing to make reentry into a productive workforce better. i'll highlight, i think ideas like sealing criminal records is something worth pursuing. someone who commits a nonviolent crime in their early 20s should not have a scarlet letter on them for the rest of their working lives in the way it happens so often today. i think in a whole variety of dimensions, we have gone too far
and this is one of them. >> i wholeheartedly agree, and i think that from our perspective, the report highlights the importance of what we call the front end. making sure we create opportunities in communities before there's criminal justice involvement in the first place. making sure we don't blanketly exclude people with criminal records from housing and education. pennsylvania has introduced legislation on saling criminal records to take that off the table. i think that's something we should be looking at. >> i would just add to that. i think things like skpungment are important. for many of these people, i don't understand why they're
going to prison in the first place if we know that's not what works to bring down crime. and that's causing all sorts of collateral consequences. we need to change our sentencing laws. so the default is an alternative to prison as opposed to people going to prison. >> did you want to -- >> yeah, i wanted to add -- on top of the report. in ways that we all can get involved in this, in addition to engaging with our political leaders. there are institutions that have been great on this there are others that are helping us get a gentleman named bernard noble out of prison. he's sentenced to 13 years in prison for two grams of marijuana. and riding a bike the wrong way
on a one way street. he hadn't gotten in trouble with the law for a dozen years. we're working legislation everyonely within the state of louisiana, who has the undistinguished record of having the highest incarceration rates. i'd be remiss also if i didn't mention we're involved with the marshall project, the innocence project and there's a gentleman named adam fass, the important role of prosecutors in this issue. he gave a talk -- i hope all of you have seen it, it's gone viral, his ted talk was really amazing he left the -- he left his job as prosecutor, a week ago or two weeks ago on friday to start a # 501c-3 to build on this, this is one of the
critical areas where we can make progress on this issue. >> it would be remission, we're sitting in washington -- we're sitting in a political town -- people think about elections. is this bipartisan push going to have to take a bit of a pause between now and november? is it the thing that can survive the bumpy road of a presidential campaign. do any of you want to speak to how you think -- you have this momentum. how do you navigate this electoral period in smart ways. if you want to jump in on that. >> if you narrowly define this as can legislation pass the house, pass the senate? i think the answer is yes. i would say that mechanically for a couple reasons. such legislation exists and
there are bipartisan sponsors in both houses of congress. one of the most important things is what happens when you go home. there's lots of evidence on the republican side that this is an issue in their states and localities they can benefit from. i don't think the republican presidential candidate's policy platforms are so rich that they're crowding out this debate. >> does anyone else want to -- >> yeah. >> i tend to agree. i think that there is a real chance for bipartisan action particularly in congress. i think i would add to that, it's truly remarkable how this has become a real live issue in the presidential debate. this is something i wouldn't have thought could happen. and you have the leading candidates talking about this. and that has increased a broad public awareness.
i used to tell people i work on criminal justice reform. they thought i was a fringe advocate. i think that has opened up a much more -- a larger public awareness that i think is helping push forward momentum as well. >> if you ask the question, in stead of the next few months it would be great if it happened. over the next two years, is there a high chance of legislation. don't forget it's rare that you have bipartisan agreement like is exemplified on this panel on any topic. it should be and will be high on the agenda for a new administration, it's doable and would produce real benefits. if you take a slightly longer perspective on the question. i think the odds rise markedly. >> you wanted to contradict
yourself? >> yes, all good ideas in washington end up as hostages. they'll go through it. they get attached to something that's less hospitable to both sides. that leads you to the situation where it doesn't happen this year. >> i think we're one of the ones pushing for criminal justice reform in congress. and i think it's definitely possible. i recall reading something that the rnc has adopted something close to a platform. it's being integrated into the political discussion. there's a lot of talk about what's happening in the federal government. we have acknowledged that the states have led the way in many ways. we're also seeing new things happening in states that are worth looking at. all that's happening in a bipartisan way and could provide more models for what could come down the pike at the federal
level. >> state where you're in and ask a brief question rather than make a speech. so everyone has a chance to. i think someone had their hand up. >> thank you for this extraordinary work, my name is jennifer mizrahi from perfect respectability. my question is about americans with disabilities and putting the disability lens on this important and vital work you're doing. in reading what we could read in the report so far, it seemed to me you were missing the lens of the disability beyond mental health or addiction issues. you can actually look at a third grade child and their disability
status and learning status and see the likelihood of that child being involved in the corrections system. i'm wondering if you're going to be putting a lens on doing early diagnosis and intervention. particularly for children of color who are underdiagnosed and don't get the supports they need. and also for people in the corrections system to get beyond the mental health or addictions issues. >> just because we have so many questions, i'm going to take batches of two or three. this gentleman here? >> girard robinson. there are 5 million children who have at least one parent whose incarcerated. we know that one of the few institutions of stability are schools. what tangibly can we do to support schools and teachers who have to work with this
population. and in particular, what role can the faith based community play in the process? >> thank you. i'll take one from over here p.m. this gentleman here. if you'll st wait for the mike. >> thank you very much, sir. >> i'm from the caribbean and african faith based leadership conference. my question is, as it relates to the incarceration of immigrants 37 look specifically at black and caribbean immigrants. have you looked at the impact it has on our population. one of the challenge we face especially as it relates to faith outreach to that population, is that sometimes after an arrest, before we can minister to them, they are already in the process for deportation.
we have a recent case with a young plan who on his 18th birthday, a young lady lied to him, and he got involved with her. he's now working on his ph.d. he's moving on with his life. he has great job as an engineer. great dreams to offer this country. and these are some of the challenges that our population faces. if you could look at that in your research and look at how something can happen to make life better for some of these immigrants living here. >> you've had important issues raised. >> let me just respond to the question about early life trajectories, i think it's important -- the ca report has compelling data about raising
the share of people who graduate from high school and what effect that would have on criminal activity as just one example. and we know that kids often go off track early in secondary and elementary school, the same phenomenon here where better data can help. it's a panacea, you still need good management and attention to detail is absolutely the case in education, i'm on the board of new visions for public schools in new york for example. where we are attempting to do exactly what you are describing which is better identify a kid in second or third or fourth grade who's going off track and measure what works to get them back on track. the consequence would be not only making their lives better off, but working on this problem about. >> quickly, i think that people
don't generally think of it this way. education is a crime control policy, i think it's a way to reduce incarceration. the young man who was sent to prison, i think we've started to use prison as a one size fits all response to crime. i think in trying to undo some of that. >> did you want to jump in? >> i'm also on the board of a charter school networks success academies in new york. our imagine proficiency levels for special ed kids is double the math proficiency of the general population. the importance of getting more data around particularly the relationship between children who are in need of special education and how we educate them, how we don't -- push them
off to the side and really deliver to them an effective education that can hopefully move them out of the special ed silo. going back to the issue of incentives. the district public schools get -- all schools get extra cash for educating special ed kids there's no real incentive to get them out of that. i'm not saying scientifically, but perhaps we could look at incentives to get those kids over, and graduate from special ed into the general education. i think it's a great plan. >> starting with the question on disabilities. it's a very important lens. it's a lens that's not been used very effectively. we're beginning to do some work in that area. i mentioned in my opening remarks, the number of folks
that identify with a disability in prison. how much larger that identification is in jails and prisons, it's partially mental health. but other forms of disability as well. we're looking at that in the pretrial context. context. i think we mentioned before the cj movement is very sil yoe. so when we say front end, we mean front end of the criminal justice system. i think we look at the front end which is all the predicate activity that leads someone down the path to maybe be in the criminal justice system. and i that i is something my organization is looking at separately. but we're also integrating our discussions with those groups early education folks to make sure we're properly intergrate sod we can make sure we take care of the predicate concerns. we're moving in the direction to
overcriminalize or increase penalties on undocumented folks in context where they should be just civil penalties. i think in response to your point, if we don't get that right, if we continue to go down that jails and prisons with folks undocument who had shouldn't be there in the same way we have low level drug offenders in our prisons now. i take your point. >> i think one of the themes that's come out of this discussion is the importance of education. the things that been added to so far as it's important to not only understand who is at risk and know what works in terms of policy, it's important to pay people for those outcomes. funding streams should be devoted to getting high quality outcomes.
and if we do everything else but we do not demand high quality outcomes, we'll not get the job done. >> i think we have time for two more questions. >> i'm on the board of the brendan center. two other important stake holesehole holders that haven't been mentioned and that is the police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors. i wonder if the panel could comment on their response to data and the kind of analysis that we now see in this report. >> madam? >> good morning. i'm president of an organization called hope for tomorrow. we focus on conflicts and violent prevention, supported the crime justice for alicia key and through senators.
my comment was -- it's on migration. i listed to attention in the united states where they're taken to jail and then taken to detention where they take longer time, five years to ten years. giving them stuff but why can they look at that system include in the report or in the future just as if they are check order if they are to be but could they let them go home. if they have to be checked, let them come back into the system instead of spending more money for five years and ten years. that does not help them. they're inside there. so that would be how do we make this an organization that is focused locally here and on those cases? thank you. >> those are two great questions. i want to address a gigantic subject. the report talks about mental health. so if you want to talk to that
briefly -- let's go back to the panel. >> just briefly. i'm not an expert on police chiefs and prosecutors, but one thung i think is useful about the report is, you know, you point out we have a lot of correction officers and few police officers, that's a system wide view. it then raises the question why? what incentives are we giving people? you have to look at the incentives? what does a prosecutor get and what does a police chief get? that's a value. i think this discussion is highlighted the inefficiencies of our criminal justice system. it's another report of this size that gets you through the inefficiencies of our integration justice system. >> sure. i should let brendan talk about law enforcement and the like. law enforcement community has been great partners with us on pushing for criminal justice reform here in d.c. and in the states. it's important to send a message
what is being offered in d.c. ensures safety because of the steps they're taking. i think that's a very good point. we're working hard to amplify the voices. i think there are many ways a krenl broken justice system. we need comprehensive immigration reform and other things. but i think that the same incentives, economic, perhaps, and the like could work in that context. they are, obviously, mirror images of each other. >> we support the brendan center in this very area. >> sure. so i'm going to question the police and prosecutors and so we launch aid group of 165 police chiefs and prosecutors called law enforcement leaders to reduce crime, incarceration in october. that is an incredibly powerful voice. i think that from decades of
experience these law enforcement officials can make the case that they have seen firsthand that sending people to prison is not what works to bring down crime. and instead a lot of the smart policing and other types of things like that have worked. and so this group has gotten very involved in the last couple months, particularly on the sentencing reform and corrections act to offer credibility to talk about the fact that it's not going to damage public safety to reform our sentencing laws. and on the point of mental health, so our prisons are the largest mental health institution in the country. so over 50% of prisoners have me mental health issues. one thing we advocated for is that manufacture the peopy of t treatment instead of prison. treatment has worked to reduce crime and be more cost effective than prison. >> i just want to emphasize that point. so the report also highlighted
that almost 70% of the population has like 20% have a history of physical or sexual abuse. often highly correlated with mental health issues. it is not surprised that we just say good luck. they wind up in trouble again. and so the program that's have been shown to work, in some sense shouldn't be surprising because relative to just the -- we'll see how things turn out, there is a lot of improvement that is possible. this isn't like sending a man to mars. people have been doing this in smart ways. incredibly grateful to the panel. it's unusual to have a kind of positive discussion about a this. thank you very much to the panel. [ applause ] >> great. i also want to lend my thanks to
the panel. thanks to all of you for being here today. thanks for everyone at the white house from ope who helped to organize it and jamie keen on our team, the people at the brennan center and a and i hope we can continue to have this discussion but through the lens we talked about today as well as the many other perspectives that have been brought to bear on this issue.
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"washington journal," real clear politics. >> and joining us now to continue our discussion of last night's primary results, we have the co-found eastern publisher of real clear politics as well as carl canyon, the executive editor and washington bureau chief from real clear politics. >> good morning, how are you? >> i'm doing well. thanks for joining us. so, tom, tell us a little bit about real clear politics for people who have not been there. how did it start? tell us a little bit about it. ed well, we started about 16 years ago. and it was really just this idea that the co-founder and i had, we were not involved in politics or journalism professionally.
but we followed elections and politics and policy with a passion. and so we had this idea to create this place for people like us who bring together all the best news and information about politics and elections. and that's what real clear politics is. that's what we do every single day. that's our mission is to be sort of a one stop shop for people so can you come and find all the latest polls, video clips, and we've also added an original reporting component which we receive. we have a seton white house press briefing room. we're publishing a lot of original content every day as well. >> you started in chicago. and why -- and how many employees do you now have in d.c.? it was partst factor that neither john nor i were involved
in politics or journalism professionally. we weren't part of the pundit class or live inside the beltway which is where the name came. from our idea was to provide sort of a different outside the beltway perspective take on the news and elections and so it just so happened we were based in the midwest and that's been part of our dna ever since even though we now have an office in d.c. and we now have, you know, anywhere from 35 to 50 people working not only at this office but also around the country. >> okay. and carl, as you -- as tom says, neither one of you were journalists in doing this. how do you see the mission of our cp change given the current media landscape? >> john and tom are journalists. i'm a veteran washington journalist when they came to me five years ago. what was going on was newspapers that had once been made huge
profits and had circulation that's were essentially monopolies really in the field. they had fallen prey to the new technology. and so i was thinking that you know, it was eventually going away. i love books. i love newspapers. this morning i walked out and picked up "the washington post," the old copy of it. i have it on my desk. but, you know, paper had a good run from, i don't know, the bible until now. that's pretty good. we didn't go for paper because we had some romantic attachment to it. it was better than popiras. now we have a new technology, not just cable television which we're on now but digital. people walk do you remember the street and read their news. sign wanted to go to a place where it tl was new technology but i could instill the old
values. what was bestst old values of journalism? you know, being fair and objective and trying to get facts right, original sources, civility, getting your quotes right. quoting both sides. quanlt ideas like that. >> let me ask you this, carl. what is the philosophy of rcp? how do you decide what gets aggregate order what gets focused on? are you -- do you lean to the left or the right? >> well, no. people come to our page and see right away what is going on. they aggregate. we have 17 top stories we put on our front page. and they are liberal, conservative, republican, democrat, i guess you have to
add socialist now with bernie sanders running. if you come to our page, hopefully you'll find your views there and hopefully you'll find opposing views or different views or views that aren't quite your view. that is the aggravated feature of real clear politics. we take stories from other news outlets and a lot is video, polls, tom and john macintire came up with the idea of poll averaging. and this was a new idea. a lot of people do it now. my first presidential campaign, i remember there was a poll that showed george w. bush, michael due kak as pulling close to
george w. bush gallup poll and people were saying it's within the margin of error. that wouldn't happen today. it wouldn't happen today because real clear politics would remind people what is going on. you get a picture of what is really happening. i think that's a nice metaphor for real clear. we want to give a clear picture, not just one side. viewers can call in on our democratic line. republicans, 202-748-8001. independent, 202-748-8002. while we wait for more calls to come in, tom, i want to ask you about your thoughts about the coverage of the presidential campaign so far. there is some criticism that
donald trump has been too much. what do you think? he is a one man media storm in the way he's able to generate news coverage. so i think, look, the media has some responsibility to that. he's been, i think, overcovered to a certain degree. on the other hand, he's making news all the time. he's driving the news conversation this n. this race and sucking up the media oxygen. that is a virtue by the way he is and how he does it. so, look, everybody's all of the immediate operations aare getting great ratings because of him. and he's also, i think, bringing a lot of people out. if you look at the turnout in
the states, he's generating some interest and excitement. >> let's go to our viewers. we have ron calling in. you were on with tom bevin and carl cannon. >> good morning, guys. i just want to give you some kudos for fine job you're doing and bringing out the issues that a lot of people don't want to cover. a couple things, though, that are not covered that we would hope that you guys are going to put some effort into. we vntd heard of hillary and bernie on one ticket. we haven't heard that yet. we haven't seen you guys put the feet to the fire for donald
trump either. and, you know, all the candidates are dodging one major issue. and that's on the firearms issue. if you want to do a poll that will drive everybody crazy, this will do. >> that's a lot town pack. let's give charl a chance to address those things. go aed had, carl. >> well, let me take them in order. hillary clinton isn't talking about a running mate yet. there is some speculation who she would choose. there is no obvious person. i guess bernie sand arz is going to go to the convention in philadelphia there with about half as many delegates as hillary clinton, i suspect. nobody else has any. he'll get a prime time speaking role. whether his showing so far stronger than people thought will earn him a spot on the ticket is one person's decision, hillary rodham clinton. if you remember in 2008, hillary clin chin cam a lot closer to
barack obama han bernie sand serz coming. she was not chosen. the president's tend -- he tends to pick somebody that they think will help them win or govern. i'm not sure that hillary clinton thinks bernie sanders fits into either of those categories. if she does, then that's her decision. that's not the media's. but what else was -- holding donald trump's feet to the fire, i've done that myself, tom. i've written columns. our caller is an early riser. he is calling from california. it is not even 5:00 in the morning. there so he's an early riser. he should go to our website and look at my columns. i think i have held his feet to the fire. trump just keeps winning anyway. >> i would add real quickly, the caller mentioned doing polls. and just to clarify, we don't do polls. we're not a polling operation. we are an aggregator of polls. we take polls that other people
are doing. we have subjects to cover. we just are collator and aggregator of polls. we're not a polling operation ourselves. >> okay. we'll talk to tom. let me ask you a question. a little bit more about how real clear politics operates. how it is funded? and are there other entities within the real clear media group? the website is free. everything we do is based on advertising. as far as real clear media group, so we have, in addition to real clear politics, we have i think 13 or 14 sister sites now.
we've taken our model and moved it to cover the topic areas. we have editors that get up every day and scour the internet to bring together the best of the best. if you follow financial markets, waunt to go to real clear markets and read all the latest commentary from all of the, you know, best commentators in that space. if you like science, can you go to real clear science and find the best science stories gathered, again, from vast array of sources. we have a number of sister sites that really do exactly what we do at real clear politics. >> okay. we're talking to tom bevin and carl cannon, the publisher and editor at real clear politics. we have paul calling in.
>> caller: i was curious, you know, when after hillary clinton retired as secretary of state, she had like 79% approval rating. and then news media like fox got ahold of that. she was going to run for president. and they start the benghazi stuff and this and that. and they drove her ratings down into the gutter. but, you know, to be -- it just seems like, you know, what did she ever do wrong? she had e-mails just like colin powell did and condoleezza rice and being examined every day of her life. it seems like as soon as they found out she was going to run for president, they want to make her look like -- i don't want to say what donald trump calls her. >> let's give carl a chance to address that. carl, what can explain the change in favorability numbers for secretary clinton?
>> well, i didn't really hear a question. there but i'll answer your question. we live in a polarized time now. bill clinton, hillary clinton, george w. bush, barack obama, they're all said to be polarizing people. i don't think that is necessarily true. they have strong personalities. true. but we're in a polarized environment. anybody who throws -- puts themselves in the areen yashgs i don't care if they start with 80% approval rating, that will be closer to 50%. that's the kind of country we're in now. so many voters if, a person has to d after their name, that's all they need to hear. they don't need to hear about benghazi or e-mails. that spern a democrat running for president, i'm not for them. vice versa on the other side. so it's made politics a little tougher to cover. but i think it's important to remember that these two political parties, each want to win. they see their job as driving up the negatives of the other side.
you'll see now donald trump is sort of -- he doesn't need people to drive up his negatives. he sort of revels in it. but whoever the nominee is, half the country will think they're bad. that's the environment we're in. it's one reason why i personally encourage civility of discourse. and our page, you know, we have columnist who's do things. but our reporters, they remember these are people that they cover. we try to cover both sides fairly. it's not that hard to do. if you just -- if you keep some context in mind while you're writing. >> tom, the polling average has called the calling card k you tell how that came to be? how you came to focus on that?
we started the poll average in 2002. it really sort of came to recognition in the 2004 cycle. and the idea was, as carl mentioned earlier, can you get a poll that says that one candidate up is by eight points and get a poll that come out next day saying the other candidate sbip two points. partisans grab on to the polls and run to the media and say my guy is ahead. a national poll showed tuz cruz ahead of donald trump by two points. ted cruz said guess what?
there is a new national leader in this race and it's me. that wasn't true at all, actually. in 20 of the -- i think 19 of the 20 polls that were taken in the 90 days prior, donald trump had led all of the polls and he led i think 15 of them by double digits or more. so that's an example where you have a poll, even from a great polling outfit which is an outliar which, again, people will take that and try to use that for their own purposes so sort of distort reality. and so the idea of the poll average is to provide a better overall, more broad look at where a race stands at any given point in time. stocks go up and down during the day. but tend of the day, it's where is the dow? what is the number on the dow? what is the number on the real clear politics average? we that i is accurate.
>> real clear politics publisher tom bevin aefnd carl cannon. we have susan calling in from goodyear, arizona. what's your question? zbh good morning. thank you so much. i've been waiting all morning to get on your show. >> i am just so proud of hillary and donald trump. i mean, hillary has all these calls. my kids are in the military. i have one that passed away from the military. there are three of them. and, you know what? benghazi is a big thing. they will not talk about it on the news. the only one that talks about it is one america news. that is the only channel i watch now. but with the politics you're talking about right now, my question is, i'm in arizona. i got my card in the mail the other day saying i'm a democrat. i'm