tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 2, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
the case of far too little of what we do actually makes sense or is backed by specific evidence that it works. and that definitely applies to criminal justice. i don't think you could -- it's very rare in academic literature to find not like an 80-20 but basically a 100-zero type of situation which is what applies to the way we've gone about trying to deter crime. effectively, what the evidence strongly suggests is that the severity of punishment matters much less than its certainty and we put much too much emphasis on the severity on the length of prison sentences and much too little on providing certainty and there's a whole variety of reasons. that shouldn't be surprising to us. behavioral economics suggests something that happens 15 or 20 years from now affects behavior much less than something that will happen tomorrow. by emphasizing prison lengths,
for example, we're betraying that basic principle. 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. or some other form of resolution. 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, the fact only one out of seven cases is anyone brought to justice, that, unfortunately, encourages the burglaries in a way that i think prison sentences, or the length of prison sentence, don't do much to offset. so now you might think, there's not much what we can do, it is what it is, burglaries are hard to solve and violent crime is hard to solve. the evidence is also very compels there is lots we can do. so as an example, jason furman
mentioned empirical evidence suggests there is a positive return to police presence. part of the -- part of the mechanism in terms of deterring crime, part of the mechanism there is that the evidence despite some misleading evidence from the famous kansas city study, suggests that things like response times do matter includes in robberies and burgla burglaries. interesting evidence from manchester in the uk suggesting exactly that, that response times matter. and it's also the case that you may all remember the bat computer where batman and robin thought they could predict individual crimes. well, that's becomes a reality. for example, in milan, the police there use something called key crime which predicts individual criminal behavior in the future and individual targets and has been shown to be quite effective. those are the kinded of investments that can matter. and that we're not making sufficiently. then final point in terms of what the evidence suggests and
where there are returns. the recidivism rate is unacceptably high. especially for those who have behavioral health and substance abuse issues which are a significant share of those who are exiting incarceration and the evidence strongly suggests that providing targeted health care and other social support to those people can pay off. we still need better evidence, but the evidence is strongly suggestive. for example, there was a program in michigan that effectively cut the recidivism rate in half among people who have those kinds of issues. one of the -- i'll just put in a quick plug for the affordable care act, one of the benefits of the expanded medicaid programs in many states is that those people are qualifying for the type of help that they need and in terms of making sure that we don't waste lives, there's probably no better intervention than making sure someone who's already started to go down the wrong path doesn't repeat the mistake in the future.
>> thank you. the entire business sector on this panel, it's a heavyweight -- valerie jarrett in her introduction made the point, business is clearly -- think about this a lot, but it's been hard sometimes 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? >> so i'm going to entirely dodge that question because i don't feel like i'm -- sorry. i'm going to entirely -- not entirely, i'm going to partially dodge the question because i feel i'm here more as a philanthropist than as a businessperson, but i'll take a stab at it. i think as a businessperson, i'm in investment management business, and our business is largely centered around evaluating situations, analyzing things, using the best data and evidence an logic to get to a specific outcome. and i think just to build on what peter said, the thing that
is really misses from this entire complex is the use of evidence, data and logic in a stated goal that we're trying to achieve. i think -- 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 that points really in one direction. what he did that was most valuable in addition to introducing all the data is 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 aei conference. it shouldn't surprise people that folks like aei are committed to humanity and social justice and good just like people on the other end of the spectrum. i was there and -- at this aei conference. i wandered into a room on
criminal justice. something i didn't really know anything about. there was corkor booker sitting behind mike lee and john cornyn. had democrats and republicans. i struck first, wow, this is great, this is a bipartisan issue. the other thing that jumped out at me was some of the data introduced there. this is -- as somebody who's personally very engaged in education reform, this is a sister issue to that. i mean, if we want to close down this, as valerie pointed out, the highway from education to prison highway, we've got to start with our education system. and we need to apply the same sorts of evidence, data and logic to education and to get kids, particularly black and hispanic kids from poor communities that aren't graduating from college. i'll just close saying that this is really shocking. the tate to i learned.
which is the large per scentagef people, in the black community, if you didn't graduate from prison, your likelihood -- sorry, if you didn't graduate from high school, rather, your like liehood not of being in prison at some point but being in prison 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%. i think taken 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 sort of civility and honest discourse based on facts and compassion and real care for our citizens and for our communities and for our country? and, you know, as opposed to what we're seeing right now in the, sometimes in the extremes of the political discussion that's going on. >> thank you. and i really recommend reading -- of course you're
going to read this report. one of the most powerful things i think this report does is look at the collateral damage, if you're someone making a case that prison works and you're locking up bad guys, this really focuses not just on the effects to those people and how they got into prison, but their children, their families, the wider community. access to public housing, occupational licenses. stunning statistic after stunning statistic. help us understand the collateral costs on, you know, so much larger groups of people than just the prisoners, themselves. those incarcerated. >> sure. thank you. we've been looking at this question from the perspective of the impact on opportunity that our criminal justice system policies have levied and how those policies exacerbated existing inequality. overcriminalization, mass incarceration have been major drivers of unequinequality in t country, economic inequality, as well as a racial inequality. there's a study that says between 1980 and 2004, but for mass incarceration, the poverty
rate would have dropped 20%. the impact of all of this has been alluded to really has ripple effects across our country and the impact is staggering. the report, our discussions, have illustrated the impact of people of color. people of color make up more than 60% of prison population despite making up approximately 39% or 40% of the u.s. population. and, you know, there's a statistic that -- the report is fantastic for really putting out the scope of the problem, but there's this statistic or impact that's not often talked about. that's the impact on women. african-american women are more likely than women of other races to go to prison during their lifetimes and are significantly overrepresented in prisons and jails. inmates in prisons are nearly three times more likely and those who are in jails four times more likely to report a disability than the general population. so the effects of all of these policies really do ripple across all our communities and impact a
wide variety of individuals. and what does this all mean? well, one in three americans have a criminal record. and even a minor offense, misdemeanor, can lead to a lifelong set of consequences both in employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and housing. and we know that 60% of folks within the first year are not fortunate enough to get employment because of these barriers. those that are lucky enough to get employment often get jobs in low-wage occupations. and also maybe saddled with fees and fines that we've also talked about. in some ways criminalizing pover poverty. importantly, we found that this doesn't just impact folks with criminal records. it impacts their families, their children and center for american progress put out a report recently 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. and if you consider the impacts
that a criminal record has on the parent, the ripple effect that has on the children is palpable. income obviously is eliminated for the child and household. s.n.a.p. benefits no longer available for those who have felony drug convictions, thereby depriving families of nutritional opportunities as well as other means of stability and livelihood. also while income is important, savings are also important for financial stability and obviously 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 this is boll tstered by a report today, kids count report, which focuses on the impact of all these policies on children who are incarcerated, 5 million kids who are incarcerated. there are things we can do to solve this including making sure
we adopt fair housing and fair employment practices so we don't blanketly excluding folks from opportunit opportunity. pennsylvania is taking the lead proposing that we seal criminal records automatically under certain circumstances so criminal records aren't at issue either in the employment process or in the housing process or in many other processes that become barriers for folks with criminal records. we've received -- seen a lot of bipartisan support for that. >> thank you very much. and a question to sort of focus on the politics, trying to introduce some rigor on the policies of this. when you look at the figure of 46,000 occupational -- 46,000 rules and regulations, limited occupations, that tells you that politicians have very frequently felt the need to keep people safe by doing things that were clearly going to limit
employment. there is tremendous de-zaire to keep voters feeling safe. how do you use economics to tackle this clearly grotesquely inefficient prison population system prison sort of industry, while still making people feel safe? >> yeah, so one of the core t tenents of economics is people respond to incentives. there's a wheel school of legal thought trying to bring that concept into law and policy. one, if legislators and policymakers aren't thinking about the incentives their laws are creating, this often leads to unintended consequences. secondly, in order to prevent that from happening when people are putting policies together, we need to very 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 that federal laws work, state laws work and local
practices operate. that incentivize mass incarceration. and one of the most common examples of this, so police departments are -- they measure success through the number of arrests. prosecutors measure success through the number of convictions and how many people they are sending away to prison and for how long they're sending them. one of the examples in terms of the federal level is a 1994 crime bill. which we've all been hearing about on the campaign trail. 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 laws that increased prison terms. so in response, over 28 states actually changed their laws and applied for funding. and then between 1994 and 2008, the prison population doubled. so to truly end mass incarceration, these types of incentives have to be changed. and here's where the federal
government can play a very large role. of course states and localities need to also change their laws but just like in the 1990s when the federal government incentivized more incarceration, it can similarly use its federal grants to reduce mass incarceration. so today there are $3.8 billion that go out to the federal government from states and cities. most of these funds largely run on autopilot. all of that should be taken, given to states to reward states that one, reduce crime, and two, reduce incarceration. you're giving states the right incentives while giving them the freedom to allow to choose how to get there and drawing on the comments of dan and peter, those are the goals we're trying to get in terms of what works to get there. so we've run the numbers on this particular proposal which we call the reverse mass incarceration act. which is basically a reverse of the '94 crime bill.
this proposal could cut the national prison population by 20%, save $40 billion and still keep crime down. that's one example of how this could be applied. >> well, thank you very much for that opening round. it seems to me the overarching theme of the work going on at the moment, you're not asking the country to completely abandon its goals. the goals don't have to change. it's to keep the country safe, deter crime, puni isish people need to be punished. 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 sort of creating this rats nest of bad policy. explain to us, there's probably a bias towards it of economics in this room, but explain why economics is unusually useful both in providing rigor and cutting through partisan politics on it. 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. so as jason mentioned, 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. poverty. persistent poverty is an important issue for people to deal with. there's a lot of discussion about it. you look inside it, what do you mi find? people who aren't working. families who don't stay together. you find single mothers trying to do this on their own. that feeds into the issue. that's exactly the phenomena we see. state budgets a really exciting topic for most people. they're stretched tremendously.
you look inside of it, prison populations are a big chunk of that. so all roads lead to this issue then you get the really striking results. number one, you can make a lot of progress on the labor force participation. the anti-poverty programs. the relief on state budgets. without sacrificing the safety of the public. now, that's a really rare public policy moment. usually, i'd like to do these things, but man, we might have to worry over here on the safety front. that's why, again, this is such a unique moment. on the bipartisanship, i think part of what's gone on is many republicans, conservatives, sort of got drawn into this for the fact that they're skeptical that the government can do anything well. why do we believe they imprison people well, and they don't seem to, and it costs a lot of money, we can save them money. why don't we do that? it really is a unique situation at the moment. >> i'd say two things.
one, as was earlier pointed out, at heart of economics is incentives and a big part of the, you know, apparent benefit of longer prison sentences, for example, is that it would deter crime. the fact of the matter is it doesn't work. and so fundamentally, we need to change because -- i mean, imagine we had a tax policy that was designed to create more businesses and looked and found it -- yet there was another approach that did work. 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. in fact, if anything, the opposite. here's an example where being warmhearted can also be very much hard headed because by investing in, again, detecting and sort of the -- not the severity, but making sure that people who commit crimes do pay a consequence, you're going to be much more effective and
secondly, being kind -- kinder to those who do go astray helpedhelp s to prevent them from coming criminals again. this is not just airy fairy let's be nice to people. this is hardheaded empirically-driven commonsensical reforms that also makes the people directly affected their lives better off. >> just before i turn to the oath e panelists, you've written interesting things about the fact that actually criminals sometimes are rational actors and economists look at rational decisions that people make and they apply discount effects and all of these things and if you give people the choice of immediate short-term punishment for, say, going back on drugs when they're supposed to have done a deal with the courts to stay off drugs as opposed to saying we'll lock you up, instead of for ten years we'll lock you up for 20 years. people respond to those different punishments very differently. can you tell us briefly about how that works.
>> the example is project hope from hawaii, a randomized experiment, the gold standard of evidence, and having the certainty of not only being tested regularly but having a, you know, a known penalty if you were found to be using drugs even if the penalty -- even if the penalty is small or short, has a very 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. including for criminals, it comes from italy, and it suggests very high discount rates which is not that surprising. a lot of people behave that one. again, what it suggests is knowing for sure or knowing 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 versus 20 years. >> one of the ways you can make a criminal think twice about
reoffending is he might be arrested by a policeman who's there. i want to ask the panel about policing. this whole report is full of extraordinary facts and to explain the difference between british and american journalism. in american journalism, if you have a killer fact, it's known as a hay mildred fact because you'reea breakfast table. in england hopefully reading an "economist" article, you can get a jaw dropping fact there, known as a dropper. one of the marmalade droppers in this report for me was the united states in order to take care of this enormous prison population employs correction officer at 2 preside.5 times th average rate. employs 30% fewer police officers per capita than most countries. that's the kind of extraordinary fact.
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. how does that work and how does economics inform us about the right way and the wrong way to spend these vast sums of money? >> sure. fair warning, i'm not an economist by training. i'm a lawyerly training. i don't say that defensively. >> i see your point. >> actually a criminal defense lawyer, but it's a longer panel. i think it all starts with reorienting our perspectives on communities and policing. we've seen obviously over the past few years overt public breakdowns of that trust. but it's been broken for a very long time and i think it goes to boat treats police officers and law enforcement as stakeholders. but also treating community members as stakeholders. majority/minority communities just like majority white communities want effective, efficient, safe and respectful
policing. they also don't want to be profiled. so i think you begin by looking at how do we restructure the relationship between law enforcement, quite frankly, our democratic process, so that folks in communities actually feel that they are -- customers are participants in a process, not just those who are being targeted. i think it starts there. i think it also goes to law enforcement being willing to step out and step up to, perhaps, being open to training, deescalation training, advised training and the like. also from community perspectives, respecting and understanding that police officers are important stakeholders in this conversation as well. if i could just touch on the economy, economic aspect as well from your prior question, we're part of a coalition called coalition of public safety which is a right-leaning, left-leaning organization full of unusual bedfell bedfellows.
what kept us together is there's not a juxtaposition between keeps our communities safe and having effective criminal justice system. in fact, they go lockstep. housing, employment, making that available for folks who are reentering, you'll see reduction in recidivism. we've known that for a long time. i think this report speaks to that as well. >> we heard that extraordinary statistic earlier. 85% of burglaries never come to justice. it's often -- when there's a political partisan discussion of policing, it's often these communities of clo, you knolor, oppressively policed, being badly policed. one of the underreported things, a lot of these communities are also underpoliced. 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. and i think -- 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. are seen as participants in the democratic process. i'm a voter, therefore, the
police are here. you're in some way my employee. there are other communities police are seen as those who are targeting. i think 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. i think it goes back to restructuring, once again, how we look at policing and how we look at the people who are in communities and making sure everyone is entitled to base level of respect as consumers and as citizens. if you reorient that, we'll go a long way in solving that problem. >> you spent a lot of time on capitol hill trying to, you know, see individual pieces of legislation. whether they're going to get through, whether this bipartisan idea that we all talk about is actually real and people will take risks and maybe take risks in a primary season by taking a vote that someone is going to cut a tv ad saying they're soft on crime. not asking you to be a kind of political kind of strategist, but when you're looking at things like policing and you can arguments about smarter
policing, better deterrence, is this one of the ways you can use these economic numbers and try and 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 and build that bipartisan consensus? >> yes. so i think there's two parts to that answer. so the first is i think with policing it's the same as every other criminal justice policy which is follow the evidence. and that we should be funding things in policing that work while passing a cost/benefit task. so, for example, it's proven that increasing the number of police officers and deploying things like comstat, evidence-based policing are proven to bring down crime. however, perhaps things like stop and frisk aren't. at the same time that creates a large toll on communities. i would say in terms of policing, it's similar to how you would look at criminal justice overall from an economic perspective. 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 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. and that bill has a real chance of passing this session and so i think that that is howing how people can come across ideological lines to push something forward and that particular bill would reduce mandatory minimums for several low-level crimes as well as allow judges more discretion to depart from those when needed. >> did you want to jump in? >> yeah, i think one of the things that's important to remember it's not just what happens on capitol hill. what's perhaps more important is what happens when they go home. and one of the things that's true about this particular area
is that there have been states that sort of recognize these issues and can make some progress and one of the reasons republicans came to this issue, they have increasingly owned this problem with governorships and state legislatures and have had to grapple with, you know, what are the facts on the ground versus the sort of, you knows, rhetoric and myths? and so i think that's helped on this particular issue. and, you know, peter's right about the importance of evidence-based policymaking, but one of the ways it's little appreciated the evidence matters is when your legislators can go home and explain the evidence to their constituents. it's that piece of public education that's often the most important. having them be well equipped with an arsenal of facts as opposed to the vices of the people they confront is a really useful thing. >> lieutenant loeb, you spent a lot of time talking to big business people in your investment business, talking to ceos. you can get depressed talking
about the large numbers in this presentation this morning, the sheer number of people, proportions of people who've had contact with the criminal justice system. is there an opportunity in there, too, if you're a business leader, you think, i cannot just wave good-bye to that portion of the workforce, this is something we have to grapple with. do you sense a changing mood mopg businesses they're willing to step up and talk about the need to ban the box or be smart about hiring practices simply because otherwise you're throwing away vast proportions of the workforce. tell us about the mood in the y business community. >> again, as the sole representative of the entire business community, it's hard for me to respond to. as we think about diversities in our companies it isn't about racial diversify and gender diversity. i think we need to introduce
this as a identifier, if you will, that we really strive to solve for. and i think there are -- it's actually not something that comes up specifically about integrating people with criminal records. but there is another aspect of this that does come up in the business community. and why this is so important, aside from the data, aside from the issue of human decency sitwith the crisis we have in this crisis 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 maybe try out. so i do think from that standpoint the business community does care and believes in sort of 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. >> peter orszag, can i ask you about one of the other potential opportunities out of something difficult. we exist in a time of constrained budgets. constrained state budgets. some of the states that look first at this, texas a classic example under governor rick perry saying we're spending a fortune locking people up. that's not a fiscally conservative kind of starting point. in your time now as an analyst, also previously when you were in government, did you see fiscal constraints at the federal and the state level as an opportunity that you can start trying to drive smarter policy just because people understand that they're going to have to make choices here that there are tradeoffs they're going to have to make? >> i wouldn't necessarily call it an opportunity but it's certainly a necessity as fiscal constraints become tighter both at the federal level and state and local level. again, we are doing a not good
job. a very poor job in general at measuring what we do and then trying to take that into account. it's not just criminal justice. this is across the board. a book that i did with jim nussell called "money ball for government" tried to promote the idea we could be doing better. the administration has done a bunch. ron haskins and greg margoles put out a book showing what the obama administration has done. we're still far away from what's possible. criminal justice is a good example. it's always the case that in addition, most importantly, to not wasting lives, you don't want to waste money. that'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. >> before we turn to the november policies, i'm very keen to cake questions from the audience. i wanted to ask the panel, given we have this moment where you can focus people, we've been
guessing at how to construct a good criminal justice policy. we've been making some bad guesses. unintended consequences. it's been wasteful. when you look at the range of research in this long record, also other research, give us just a few smart things you would love to see people talking about more. what are the kind of -- whether it's exactly what you do with people when they laef priseave r training in prison or education. feel free to jump in and flag up some of the things you want people to look at this in report, just one or two poli policies, if anyone wants to jump in that are really underappreciated opportunities. >> i'll start briefly. i think we can make better use of police on the ground and on i.t. to identify hotspots and other ways of making sure those resources work well. and then secondly on recidivism, i do think there's a lot more that we could be doing in addition to just cutting sentence lengths to make re-entry into a productive workforce better. i'll highlight just briefly even
though this is not politically correct, i think ideas like sealing criminal records is something that is worth really pursuing or thinking hard about. someone who commits especially a nonviolent crime in their early 20s should not have a scarlet letter on them for the rest or their working lives in the way that so often happens today. [ applause ] we prize transparency and i'm all in favor of that but i think in a whole variety of dimensions, we have gone too far and this is one of them. >> oh, sure. i wholeheartedly agree, of course, and i think that from our perspective, the report really highlights the importance of what we call in the criminal justice system the front end but the true front end. making sure we create opportunities in communities before there's criminal justice involvement in the first place. but echoing what was said before, i think reducing those barriers, i think i alluded to before, making sure we don't blanketly exclude people with criminal records from housing, employment and education, then looking again to the states.
as before, pennsylvania is introducing -- has introduced legislation on sealing criminal records to take that off the table for both employment and housing. i think that's something we really should be looking at. >> inimai, did you want to -- >> sure, i would just add to that. i think things like expungement, ban the box and re-entry programs are incredibly important. one thing i would want to keep in mind, for many of these people, i don't understand why they're going to prison in the first place. if we know that doesn't work to bring down crime and that's causing all sorts of collateral consequences. i think we need to change our sentencing laws so the default for many of these low-level nonviolent crimes is an alternative to prison as opposed to people going to prison. >> did you want to -- >> yeah, i just wanted to add on top of the report, ways we can all get involved in this, in addition to engaging with our
political leaders, there are institutions like the brennan center, like aei that have been great on this but there are others -- i'll give a plug for the u.s. justice action network that for an example is helping us get a gentleman named bernard noble out of prison. he's spending -- he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for possession of 2 grams of marijuana. and he was arrested for riding a bike the wrong way on a one-way street. he hasn't gotten into trouble with the law for over a dozen years, but because of a number of prior convictions, so we're working legislatively within the state of louisiana who has the undistinguished record of having the worst -- the highest incarceration -- i say worst 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 foss, this hasn't
been discussed, but the important role of prosecutors in this issue. he gave a talk -- i hope all of you have seen it, if you haven't, put it on your list. has 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 really build on this. i think this is another one of the critical areas where we can make progress on this issue. >> well, i'm very keen to take questions from the audience but i'd be remiss, we're sitting in washington, it's the kind of political town, people think about things like elections. there is, i believe, an election coming in november. is this bipartisan push going to have to take a bit of a pause between now and november? is it something that can survive the kind of pump p bumpy road t the final months of a presidential campaign? do any of you want to speak to how you think -- you have this
kind of no then momentum, coming together of state level, federal level, expertise, how do you navigate this electoral period in smart ways? anybody want to jump in on this? >> can legislation pass the house, be signed by this president, i think the answer is yes. i would say mechanically for a couple reasons. number one, such legislation exists and there are bipartisan sponsors in both houses of congress and as i mentioned, perhaps one of the most important things is what happens when you go home and i think there's lots of evidence at least on the republican side that this is an issue in their states and localities that they can benefit from, not be viewed as a curse. and i won't say this lovingly, but i don't think the republican presidential candidates' policy platforms are so rich that they're crowding out this debate. >> does anyone else want to -- >> yeah.
to add to that. so, i mean, i tend to agree. i think that there is a real chance for bipartisan action particularly in congress. the thing i would just oadd to that, i think it is truly remarkable how this has become a real live issue in the presidential debate. this is something even i as an advocate wouldn't have thought could have happened. 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, like, some fringe advocate. now they're like, oh, i heard that on npr, read that in "the wall street journal." i think that opened up a much more -- a larger public awareness i think is actually helping push forward momentum as well. >> i would just briefly say, look, if you ask the question instead of the next few months it would be great if it happened, but over the next two years is there a high chance of legislation? don't forget that it is still, unfortunately, rare that you have bipartisan agreement like exemplified on this panel on any
topic. and this is the sort of thing that if it doesn't happen this year, should be, and i think will be high on the agenda for a new administration because it's eminently 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 orszag scenario where it doesn't happen this year. >> i think, if i may add -- i think i'm -- one of the ones pushing for criminal justice reform in congress and i think it's definitely possible. i think, if i recall reads something that the rnc adopted, something close to a platform calling for cj reform.
i think it's being integrated into the political discussion. i want to urge people to look to the states as well. 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. but we're also seeing new things happening in states that are also worth looking at. all that's happening in a bipartisan way and i think could, again, provide more models for what's going to potentially come down the pike here at the federal level. >> did you want to -- before we open to the audience, did you want to jump in? well, please state where you're from and ask a brief question rather than make a speech so everyone gets a chance to -- to -- i think someone had their hand up. ma'am, i think -- if you could wait for the microphone. thank you. >> thank you for this extraordinary work. my name is jennifer mizrahi from "respectability." my question is about americans with disabilities and putting
the disability lens on this very important vital work that you're doing. in reading what we could read in the report so far, hearing your presentation, it seemed to me withdrew were missing the lens of the disability beyond the mental health or the addiction issues. and i think that when peter was talking about how you can use big data, for example, to predict where crime's going to take place, you can actually look at a third grade child and their disability status and their learning status and see the likelihood of that child being involved in the correction system. so i'm wonders ing if you're gog to be putting a lens in helping to do early diagnose and intervention particularly for children of color who are very frequently underdiagnosed and don't get the supports that they need, number one? and then also for people in the corrections system to get beyond the mental health or the addiction issues and to look at the learning disabilities that are barriers to opportunities for them. >> thank you. and just because we have so many
questions, i have to take batches of two or three. so the -- this gentleman here. if you can wait for the mike. it's been webcast. >> girard robinson. there are 5 million children who have at least one parent who's incarcerated. we know that one of the few institutions of stability are schools. whether public or private. 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. just wait for the mike. thank you. >> thank you very much, sir. i'm from the caribbean and african faith-based leadership conference. and my question is, as it relates to the incarceration of immigrants, look more specifically at black immigrants, african and
caribbean immigrants, have you looked at the impact that it has on our population? one of the challenge that we face especially as it relates to faith outreach to that population, sometimes after an arrest i.c.e. is already, and before we can minister to them, they're already in 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. and he's now working on this ph.d., moved on with his life and all because of an incident on his 18th birthday, he's going for deportation process while he has great job as an engineer, great dreams to offer this country. and these are some of the challenges that our population faces. so 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. >> thank you. panel, you've had really important issues raised. if you'd like to jump in on the issues you'd like to speak to. >> sure. let me just respond to the question about early life trajectories because i think it's very important. the ca report has some compelling data about, for example, raising the share of people who graduate from high school and what effect that would have on criminal activity as just one example and know kids often go off track early in, you know, elementary and secondary school then don't even get to high school graduation. so what's interesting is the same phenomenon here. it's not a panacea. it's necessary but not sufficient. you still need good managements
an attention to detail. 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 also helping on this problem. >> inimai chettiar, do you want to jump in? >> sure. i don't think people think of it this way but education is a crime control policy and also a way to reduce incarceration. and on the case here about the young man who was sent to prison, i mean, i think we started -- we have been using prison as a one size fits all response to crime. i think in terms of trying to undo some of that. >> did you want to jump in on -- >> i mean, i'm also on the board of a charter school networks success academies in new york and our math proficiency levels
for special ed kids at success academies is double the math proficiency of the general population. so i'm not an expert on this, but i think it was an excellent question, something i've been thinking about and 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, you know, push them off to the side and really deliver to them an effective education that can hopefully move them outside of the special ed silo into the general population. and unfortunately, going back to the issue of incentives, the district public schools get -- all schools get extra cash for educating special ed kids. so there's no real incentive to get them out of that. so, you know, i'm not saying it scientifically, perhaps we should think of incentives to move those kids over and get
them to quote/unquote graduate from special ed into the general education. i think it's a great plan. >> sure, starting with the question around disabilities. i think it's a very important lens and it's a lens that's not been used very effectively in the cj reform context. 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 it's other forls of disability as well. we're looking at that in the pretrial context. but also in the larger prison context. the other related question you have, how do we support children in school? i think i mentioned before, the cj movement is -- it's very silo. when we say front end, we mean front end of the criminal justice system. what i think a lot of us would urge is we look at the front front end which is all the
predicate activity that leads someone down the path to maybe being in the criminal justice system. or even being diverted. i think that is something my organization is looking at separately but we're also integrating our discussions integrating our discussions with the early education folks to make sure we're properly integrated to make sure we take care of the predicate concerns. and regarding refaorm, it is vey challenging. we have some that are trying to overcrimin overcriminalize or in context where it should be civil penalties. and in responding to your point, if we don't get that right and continue to go down that path we'll have burgeoning jails and prisons with folks undocumented and shouldn't be there in the same way we have low-level drug offenders like we have now and i take your point and it is something that needs to be exam ipped closely -- examined
closely. >> and one thing that should come out of this is better education. and that is on the list. and the thing i would add to what has been said before, it is important to know who is at risk and know what worveg works in -- works in terms of policy. it is important to pay feel for funding streams devoted to high quality out comes and if they are we're take care of the child incarcerated because we want the outcomes and take care of those with disabilities by getting early intervention. but if we do not demand high quality outcomes, we'll probably not get the job done. >> we'll have time for two more questions so i'll choose arbitrary. the man in the front and the man in the back. >> tom jordy, on the board of the brennan center. i wonder, to other important stakeholders that haven't been mentioned except briefly by dab and that -- by dan are the police chief and sheriffs and prosecutors.
i wonder if the panel could comment on their response to data and of the kind of analysis that we now see in this report. >> thank you. and right in the back. >> good morning. my name is rosemary segara and i'm from hope for tomorrow. we focus on conflicts and violence prevention and have supported the crime justice for alicia key and through the senator. my comment was -- my question was on the immigration. i visited some in detention here in the united states where for crimes they are taken to jail and then to detention where they take a longer time, five to ten years. and the u.s. spent so much money giving them food, giving them stuff, but why can't they look at that system and include in the report or in the future if they are checked or if they are -- to let them go home. if they are to be checked, let
them check and go home instead of spending money for up to five or ten years and it does not help them and they are in side there. so that would be -- how do we make this an organization that is focusing locally here and on those cases. thank you. >> thank you. so the panel, those are two great questions. i want to use the privilege to throw in a gigantic subject two days in the progress but the role talks about mental health so if you wanted to speak about that briefly. >> i'm not an expert on police chiefs and prosecutors but one thing that is useful before the report, you pointed out we have correction officers and relatively few ploifolice offic and it is a systemwide view. and that raises the question why. and you have to look at the incentives. what does the prosecutor and the police chief get and that is a value. and this discussion has highlighted the inefficiency of
our criminal justice system. it is another report of this size that get you through the inefficiency of our immigration justice system. >> sure. i should let brannon talk about law enforcement and the like. the law enforcement community has been great partners with us on pushing for criminal justice reform here in d.c. and in the states. there are very important stakeholders and to send the message that what is being offered in d.c. does nothing but ensure safety because of the steps they are taking. so i think that is a very good point and we're working very hard to amplify those voices. regarding immigration and detention and in your point, i think you are correct that it mirrors in many ways our broken criminal justice system. which is why, not to get overfully political here, we need comprehensive immigration reform but i think the same incentives, economic perhaps and the like could perhaps work in that context because they are mirror images of each other.
>> i'll pass the baton to inimai because we support the brennan center they do on this area. >> so on the address of police and prosecutors, we launched a group of 165 police chiefs and prosecutors called law enforcement leaders to reduce crime and incarceration in october. that is an incredibly powerful voice because i think that from decades of experience, these law enforcement officials can make the case that they have seen first-hand that sending people to prison is not what works to bring down crime and instead a lot of the smart policing and other things like that have worked. and so this group has gotten very involved in the last couple of months, particularly on the sentencing reform and corrections act to offer credibility to talk about the fact it is 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 mental health issues. and so one of the things that we've advocated for is that many of those people need treatment instead of prison. and treatment has been proven to work and at reducing crime and also be more cost-effective than prison. >> pedro? >> i want to emphasizing that point. and the c.a. report highlighted that 70% of the incarcerated population has a history of regular drug use, something like 20% have a history of physical or sexual abuse, highly correlated with mental health issues. it is not surprising when they levin ca levin -- leave incarceration, we say good luck and they wind up to be in the program again. and the programs that work shouldn't be surprising because relative to how we'll see how things turn out, there is a lot of improvement that is possible. >> i think that is one of the messages that comes out of the
whole report, this isn't sending a man to mars. people have been doing this in smart and dumb ways and you could look at it and measure it. i'm grateful to the panel. it is unusual to have a positive discussion about a very bleak subject but i think it was encouraging to hear this level of expertise and 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 team, the people at the brennan center and aei and i hope we continue to have this discussion between the lens we talked about today and as well as the many other perspectives that have been brought to bear on this issue. so thanks, everyone. [ applause ]
recently our campaign 2016 bus made a visit to pennsylvania during the primary. stocking at grove city college, slippery rock university and washington and jefferson college and harrisburg college where they learned about the road to the white house coverage and the resources covering the criminal trail found at c-span.org and visitors could share thoughts about upcoming election.
we ended in warrington, pennsylvania, where it visited a middle school to honor seven 9th graders in the student competition. a special thank you to comcast and armstrong cable in help in coordinating the visits. view the winning documentaries at student cam.org. next, a discussion about the worst president in u.s. history. three historians first looked at what makes a president the worst, followed by their nominees. the panel was port of the organization of american historians annual meeting held this year in providence, rhode island. it is an hour and a half. welcome to the oah 2016 and welcome to the planary panel, worst president ever. i'm claire potter, professor of