tv Discussion Focuses on Re- Entry Following Incarceration CSPAN December 21, 2016 9:35am-10:15am EST
industry, higher education, legal services and many other fields to hopefully critically examine these issues and leave us all ready to effect change. i also want to point out that the folders you receive today include a newly released report from class that looks at the landscape of correctional educational, both from the funding and programming standpoint and also how it ties to reentry. the report is co-authored by me and my colleagues at clasp, anna salinsky and dewey familiar and currently available on www.clasp.org. the recorded version of today's event will be available on our website later as well. i would like to turn the program over to our es schemteemed spea nick turner, president of the institute of justice an independent nonprofit that work
to end the misuse of jails, transform conditions of confinement and ensure the justice systems are more effectively serving america's growing minority communities. nick has been at the institution since 1998 and has served as president since 2013. he is a nationally recognized leader on criminal justice reform issues. we are so excited to have him with us today. without further ado, i present nick turner. whenever someone introduces me as being esteemed or nationally recognized, i always feel like they are talking about someone
else. i don't feel i quite fit that bill with you i will do what i can to live up to that introduction. i want to begin first by saying how pleased i am to have been invited to speak to all of you to be invited to an event that is organized by clasp. clasp is an organization i have long admired in many respects. the vera institute of justice and clasp are sort of of the same generation, a generation that was born of recognition and great challenge and an opportunity to remake society and draw a greater attention to social justice issues and give voice to the underserved. like you, we care a dwrat deal about racial justice at vera. you take a lens of anti-poverty work as you pursue it. we have always been in the
justice reform lane, a slightly narrower lane. i think we have been running together for a long time. olivia, i have been watching you, you may not know, i have been watching you since i had my first job in d.c. at a place called sasha youth work. you were at children's fund there and up in new york as state director of operations and now in this role. when i looked at the board members for dra also p, i saw names like peter edel map and joe anek and angela glover blackwell and sarah war tell and donna cooper, all of whom i have great admiration for. i couldn't be more thrilled to be here.
i am going to tell you a little bit about what i hope to do today and help you appreciate we are operating in a moment of history and why this is such an important moment for justice reform and for poor people in this country. i want to explain a little bit why paying attention to breaking the cycle of incarceration through some of the things that wayne just spoke about, a broad array of education and training for people in prison and then leaving prison is essential and critical. i want to focus specifically on post secondary education in prison. i will describe what i believe is an opportunity for all of us to do something really big. before i get into that, i want to show you a short film. so if you would just turn your attention to the screen behind me, you can enjoy this for about two minutes.
we're so lucky to spend mother's day together. there are hundreds of thousands of kids whose moms are incarcerated this mother's day. >> we wanted kids to sharelers they wrote to their moms. >> dear mom. >> hi, mom, i miss you very much. >> i know i don't write you a lot but thisler right here is actually pretty special. >> your second mother's day away. i took to facebook and posted, i love my mother. >> i miss your love. i miss your hugs. >> every mother's day, i listen to all of our favorite songs. >> i think about you all the time, at night when i'm getting ready to go to bed. it makes me think of the most amazing mom that i have. >> i was playing with you, sleeping with you at night. >> i miss you, mom and i miss how you always used to say on facebook. i miss how you used to -- i can't do it.
>> i've been having some personality issues about my sexuality. i wish you weren't in prison so you could be here to help me with it. >> school is kind of good but fighting in school is difficult. >> recently, i was inducted for the national honor society at my school. >> something good that's happened to me, i went roller-skating. >> mom, i love riding bikes, because i just love riding them. >> dear mom, i will always love you no matter what happens. >> i can't wait to see you. >> from your firstborn, tashante. >> happy mother's day. >> sincerery. jiavana. >> love, sanai, your favorite daughter. >> happy mother's day.
>> click on the link below to see more lovelers letters to m. >> i show you that video not because it has a substantive connection to the reason we have all gotten together here today but because it is important for all of us to do this work to remember the people who we are doing this work for. sometimes we get caught up in the evidence and the politics of the moment. we sometimes even those of us who are so deeply committed stop thinking about the human beings whose lives we are trying to improve. so this is something i have showed on a few occasions, because i find it very, very
grounding. so as i promised you, i should say that video was something that was produced by google. there is actually one for father's day too equally affecting. as i promised you, one of the things i wanted to talk to you about was this moment in history. i would say that we really are -- this is a paradoxical moment. we are in a moment where we have before us a massive decades in the making arguably centurys in the making problem, this system of mass incarceration, that has been argued has kept us safe. we also have in this moment what would i argue is unparalleled momentum and an opportunity. it really is a true moment in history. i want to break down those two things for you.
what do i meecan by massive problem? >> let me try to put this in numerical terms for you. i know that not everyone here is deeply involved in criminal justice work and you come at this from different angles, maybe from a commitment to education or to workforce training but we are talking about a system that on any given p d day has 2.3 million people behind bar s in this country. some in jails and some in prisons. we are what i often describe as an international aberration. this country is responsible for 5% of the globe's population but 25% of the imprisoned population. when you compare us with many of the countries we view to be our peers, the oecd nations, many western democracies, we are incarcerating at a rate of six to ten times more than they are. you might ask yourself, well, you know, okay, that's fine.
maybe this is a more violent society. maybe there are reasons for that. maybe we get a much better return on investment than these other countries do but the answer to that is, no, that is not the case. we are investing around $80 billion a year in correctional services. he recidivism raid, two thirds of people will be rea rested after three years. a little less than half will be reincarcerated. so you have to ask yourselves the questions, why are we spending all of this money to put so many people behind bars for results that are far from positive. on the human level, as you saw in the film, this affects the children of the incarcerated and you know this just imposes an intergenerational burden. for people being released from prison, they are facing what
michelle alexander referred to as the new jim crow, a species of second class citizenship that bars them from all of the things that we need as citizens to succeed whether it is entry into the labor force, whether it is a safe place to live, whether it is financial support for education. the complex and freinfrastructu to barriers to entry back into society are astonishing. i think someone said that when having done a national survey, that there were 44,000 different state or local or federal provisions in one way or another shut people out of the labor market or housing or student aid or jobs. so it is astonishing. we also know that imprisonment has a huge impact on people's
income, on hours worked, on the ability to build wealth. then, we can go further and think about the communities that are impacted. as wayne mentioned, one in three african-american men will spend time in jail or prison in their lifetime. many of these men come from communities that are of concentrated poverty that are increasingly segregated and so what we are doing is we are participating in a process that is disappearing men from these communities, women too. but it is most powerfully felt by the men and that means there are fewer fathers, there are fewer partners and lovers and fewer workers in those communities and the impact on those communities' abilities to thrive, to have strong economies, to have workforce
exists not only in this moment today but just perpetuates itself intergenerationally. it is a massive, massive problem that we are confronting. if i could be optimistic for a moment, i know that's hard for a washington, d.c. crew. because we are in this moment when there is so much head scratching and head shaking about the political debate that's going on or the inability to get things done in washington. i do want to point out for those of you that have not paid a lot of attention to criminal justice that this is a highly unusual moment. despite the challenge of the work that needs to be done. i have in the 25 years that i have worked in this space never seen a moment when there is as much heightened attention to the problems that we're confronting and as much energy and mobilization from unusual people who i never thought cared about
the issue as i'm seeing now. i think the reasons for that, others may disagree. i think they are fourfold. people are finally just shocked at the numbers that they see that we have quoted from this podium already. i think that stories of people who have been impacted by the system. people who have spent time in jail or prison and are raising their voices and are being leaders in the movement has had a tremendous impact. you can find that in everyday folk and you can also find that in political leaders. some of the political leaders on the right who are the most vociferous about trying to change the system, either spent time in prison or had a loved one spend time in prison. that kind of proximity has woken folks up. i think it is hard to also ignore the existence of citizen
journalism that we have seen in the past few years, which is focused almost entirely upon policing. what it has done, it has showed something to america that many people in america probably system that the criminal justice system was rigged against people of color, and that the interactions of the people of color had with the justice system were so different than what many americans had ever imagined could be true. i heard a colleague refer to it as sort of the bigfoot problem, that everyone sort of, people argue about whether bigfoot or sasqwatch exists, you see a film of it, oh, yeah, it does exist.
i think that's what's happened with these films of walter skol, philando castile, people want to find out more at what's going on, doesn't stop at policing, it goes deep into the system as a hole and finally there's an ideological convergence that folks on the right, whether evangelical or libertarian or fiscal hawks, and i think this is mostly at the elite leader level, i'm not entirely kons vince convinced the folks on the grassroots on the right are fully owning the need and desire to change the system, but they have joined with the progressive grassroots in calling for change, and that is a phenomenon in and of it self, but i think it also makes more people curious because, given what happens in washington and the state of our political
discourse, there is what i sometimes call a man bites dog element to that story where people think, what? oh, conservatives and progressives are actually aligning together on something? so this is a paradoxical moment. huge problem, decades in the making, but more opportunity and momentum to change than we have ever seen before, i think certainly in the last 50 years. so i want to talk a little bit about post secretary education in prison because i think in many regards it exemplifies that paradox. i think that the growing interest in post secondary education in prison indicates a broader movement that reflects what i would describe as a resurgence of interest among people in the rehabilitative role that our justice system needs to play. i think we are witnessing the slow rebirth and return of an embrace of that value, and there's no doubt that post secondary education and prison is much needed. you can harken back just
to the facts that i gave you about the high rates of recidivism for people who are coming out of prison and jail, and we need to have interventions that are proven, that are supported by evidence actually reducing recidivism but much more importantly improving the life outcomes of people who are leaving prison and their families who are welcoming them and relying on them to come back. and some of those outcomes are probably well-known by this group. one thing i'm reminded of, having completed a college education is what we sometimes refer to at vera as a protective factor. if you've completed a college education, you are less likely to go to prison. when you look at the growth of the prison population in the states from
1970 until 2010, the vast majority of growth are in the demographic of people who have not gone to college, people who participate in educational programs are being rearrested or reincarcerated at a far lower rate. there's a higher chance of gaining employment upon release, higher chance of higher earnings, and for an organization like c.l.a.s.p. and i imagine for many of those of you who are in this room, the two generation sort of bang for your buck that you get with college education is really important, because we know that the children whose parents have sought a post secondary education are far more likely to go pursue their post secondary education in college than if their parents had not, and so again, looking back at the film, that is 2.7 million children of
the incarcerated, and we know how important a college education is to succeed in this economy and the economy of the future, but i think college and prison is also important for other reasons beyond the evidence, beyond its ability to improve outcomes for people. it is relatable. everyone in this room understands how important college has either been for you or for your loved ones, and essential, and understands increasingly what an essential aspect it is of people's ability to participate fully in the american economy, and so being able to expand access to that in prison i think is an important humanizing aspect. it is a way to help people to get proximate. we have spent way too much time in this country treating people who have been affected by the criminal justice system as "other" as some, not like me,
that's folks obl the other side of town, you know, who we are scared of, but in fact, they are parents and they are strivers and inspiring and want to accomplish the many, many of the same things that we all do in this room, and so it's important as a humanizing thing, and the last reason that i'm going to say it's really important at this moment in time, and why i think we should all be focusing on post secondary education in prison, even though we know the training and other forms of education are really important is that there is a big opportunity to make a difference i think in the next three to four years, so you all may know this story about college in prison. the 1994 crime bill which many people talked about in the context of this current election included a ban on the use of pell grants, the federal pell grants so federal financial aid for students in prison, and that had a dramatic effect on
programs. prior to the 1994 bill, there were around 270 college programs providing courses to around 23,000 people in prison, and after the 1994 act went into effect, 44% of those programs ended. if you look at it, at the state level, my state, my home state, new york, there were 70 programs that were operating before 1994, flash forward to 2008, there were eight. so what that did was it took the main source of funding, and there are a lot of wonderful programs that continue to operate, there are people here who you will be listening to who have dedicated their lives to them, but they required often generosity, charity, philanthropic dollars rather than a reliable federal stream of money. so that's asirk tans
that we're still living in. last year the obama administration did something very important, even though the congressional ban exists, as the great c.l.a.s.p. paper talks about the obama administration used what is called experimental authority to essentially test, to test the use of pell grants and supporting students who are students in prison, and put out an rfp for institutes of higher learning to apply to be a basis for these students and over 220 colleges and universities applied and said yes, we want to run programs over this three-year experimental program, and 69 were chosen by the administration, so for the next three years, we'll have 69 colleges and universities in 28 states, blue, red and purple, that will be educating 12,000 students on a year, and the estimated leverage in federal dollars is $30 million a year to support that. so it's a remarkable expansion, but it is
time limited, and that's important for us to know, because what we now have is a window of opportunity, with programs in 70 colleges, 28 states, that means that there will be experiments where corrections and education work together, where small business owners and places can find new employees, where sheriffs and law enforcement can stand up and talk about the benefits of these kinds of programs, when they are released, and that road will run, again, through blue and purple and red states, and so if you can imagine all of the positive messages that can come out of this experiment, not just serving, not just serving this student population, but the
right messengers who may or may not be talking to their delegations up on the hill, and talking about jobs found, about happy employers who have an expanded labor pool, about families who are supported, about people who are not returning to prison. you can imagine this. you can imagine coalitions of employers and small businesses, law enforcement, and education, locally elected, all saying to their congressional delegations, this is worthwhile and it is important. we are invested in it and we want it to continue. so i think that there is a window of opportunity for the next three years to figure out how we can actually overturn the ban and return to pre-1994 days. make america great again. so a few parting thoughts. overturning this ban would be great. it would bring education to thousands of people. it would
reduce poverty. it would break the cycle. it would help children of the incarcerated go to college, and it would increase income and wealth, but that's not enough for all of us to do in in room and i want to bring it back to the if iment for a second. i showed you that film not because you all are a bunch of policy wonks and you know, mavens of good evidence and innovation and policy and program, but i showed it to you as citizens of this country. we created what we have. democracy was the culprit that got us to the 1994 bill and got us to all of the things that had happened in the decades before. it's a lot of policy like the 1994 bill, and democracy was basically neglectful. it neglected the ramifications that you saw up on the film, the impact of relying on incarceration, the impact on families and individuals and
communities. it absolutely neglected that. it neglected the evidence that we know that exists about the kinds of good policies that can actually put people on the road to success that can actually deliver public safety for us, and that can actually be the spine for good policy. so democracy has work to do here in a different way now. we have a job to do over the next decades to turn back what we have built, and so that's why it's good that all of you are in this room and you will go about your work focusing not only on training and education and making sure that programs, the quality programs are, find their way back into prison and into the re-entry sphere but you're also going to have to do something else beyond just being good professionals. you need to vote in local elections for the das who are running and ask them what they are running on. what is it that you expect these
guardians of our justice system to be able to deliver to you. is it more convictions? is it longer sentences for people or is it making better choices about the discretion they have as to who they want to send to the big house. you need to educate yourselves and you need to educate those who are around you about this system of incarceration that we have built for 40 years. you need to talk to your children about it. you need to show people that video, and the father's day video. you need to talk to friends and spouses. you need to go watch ava devarnay's film the 13th and have discussion groups. if you have book groups have a movie group. it is so important for all of us to get engaged, to make sure the kind of neglect that led us to where we are now is not going to exist anymore,
and in fact, being informed and engaged is the thing that's going to make the difference and the broad complex of policy that we have to turn around. so we have a lot of hard work to do. we need everyone. we need good policy, but most of all, we need inspired and tireless citizens like yourself. thank you very much for being here. [ applause ] [ applause ] tonight it's great attacks of the civil war and at 8:00 p.m. it's the atlanta and then at 8:45 and then it's a break through and then at 10:45 is civil war and then that's the
so we want to transition now to our second panel. where we are going to focus on the topic of re-entry. we have had a wonderful afternoon so far together with with nick turner setting the stage and giving us the framework, the opportunity, a moment of opportunity to address justice reform, to address the intersections of racial equity and most importantly to think about what are the strategies and policy solutions we need to ensure individuals who are formerly incarcerated can thrive and realize their full potential. you have heard many stats from the open speaker and the first panel that many young, many folks focus on youth policies so i'm thinking young, but youth and adults face many barriers in the collateral consequences of mass incarceration. over 40,000 barriers are documented by the bar association that. employment, education, housing, lone bearing, licensing. those are critical areas that are very, very important to be able to thrive economically and support your families and contribute to your families. we
also know that education and training matters while behind the walls. there's lots of research. last time we talked about the research and the importance of it, the investment that was mentioned from fred. we also know we need to think about how those things that happened while in prison actually translate and coordinate when folks are returning home. we started this day off by seeing a video of young people and children and how incarceration impacts families. as we enter
the next panel, before i introduce the panel, you know, let's keep that in mind. this whole work we are talking about is really about not just individuals, but about families and about communities. so, i'm really pleased today to be able to introduce our panel. first, we have vivian nixon and vivian, all the information is up there in your packets. she's executive director of the college and community fellowship. it's a nonprofit organization that helps formally incarcerated women receive higher education. pleased to have her. next is teri, the director of education at the pennsylvania department of corrections and she is responsible for educational programming across 26 state correctional institutions in the state. and we have will heaten, the director of policy affairs, which is a nonprofit organization that offers comprehensive employment services exclusively for people with criminal records. and last but not least, deanna hoskins, a senior policy for corrections
and re-entry at the department of justice assistance division where she oversees second act portfolio and supports the departments where the federal agency re-entry. join me in welcoming the panel. [ applause ] >> so, what we'll do is have a round of questions that i'll ask the panelists. we'll leave time for audience questions from you all before we do our closing session. as always, please tweet out questions, please tweet any a-ha moments, anything you want to reemphasize to reconnecting justice. i'll start with you, teri. at the state level. so, i
mentioned having the need for strong continue yum for education while incarcerated as well as making sure those opportunities are coordinated upon re-entry. in pennsylvania, your department received a re-entry education grant. you are using it to focus on career programs. can you talk about how that works going and what do you see as good things that are happening and some a-ha moments. >> we, at the department recognized, it is important for us to take our inmates and provide them with marketable skills for them to use upon their release. these skills will help them obtain employment but we don't just mean any job. we want them to gain a life sustaining employment where they can help to support their families, have some benefits and things when they are released. our focus on this grant is working with the work force investment boards in
pennsylvania. we have a lot of employers working with our vocational advisory teams. we have regional vocational board meetings and working with employers to tell us what jobs are available, what jobs are out there and what certifications they are looking for. our goal with this grant is to take our vocational programs and tweak the certifications that we are offering so they are matching up what's out there. many of the employers right now are telling us they have more jobs available than they have applicants to fill them. we have the work force. we just need to make sure they have the correct
certification and skills upon reentering. they are willing and able to look at hiring exoffenders as part of their work force. the next year and two years of our grant are going to be focused on taking our curriculum, our textbooks and our certification programs and updating them and bringing them into the type of work that these employees will see and actually do when they are in the field. many of our programs are old. some of the equipment is old and that's not what's being used in the field. so, this grant is to help us move that continuum over so they are practicing and using the equipment they will be using in the field. >> great, great. we'll build on that with you vivian to talk post secondary opportunities. we talked about the importance of post secondary and college. connecting that to the work force pieces, talk about your work while the women are incoursein incarcerated and returning home. >> thank you for inviting me to this wonderful event. i'm happy to be here with so many colleagues i have worked with throughout the years. we will live in a continuum of services. when you think about the
expansion of opportunity that is now occurring through the second chance initiative, we know that there are going to be more people coming out of prison with some exposure to college. it is very unlikely all of those people will have earned degrees while on the inside. the work we do at college and community fellowship is becoming ever more important. what we do is create a bridge from post secondary opportunities presented to people while they are incourse incarcerated and making sure they are able to connect to similar opportunities in the community. many things have to happen so that works. so, the first step in our bridge is our second chance mentoring grant where we have staff going into women's prisons in new york state, talking to women about college opportunities, both those who have had some college while incart rated and those who are close to getting a high