tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 20, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EDT
than those that are being prosecuted in the state system. in light of that fact, not everybody we are going after in the nonviolent drug offender arena is necessarily aching pain, don't you think some of those lower-level offenders could benefit from these programs in the same way that many offenders have benefited in the state system? ms. yates: absolutely. there is a category that is different in this the system and federal system. but this reform is not aimed at those defendants. this is aimed at the defendants that are like those that a big prosecuted in the state. the lower-level drug defendants. senator lee: there may have been a time many decades ago when we were not going after many of the people. there are a variety of reasons for that, we do not have time for that now. that is why we need these provisions and federal law today. ms. yates: that is right.
senatorgrassley: whitehouse. whitehouse: let me thank you for your chairmanship of this process. you brought very distinctive use of your own, and you've facilitated all of us coming together in making this happen. i also want to mention, although he is not here today, the graham brought magic springs is a military prosecutor. thanks to both of them. the department of justice as we work through complicated issues. anator feinstein asked question about making sure when , the unitedas made
states attorneys would not let the balls fall through the cracks and ignore the responsibilities. wewant to make sure that sure her we are very keenly aware that takes place. we are more confident that she is that something would be developed to put into place. i delighted to work with her and with you to make sure that asething that codifies that long as it is not creating unnecessary bureaucracy and delay becomes a part of this bill. we look forward to working with you to nail that last piece down. areging decisions on the part of prosecutors. prosecutors have the ability to affect sentencing. the preserve of
judges. that has given prosecutors power to coerce cooperation from people who are in their targets. in their gun sites. had a good effect on assuring cooperation. but defendants were cooperating long before these mandatory minimums emerged. the want to hear your views on what they will do with this power that moves from judges to prosecutors moving back towards judges. ms. yates: the defendants were cooperating before we had these mandatory minimums in fact the they cooperated in places where we reduced statutes that do not have mandatory minimums at all. our spirits reflects that a mandatory minimum is not necessary to be able to incentivize a defendant to operate with us. we are confident that we will
continue to be able to work our way up the chain without the determine was for this narrow class of defendants that would recovered. -- which is not to be covered. senator whitehouse: the return , there areto society a variety of timing requirements acts have to be undertaken by the department and the bureau of prisons. are you confident that those can all be met? >ms. yates: we are committed to meeting those deadlines. senator whitehouse: very well. this is going to require some effort and some initiative on the art, particularly of the bureau prisons to do the legwork necessary to identify the programs that are most likely to be effective to them into place and to make sure that the system gets up and running. perception of the over at thecitement
bureau of prisons about accomplishing this? do they truly intend to lean k, and we make sure that sufficient excitement is ended? ms. yates: i do not have any insight into what the reaction is. but i can tell you how committed are toe and we all ensure that we are doing everything we can command that are doing more to be able to reduce is more effectively than we have been able to does far. senator whitehouse: thank you, chairman. senator grassley: senator? chairman, andr. to the ranking member, at all who have worked on this hill. i was just in georgia, everyone misses you there. thank you for your good work. i am proud of the work that the senators did on this bill, as a
formal prosecutor from a state treatment, there is a lot of work with drug courts in the state of minnesota. the cities of minneapolis and st. paul, on the violent crime side we have had a lower crime rates than other states while qdro incarceration rate more by using probation and treatment options. that is why i am a fan of the work that has been done here. my first mission is really along this lines. in getting funding for drug courts, carrying on the work of many that came before me, ted kennedy and jim ramsey. when we look at what this will lie to say we know that the drug courts save money, and we know that some of the nonviolent
offenders out of the prison system will save money. do you think we can use some of this money to pay for things like drug core, as we look at how we are going to make up for the fact that we are going to be bringing people out of resin. they also may need treatment with down the line to prevent them from getting in trouble in the first place. hopeful that we will be able to use some of the money saved for a variety of venture programs which would include drug courts and other alternatives to incarceration that the states being leaders have prove more effective than just throwing everybody in jail for much longer than they need to be there. alternatives, as well as backend reform. senator klobuchar: do you have an exact number where you think this bill is anticipated? ms. yates: we do not. predictionsng to do
now. it is hard to get our arms around how do many defendants will be impacted by this. senator klobuchar: thank you. also, it adds a man beard urinated been -- and as a whentory minimum interstate domestic violence results in permanent disfigurement or life threatening bodily injury to the victim. serious bodily injury, or the defender uses the dangerous weapon during defense, i've done a lot of work in the domestic violence area, i've glad that this is an here. could you talk about the importance of this to the bill? ms. yates: we support these provisions. 10 years does not seem like too long to spend in present for someone who has been convicted of domestic violence. that some of the sentences from defendants. we are very happy that the provision of the bill as for this as well. senator klobuchar: thank you. could you talk a little bit
about sentencing guidelines. refer,re going to explain why you departed, and why does not do it in the same way as the mandatory minimums on the federal level. senator whitehouse has been asking your that -- you about this. the lower-level five-year sentence was very important to me and our office when we would handle to the boko -- handle the bulk of the cases that are state. nearly half of the crimes in the state of minnesota for because the relation of our country was about 25%. could you talk to the above how that works for the local prosecutors? law, if you think it affects with the did it anyway, especially forcing that have really relied on the power of the lower-level federal drug courts.
the five year will still be there and still be available for defendants who really need the mandatory minimum the most. we're still going to be effective for defendants who have try records, who have guns, who were involved violent. from a federal resources standpoint, those of the defendants were we should be targeting our resources to begin with. senator klobuchar: thank you very much. senator grassley: the senator from minnesota. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. gates, earlier it was fbi director conley's concern about violent crime rates and sentencing reform more broadly. you clarify today if that is indeed the case. that is his view or? i did not understand the
question. that the director was concerned that the sentencing the rate ofncrease crime. ms. yates: my conversations between director call me, they concern, and any that we , i think is really important to look at those civic provisions of this hill. those that are being provided relief are not to those that are responsible for violent crime. it is precisely the group that is not involved in that. they don't have guns, that will have leadership positions. in fact, in looking across the country, and most recently in a some of the pockets have
increased gun violence across the country, we are not finding any correlation at all with states that have enacted some reform or criminal justice reform. and it increase in gun violence. nor are we seeing a profile that would provide relief here. i like to talk: about retroactivity, and the nervousness about some of that word to speak to that nervousness about how that would work. people sayhing when a judge tohing for whenking all these factors they are sentencing, but when they are releasing people, you cannot just release people retroactively. give them a get out of jail free
card. i want to talk to the reality of this, which is the center dot action would not be automatic as i understand it. the justice department and judges would have to look at the facts of each case. enacted,xplain how, if the resizing process would work and how what factors a judge would have to consider before reducing the sentence? ms. yates: it is an important component of this bill because whoives the defendants received prison sentences that are longer than necessary to keep the public safe, an opportunity to have their sentence reconsidered. it is just that, it is an opportunity to have the sentence reconsidered. the prosecutor who handled the case, and the judge who sentenced the case will individually is offended that comes up.
the circumstances of this case, the background of the defendant, and would make a determination as to whether or not public safety negatively impacted while reducing the victims sentence in this specific case. some have expressed concerns about retroactivity. ability to be able to move that. we are having other aspects that will be more challenging for us. we are committed to ensuring that case-by-case analysis regardless of whether it is a retroactive application or other provisions of the bill. senator franken: what you are saying is that resentencing would depend heavily on the facts? ms. yates: absolutely. and offendersn: speaking a reduced sentence would file a petition. every position would have to be evaluated on its merits, and
eats offenders a criminal history and circumstances would have to be thoroughly examined. doing this the right way would really require a commitment of resources and staff to respond to the addition for retroactive sentence reduction. we can always use more prosecutors for it i would not be doing my job if i did not make a pitch for more resources. senator franken: but there is a time and place to do that. [laughter] ms. yates: and this is the wrong committee. we will allocate our resources to ensure we are meeting our obligation, to ensure that we are keeping community safe. senator franken: thank you. senator grassley: we thank you very much for your testimony. i appreciate very much your being here.
for you and for also for the second panel, since several numbers are not here, you may get questions and answers in writing. those questions have to be submitted within seven days. for you, and for the department and the second panel, if you get questions in writing, we would approve and appreciate prompt response. thank you very much. you may go now. thank you for your time. [laughter] ms. yates: thank you senator. toator grassley: i'm going have the panel, while i introduce you so i do not waste a lot of time. i welcome our second panel, mukasey served as attorney general under president george w. bush. he was also a district court judge in new york. he is now a partner at the law
there. is the shelton washington bureau director and senior vice president for policy naacp.ocacy for the one of the leading civil rights organizations in the united states. crying roche is senior vice president of prison fellowship ministries. one of the leading faced -- faith-based kernel justice organizations. families a member of against mandatory minimums, and served 16 years in prison for crimes related to the distribution of math. -- meth. stephen cook, was testifying in the capacity.
of thecutive director sentencing project, and one of the countries experts on sentencing policy, race, and criminal justice system. is thomas w smith institutethe hampton for research, and a contributing journal. city she has written widely on criminal justice reform, policing, racial profiling, and race relations. brett tallman is a former u.s. attorney and former chief the subcommittee.
he is a shareholder at a law firm. i would like to personally extend my thanks to mr. tallman because he had to rewrite his schedule so that he could testify today. pretty lenient on how long people run over five minutes, but i would like to -- i will not cut you off in the middle of a sentence, but i hope meeting after, if you go one minute, i will wrap the gavel and you will stop. mukasey. general thank you.: i have submitted a written statement that caused jews that constitutes my testimony and i will not burden the record by repeating it. it is easily summarized. i think that sentencing is a matter not only for judges but
the political branches as well, including particularly for congress. i think this bill achieve proper balance by preserving mandatory minimums where they are necessary, and yet increasing the flexibility with which judges can approach sentencing. having the principal measure of the success of anything, it is not the incarceration rates rate of crime rate -- but the rate of crime. it is the departments position that it will be set in by the prosecutors in that district where the case was originally brought and decided of course by the sentencing judge, applying all of the skaters that are set forth in 35 53 38. in addition to the record of which defendant while incarcerated.
senator grassley: you are done already? [laughter] mr. shelton. helton: our nation's criminal justice system is the ventricle heart and is not working. despite the fact that americans are being discredited migrates we're not eating an equivalent a crime. to "being locked up for too long as the nonviolent offense. the left and support they need to become productive members of society in prison or once they are released. the graceful disparities which biggest among people who come into contact with the criminal justice system have let whole communities as well as many others around our nation to lose
faith in the system as fair and unbiased. justice not lying when it comes to race and ethnicity. 2.1 million people are in our nation's prisons, jails, and proximally one in every 10 adults locked up in america today. today there are more than ,00-5000 people in prison alone a growth of almost 800 cents since 19 $.80 the change in our loss begin to be enacted. too many of those were imprisoned for nonviolent offenses. offenders violent represented 53% of those in state prisons. only 7% of the federal population. the rapid increase is especially disturbing to the naacp to support the 60% of men and women currently incarcerated today on racial and ethnic minorities. for american males in their 30's, one in every 10 is in prison on every given day.
african-americans comprise 30% of offenders convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum sentence in 2014. the question is to why minorities are overrepresented is a complicated and important one. the naacp are committed to reducing the disparity of those who are put into prisons and jails. the naacp was pleased with the introduction of this bill occurred. not only does this legislation address some of the more prominent flaws in our system today, but by its very bipartisan nature, it sticks to the overwhelming severity of the problem. acknowledges that something must be done. a reform mandatory minimum sentences, and three strikes
you're out. a broadening of the existing safety fell in the creation of a second safety valve. the direct application of the juvenilething at your roper seeing -- record sealing requirement. individuals who go under background checks for employment, to charles accuracy of those federal criminal records. the naacp feels that this is a good start. yes lord can and should be going to reform the criminal justice system and the sentencing policies of our nation. the naacp looks forward to working with the committee and other like-minded lawmakers and interested parties to enact additional sentencing reforms including addressing all mandatory minimum sentences. increase in use of evidence in court. prisonration in using
career and violent criminals. job-training opportunities for prisoners, including pell grant eligibility for prisoners among other steps. reports on the extent to which they were addressed and racial disparities. allow me to conclude my testimony by sharing with you one anecdote of an individual who will be helped by this legislation. has served 22 years of a mandatory life antence for acting as street-level courier in a crack cocaine conspiracy. theis 1994 sentencing, federal prosecutor conceded that that he did was whatever the leaders told him to do. prior to his life since he never spent a innovative present. he received a mandatory life
sentence only because the had twoor contended he prior probation sentences, and that's mandatory -- that remanded for life in prison. every person above him, including the group cocaine supplier and three supervising leaders will be released in prison by 2020 before him. his discretion of the 1994 sentencing, the federal judge called the sentence rule and unusual. with no avenues for legislative or judicial relief, his only hope of that white was clemency. would render him eligible for position for reduction in his sentence. what one example of the problems of the current system policies. -- police to be
working with this committee to enact legislation to end the racial injustices that plague our criminal justice system today. they stand ready to answer your questions. senator grassley: thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify about the significant legislation will be considering. i privileged to speak in my capacity as the executive director of the justice fellowship of the prison fellowship. this represents a significant milestone for our organization in the broader faith community which is as long average kid dish which has longer advocated a new way of crime and punishment. our founder went from being president nixon counsel to a federal prisoner as a result
involvement in the watergate scandal. his strength and jesus christ was present. today our organization is the world's largest prison ministry. we mobilize thousands of volunteers to serve it over 1400 correctional facilities and reach over 200,000 men and women in prisons nationwide. tree programngel provided over 330,000 children with a christmas gift on behalf of their and our street in paris. an additional our advocacy team played a prominent role in passing ground raking just reforms to the state and federal level. this includes working alongside many of you to pass the religious freedom restoration act, and the second chance act. when i explained to people how i got involved in this ministry, i like to joke that chuck colson would do anything for the prisoner, but he never bothered to take the time to get addicted
to anything. so he brought her alcoholic to the ministry. check approached me and said he thought that my experience in government as well as my experience in addiction and recovery could be used for the benefit of others. for my alcohol-related arrests, i had lost everything. i had relied to alcohol for my solution to my problems in my life. when i hit bottom and document recovery untreated in my faith. chuck, i speak about reforming criminal justice system i do not speak about those people who i am one of them, and we need justice that restores. this bill represents a historic turn away from the political
epithets like lock them up and throw away the key, and toward a more restorative punishment level. the sentencing reforms included legislation are particularly significant to the faith community because disproportionate punishment human dignity and is in itself an injustice. we applaud the sentencing reforms are being looked at attractively. this implies a moral imperative. what message do we send about respect and dignity if we knowledge that we have condoned and warranted punishment, but we are willing to disregard the years of human life that will be wasted unnecessarily behind bars? legislation brings up the equally important question of how we punish and for what purpose. topayers in crime continued continue.
we did the hunt become good prisoners rather than good citizens in prisons that provide this anyway address that will give us a positive social and his goal return. expand receive as in, production and programming, was and work programs for all federal prisoners. that the faith community should play a significant role in delivering these programs. faith-based programs have a tv -- providing a more robust of the federal prisoners and incentives for completion of programs will improve public safety, strengthen families and committees and improve the
effectiveness and culture of our prisons. in closing a believe this legislation was the federal system tray more restorative model that should awaken america to the value of the human lives affected by crime and incarceration. we look forward to helping this --y advanced for this advance the stores the president desk. i have submitted a longer version to the chairman. senator grassley: and will be included in the record. ms. campbell? campbell: thank you for giving me the opportunity to do today. my name is debbie campbell, i was born in long beach california, and i currently live in virginia. experienced the federal justice system in the most personal way, i spent more than 16 years in a federal prison for a non-violent drug offense i do not have any excuses for micron. in the -- for my crime. the early 1990's we began using
methamphetamines at a point in our lives when we should have known better. i became addicted to the drug and begin selling it to others for monetary gain, to support my own habits. drug keene andnd or major manufacturer. i just wanted the extra money that it would help me keep my family together. soldan than by codefendant and agreess arrested to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a sorter sentence -- shorter sentence. i was arrested i was guilty, and i knew i was going to prison. stress this important point. people who support mandatory minimum sentencing laws think that these long managements will from using or selling drugs. that is not the case. i can assure you that i had no idea that there were mandatory minimum sentences when i became
addicted to drugs, or when i was caught. much prisona how time would face. federal prosecutors charged me sell 10spiracy to kilograms of methamphetamines. never even saw that much drugs, much less that sold it. i never knew that i would be charged for everything that they said i did. what it would to prison i was at only person with this misunderstanding. timeother women were doing not for their own mistakes, but also for the mistakes of their codefendants, there has been, their partner, other family members or anyone else being charged in the conspiracy, whether they knew that were not.
even though i plug guilty and i have no criminal history under the sentencing guidelines, i still received the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, plus another decade under the then mandatory sentencing guidelines. in may of 1994, i was sentenced to 19 years and seven months in a federal prison. the woman who cooperated received probation. i deserve to go to prison. moree broken the law, and importantly i needed to go to prison because i desperately needed a wake-up call. but i did not need nearly 20 years in prison to learn my lesson. the first few years of the worst. i committed myself to self-improvement, i was sober, i earned a associate degrees in business administration, and i started a specialist degree in social science. i participated in prison
fellowship ministry, and i stayed in close touch with my family. i kept my spirits high by believing i would never serve my full sentence. sat, year after year, with many other women just like me to not only did i waste years of my life sitting in prison, but taxpayers waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep me there. the worst part was not being able to be with my four daughters. i had already failed them once. and now they were growing up in foster care. visits are rare for many months in prison, and very painful. present time passes slowly, but children grow quickly and wanted to be a better and wiser. while my children were still young enough or ate too -- for
it to matter. my license made it impossible. it is hard for parents on 115 15 minute phone call a day. is a lot to miss, and you want to make up for. being that there is no parole in the federal system, the only signs reduction prisoners can hurt is up to 15% off for good behavior. i earned the full 15%. i also asked to have my hens commuted on three different occasions. all three times, i was denied. the last reduction from president obama arrived after i was already home. in 2010 after serving 16 years and one month. since my release i've struggled to make up for lost time with my
now adult children. i provided childcare to my grandchild so that one of my daughters could pursue her own education. i volunteered with prisoner reentry groups, continued my own education, and i'm not an advocate for all the grandmothers, mothers, and daughters that i left behind. even if the bill you're considering now had passed years ago, it would not have shortened my sons. -- sentence. they wish that this bill went further to help more people. i would ask julie like to see congress repeal all mandatory minimum sentences. it will is a start and help a lot of the women that i left behind. all you hoping that it will only be a start. there is so much more work to do if this bill becomes law. you for considering my views and i will be happy to answer any questions you might have. senator grassley: thank you very
much. mr. cook? cook: i appreciate the opportunity to be here. i would like to begin by making to clear points. the first is, in our view the criminal justice system is not broken. secondly, we have some very legitimate concerns about the legislation that has been proposed. as a "i would like to do is that myt to you perspective is at street level, and i say that because my perspective comes from seven years as a police officer, 29 years as a federal prosecutor and i have experienced a close -- up close to death, destruction, and hearted that the individuals who stand to gain from this statute, this proposed legislation. i have viewed with they would bring to our communities. i've stood next to the casket of while hisold roy
mother asked me and here's how it is we could let that reason be sold on the street. i have stood in the neonatal care ward of our local level and watch as the babies of innocent babies went through drug withdrawal. knowing that that was nothing but a prelude to a life complicated by physical and mental health issues. i have been to more of my share -- that measure homicide scenes. go back to the mid-1980's, at a time when in our history what we were seeing was violent crime had more than tripled over the two and a half decades before that. ande-by shootings, murders, violent crime scenes were commonplace to us in in many areas in the inner cities they were controlled by drug traffickers. crack was key. it brought on a bloodletting like we had never seen before. the american public said they were fed up.
they demanded change and congress responded. they responded by fundamentally changing our criminal justice system. parole was a limited committed judicial discretion was narrowed to crimes that were too arrogant the fiber cover, treat -- that was tearing at our country. we had a vision to take back our streets and to make them safe again. dedicated united states attorneys across the country working with our local, federal, and state law enforcement partners and district attorney's office is worked with these tools to take art career criminals off the streets. we use the mandatory minimums to dismantle drug trafficking organizations. often working from the very bottom of and this criminal justice system, with truth in sentencing shut the revolving door of justice and became the model of criminal justice system, one that was followed by
states across the country. putting these are career criminals and drug traffickers enable us to drive crime down. we cut it in half. then someone started the refrain of mass incorporation and nonviolent drug offenders in an attempt to suggest that the federal system and state systems were program, and to suggest that the solution was to let criminals out. slowly we entered the era sentencing reform. one source were worse than 30 different states enacted something reform. on the federal side we began to back way from the prosecution of drug traffickers and from using mandatory minimum. in 2007, as we know, we started what has now become the early release of 70,000 drug traffickers, some of whom have committed murder since being released while they should have been incapacitated.
as these reform movements have spread across the country, more and more criminals have been released, or reported -- avoided incarceration altogether. finally crime is returning to cities across the country. on top of that, we have the worst hair when an opioid epidemic we have ever seen. -- 46,000 people are drawing -- dying every day. are there too many people in federal prison, of course they are. but they are there because they are committed serious crimes. the solution is not to let the letter risen, but it is to address the root causes of the crime. tohout him i would like address the bill briefly. there are parts of the bill that we always work and we recognize the hard work has gone into it. part of the bill is
the retroactive application. retroactivity will have a real and very immediate negative consequence on our community. destabilizey will criminal justice systems. victims will be notified of the pieces they thought were closed and has come to an end will be reopened. the cornerstone to a halt the criminal justice system is one that we can have confidence in. one that has finality. i close with these questions. questions that i suggest the committee should ask, and i'm every informed american will ask. criminalsands of released into our society early, and with violent crime on the rise, is the time right to make thousands of convicted criminals , violent criminals, eligible for release? is this time to weaken the tools for frontline prosecutors to use
drug -- dismantle drug trafficking organizations? we must step back and measure the impact of the reforms in play, and work aggressively to address the root causes of violent crime. senator grassley: thank you. mr. howard? mr. howard: thank you for the hard work to get to this point today with the significant legislation. isolated written testimony. i have three objections that i believe this legislation can produce. i went to describe them briefly. we will see better outcomes for public safety once this is enacted. rationalee more address and we will disparities in incarceration. the area public safety i think it has become quite clear that we are well past the point
of diminishing returns in terms of what we get for public safety through incarceration. much of that as a function of the fact that it has long been known that offenders eight out of crime. 20-year-old robert is much less of a risk to public safety by the time he turns 30, 35, or 40. this is true more or less across the board. that for eachs successive year that we keep those risksison, asked her start to decline. we are getting left public safety that we produce through incarceration. it is coming at an increased cost. themsts them more to keep there, and health care costs are produced. we have empirical data that supports the impact of successive incarceration. the national research council has convened a panel of 20 of
the leading scholars and practitioners in the field of criminal just this and looking at these impacts. when they looked at the effect of incarceration on crime their that this has some impact on crime, but the scale was unlikely to have been large. alsonk this measure will help to produce public safety by giving us a better balance of criminal justice resources. in 2007 when the sentencing adjusted the guidelines for crack cocaine offenses, and those in federal released less than they might have been, we looked at rates followed the leases, and what they found was that the people who released two years
earlier than other cohorts did, had rates that were virtually identical. we can reduce sentences and save cost without an adverse effect on public safety. outcomes, i think one of the challenges and problems is that we have a sentencing process whereby one-size-fits-all is the situation. i think every judge in the country would tell us that no two offenders, no two offenses are exactly alike. we need an individualized approach. , over two valve decades now, has provided very appropriate options for cases that do not require mandatory sentencing and would be unjust as well. many federal judges, the sentencing commission provide very good examples of additional anes that would benefit from
expanded safety valve as is being proposed. --hink there is no region reason to believe that judges will not use the same awful manner they have for 20 years or that careful manner careful manner they have for 20 years now. regardless of what each of us think roddick driven factors to those outcomes it should be disturbing to all of us. the factors that contribute has been successive penalties, especially for drug offenses. this legislation by making provisions of the fair sentencing act would take a major step toward helping to ameliorate part of that problem. it is difficult to explain to people on the street how a -- a sentence
before the legislation is serving with more time than an equally similar case the day after the legislation was adopted. might benefit from and more than 80% of that will be african-american. most people will still serve a substantial prison term, not quite as long. let me close by saying i think this legislation can produce a better balance and our approach to public safety. success ofcan reduce incarceration. we will see a more effective and fair criminal justice system resulting from this. senator grassley: thank you. mrs. mcdonald? mrs. mcdonald: i am honored to address you today. i want to address the broader context. we are in the midst of a national movement or the incarceration and the criminalization.
rests on the following narrative. it has become irrationally protean -- for comedy in. ushering in an area of mass incarceration. the driving force, the story goes, is the misconceived war on drugs. said inent barack obama july philadelphia, the real reason our prison population is so high is because havelock have more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before for longer than ever or. behindt poisonous claim the incarceration movement is that our criminal justice system is a product and a source of racial inequity. the drug war in particular is said to be affected by racial bias. mass incarceration is allegedly destroying black communities by taking fathers away from their
families. finally, prison is condemned as waste of resources. is true.n this resin remains a lifetime achievement award for persistence and criminal offenses. finally crime was and is, since 1999, accounting for all the increase in the present sentences, and they were a dominant factor before then. finally crime is the reason why america's prison population is larger than other countries. the u.s. homicide right is seven times higher than the combined rate of 21 western nations is japan. the most dangerous misconception is that it is pervaded by racial bias. haveecades criminologists
tried to find evidence for that bias, and they have always, short. contact the racial differences account for all of the racial disproportionality of life in prison. the drug war was not for on blacks committed with the congressional black caucus that demanded a federal response to the 1980's crack epidemic, including more severe penalties for crack trafficking. the demand for suppression of open-air drug markets computers -- continues today. go to any police community meeting in harlem, south-central los angeles, and you will see some variants of the following lee, we once the dealers off the corner. arrest them and they are back the next day. such voices are rarely heard in the media, and indeed not often in the halls of congress. not destroyings
the black family. the black marriage rate was collapsing long before incarceration started rising in the late 1970's. indeed, the late senator patrick hisahan rose his -- wrote call to attention on black children out of wedlock in 1965. , not incarceration that squelches freedom enterprise and urban areas. there have been no more successful government programs for liberating inner-city residents from fear and disorder than proactive policing and the incapacitation of criminals. compared to the cost of crime, prison is a bargain. the federal system spends about $6 billion on incarceration of the state spent about 37 billion
in 2010 on institutional corrections. the economic social and psychological cost of uncontrolled crime and drug trafficking for such outlays. to be sure, the federal drug penalties are not sacrosanct. sentencing schemes are ultimately arbitrary, our current penalty structure was arguably arrived at in paraclete, through trial and error. sentences were incrementally increased, in response to the rising crime rates of the 1960's and 1970's those rising crime rates were themselves the product of an earlier era of decriminalization. sentences lengthened until i took a serious bite out of crime in conjunction with the policing revolution of the 1990's and has been noted today, crime is the country.round
after are backing down the year-long campaign that police are the greatest threat to young black men today. criminals are becoming emboldened. while i do not think that the current crime increase is a result of previous changes in federal sentencing policy, and the government to tread cautiously in making further changes in however i can the aim toly support engage all prisoners and work, and i also support supervisor pilot programs, although it needs some tightening to safely implement. in closing, let me say that the committee can provide an anomalous public -- in a public service and can rebut the m
yth that the criminal justice system is racist. thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify today. as i have said it are testimony, my experience in nearly a decade with the department of justice foraled the need o reforms that are not only to address but deficiencies. it remains puzzling to read the statements of some who do not recognize or acknowledges any issues with the chrysostom, and urged congress to disregard any meaningful reform. those are actually labored in the trenches of the criminal justice system are discounted. in theall the changes developed for the committee are the result of former united's attorneys and assistant united
states attorneys identifying issues within the federal, justice system that are in need of attention. the reality is today's federal system is increasingly mired in the pursuit of low-level offenders who are over and just by long sentences that do not match the gravity of the crimes committed. the result of these deficiencies is a prison population that ironically, with its rising cost is becoming at a real and immediate threat to public safety. this wired here to praise the efforts of this committee on the remarkable bipartisan negotiations which have resulted in a thoughtful bill making some of the most needed changes to the front and back ends of the criminal justice system. i certainly hope to convey today that while there are additional issues that still need to be addressed in the area of criminal justice, a pleased to express my endorsement for this bill. i'm not alone in this position. many of my former colleagues have joined me in signing a policy statement of armor prosecutors and government , including the likes
of the honorable larry thompson, former deputy attorney general, and former judges and others that describes the need for the criminal justice reform. i asked that it be submitted into the record specifically, there are a few provisions i think we could impact on the front end of s. 2123, it serves a mandatory minimum sentences but broadens the safety valves and creates a second safety valve that more effectively targets the tenure mandatory minimums to high-level drug offenders. it enhances the mandatory minimums for certain firearm offenses, but includes is similar prior state-level convictions. that is a very useful to flow for state attorneys.
it raises the statutory minimum for a firearm and creates an overlapping range by reducing the enhanced mandatory minimum for armed criminals. ir. sentencing fa act retroactively. these forms refocus mandatory minimum sentences and limited issues on higher level offenders and provide new tools for targeting those criminals. they provide mroe on the roll of the offender. judge's ability to utilize discretion. to morethe only way effectively tied a longer sentences to the higher-level drug offenses. outlier they fix the problems associated with the recent count stacking and over punishment. applying these reforms retroactively does not eliminate
the initial mandatory minimum it eliminate does the additional time for the underlying offense. notke clear that is it enough to focus on sentence reforms. that does not help against recidivism. withould adress the issues recidivism reduction. moreis perhaps even immediately important because it puts a new focus on rehabilitation and correction. they are the cornerstone of more effect than -- effective recidivism reduction. as theyassess prisoners enterprise inns, then reassess them over time as they complete the numbers, types, and programs they need and are in than sittingher
idle as they do today. it is true that risk of recidivism will go down, but we need to identify dynamic risk and indicators of real change. make prisoners demonstrate this change. then measure as they complete their program, this will be a major advancement in the federal system. it will create a new standard for this country. towill incentivize prisoners personally contribute to the reduction of their own risk of recidivism. lower risk prisoners will be -- home 25% in solid confinement. on this.must act otherwise they will allow the terms to be dictated by the
judicial branches and states such as california have served as a warning for the failure to act can produce. in ahas proven successful number of states across the country. there have increased public safety while reducing costs. i urge members of the committee to act quickly. thank you. >> we will have five minute rounds and we set with judge mckay z. you said that you believe that our sentencing regiment strikes the right balance between congressional direction in the establishment of sentencing levels, due regard for judicial direction, and the preservation of public safety. strong defender of our current sentencing framework.
two questions together will stop would you agree that this reform bill seeks to preserve a current sentencing framework by making reasonable and responsible thises to it, and does still give prosecutors the tools to go after dangerous and violent criminals. >> the answer is yes to both. but i was against in 2014 was taking the structure of part. this preserves the structure. it preserves intact mandatory minimums. yes, that accounts for the change. my supporting this bill and not supporting that one. and tolman,grassley: mr. this applies in a way that the current law doesn't.
applies minimums to violent offenders, not just a drug offenders. it raises sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm. it counts a gun crimes towards an enhanced firearm minimum. can you explain how these target the mandatory minimum sentences towards some of the worst offenders? are these new tools before prosecutors? >> these two are good for prosecutors. the individual that killed the police chief would be able to receive 15 years in federal prison for his giving of the firearms with the instruction to kill. we would hnot have been able to do that under current law.
that theustrating sentence the nazi to capture an individual such as that. this bill would provide that addition. senator grassley: a follow-up, the bill applies many of the mandatory minimum rejections -- reductions retroactively. willpeople claim it automatically release violent and dangerous offenders. these inmates will still face the new mandatory minimums. can you explain my making these present visions -- provisions retroactive will not mean that violent offenders will be released onto the street? it does not remove the five and 10 year, nor does it remove the application of a 15 year mandatory minimum. 924cu were to take those
uses of a gun, oftentimes the ofges facing so many years sentencing don't even sentence on the crime -- the joy deal, for example. they instead of just sentence under the mandatory minimum. this is providing more integrity so that you sentence all the mandatory minimum. they will serve a very long sentences if convicted of 4c's, and they will serve decades potentially under this regime. it gets red of the absurd welden angelo's cases where you have 55 years with no criminal history to account for the sentence. i think yousley: answered this question just now, but let me bring to emphasis to claimct that some critics
it is soft on criminals and that it eliminates stacking on gun 924c. thatr section is not true. theyou explain why would still face a mandatory minimum sentence for each gun crime? is it not a better tool for gun crime? los as's use welden ange an example. he is not being sentenced to a small time in prison, he would receive 15 years minimum in federal prison, plus be sentenced on the underlying drug crime which has a maximum of up to 15 years. for anyone to say this is going to be weak on crime has not seen what the application of the bill would be even in those extreme
circumstances. you would still see a sentence of at least 15 years. durbin: i met alton mills's mother and father. i'm glad you mentioned his case before us. it is clearly a miscarriage of justice. , notentencing judge considered a pushover by anyone, said this was a terrible outcome in this case. this man has been imprisoned at the years, and is no -- there was no end in sight for what appears to be two minor crack offenses. the third 1% away for life. while the kingpins who are wrapping him out are out --ratting him out are still out of prison. if that doesn't speak to the
injustice, turn the page. thinkse anyone who should havempbell served in 19 years in federal prison? does that make anyone -- sense to anyone here? despiteee, keep in mind miss mcdonald's testimony, the was no decriminalization in this law, none, whatsoever. what you're are doing is saying that a judge in his or her discretion can look at an individual case, still impose the maximum if they feel the case is so egregious, but as the theibility to bring sentence down. maybe they would have decided m
s. campbell would've served only of years, or 16 years. in each of those instances i would raise the question is that serving justice? is that making as a saver nation? is at the right investment? i thank you for your service as a law enforcement officer and your service as a prosecutor. when you talk about the importance of police work, i cannot agree more. serving is to are have resources to put them into law enforcement in our communities into the investigation of crimes and the arrest and conviction of serious criminals that you describe. i want to dangerous people off the street as much as you do. we are putting more nad more -- the and more money into incarceration of people like ms.
campbell. don't you think justices served by often times taking an honest reassessment as to whether or not we can make a saver rather than keeping people in jail for decades? cook: drug trafficking is a very serious crime. it has serious consequences. people by the scores are dying every day. 120 people are dying by drug unitede every day in the states of america. we're in the midst of a heroin epidemic on like one we've ever seen. drug trafficking is a nonviolent offense -- as it is like said -- makes it seem
a non serioues offense. durbin: no one is trying to say that. we are trying to say that they sentences less than kingpins. the dirty doctor should have the book thrown at them. the suggestion that this bill doesn't change that in any way whatsoever, but the street-level criminals, he has been in prison howears, and you think can this possible be? the kingpins are free while this fella is in jail. cook: what happens in cases, many cases, you have
individuals in the drug trafficking organization who either don't cooperate or aren't eligible. i would take it this individual did not cooperate, did not provide substantial assistance in the investigation. 851tor durbin: it was an case, if that means anything to you. -- let me just conclude by saying this. i hope my staff will forgive me for not reading this. [laughter] don't take it personally, joe. what we have tried to do is strike a balance. the fulltor still has range of maximum sentences. prosecutor's that hands in any way. but we give them the option -- last point -- but you activity,
we will not give blanket retroactivity. ,hat happens in these cases each with has to go back to the prosecutor as well as the sentencing judge to go through a process to determine whether they are eligible. it isn't a matter of opening the jail doors and saying you are free, it is a more complex arrangement. >> crime and punishment is a huge issue for our country. i have cared about it for a long time. it is for incapacitation, if a person minute in jail can sell dope, they can't murder someone, can't rape someone, it is a rehabilitation. occasionally, that happens.
unfortunately, we are not as good as we would like to believe. in the latet study 70's, a big study that said people make decisions about whether or not to remain in criminal activity for a whole lot of reasons. one of them was at the prisons were bad. one of them was they took advantage of the prison system. havemay be they life-changing spiritual experiences. policyifficult to have that would impact them in a significant way. we have gone 30 years the same recidivism rate. i think that is true. , do you think no one is ever tried a program to reduce recidivism? do you think of the had a program that could do that we would not be adopting it in every prison in america?
i wish it were not so. i wish there were a quick fix. ton, i have worked with senator durbin, and we heard the naacp's concerns and we made some progress dealing with the crack situation. this is a whole big deal. , 10e are brutal sentences years, 15 years, 20 years in jail is really a big sentence. we need to have people not serve any more than they have to. last week we were told the truth. we have to be careful. those thatexplain to come after us what he did or did not do to let it happen. that is what i am concerned about. mentionyou correctly
that ago some community-based policing to broken windows philosophies, to police presence in the communities. communities,n african-american communities, where they demanded that police come there and do something about the crime. they are tired of their children being victimized, and afraid to go out on the street at night. i've heard that, and it is not a little matter. very experienced at this. decision a number of has undermined the sentencing guidelines significantly, did it not? did that reduce prison sentences throughout the country? it did, it returned
a huge amount of judicial discretion to the court. sessions: that is one of the things that is already happened. the sentencing commission has proposed a sweeping amendment to redefine what career offender is. how does that impact? steven cook: that is on the back of the decision in johnson. we will, as a consequence, revisit all armed career criminal acts. many will be eligible for earlier release. the follow along -- wouldr sessions: that reduce mandatory -- k: if made retroactive, that would hold -- open a huge group.
sessions: mandatory minimums against -- it requires tom to limit opposition mandatory sentences inserted drug offense cases. is that right? steven cook: that is right. : i don't knowns how he can do that. as a result of these things, and others, there have been sessions that we pass, the prison population is dropped by 5000 prisoners in 2014. then 8000 in, fiscal year 2015. the population will further of thousand inmates by the end of the fiscal year 2016. in three years, able drop 11%.
that sounds like a pretty significant trend. that is all without considering this legislation. is a hugek: there cause for concern, we know what the recidivism rates are. they run 45% to 77%. sessions: that is costly as well. thank you. not to see your return, that mr. grassley is not wonderful. senator whitehouse: thank you to the panel for being here. and i were to summarize the testimony it would be to say that there is fairly widespread support for title ii of this bill related to the improvement
foreentry preparation inmates were being returned to society. certainly, no direct criticism of any part of it. we will be able to move smoothly forward with that part of the bill. , weact, but the whole bill have a house process to get through in a conference to get through. i would like to ask three of you to think forward to when this bill passes, presume that it has , and given it intact us advice on what we should be looking for from an oversight
point of view. what should be the benchmarks, or other advice you might have as to what should inform the implementation of that title by the bureau prisoners and the department of justice? >> thank you, sender -- senator. it something is working, you would expect it to be expanded. thisr experience, legislative body has not been provided with the types of metrics of what is working at the same level done at the states. when the states the get alternative sentencing drug
court, whether accountability was done outside, they measure the success on the other end of that sentence because they want to report to the policymakers as to whether or not the investment was making the community safer or not. i believe that we are lavishing is whatn title ii, this opens the door already. as you are talking with the house, and other negotiators, in this make sure that you are looking for expanded use of programming, life skills mentoring -- these are the things that actually transform the system. whitehouse: thank you. >> i very much appreciate your combined interest in these issues. let's not expect miracles from this initiative.
criminal behavior is a function differentty of factors of life. it is critically important we do more inside prisons, but then we have to transition outside. success we should celebrate and we should try to build on those. the second is, in terms of the risk level of categorization in the legislation, i understand the rationale for setting it up and using different risk levels. i would hope, over a. of time, that this legislation can be successful and we can gradually begin to take on all risk levels of prison. the reason is, 95% of these people are coming home. to say that a certain group of people should not participate, we may be setting ourselves up for a bigger problem.
>> the states that have addressed similar title to realize that risk of recidivism is the crux. they have used static risk assessment tools. those are improved and now. static is one thing, the history, and factors that don't change. but this bill ises -- usues static and dynamic. you know whether they are reducing their risk. is it reassessing? if they are, then you experience what texas did. whitehouse: let me nxpress my gratitude, and i
everything from size to disposition there are considerable differences between rhode island and texas. one place where be have the same outcome as we have applied these techniques and we have seen prison populations come down together. that was not really thought possible before. cornyn: i'm not sure what you mean by disposition. i appreciate the points you made . it was one point in particular where you say the test of sentencing reform is not on the incarceration rates, but rather on the crime rate. would you say that same standard should be used for the success
of rehabilitation, or reentry programs? re so.e, those are mopre you are talking about the circumstances were people are leaving prison. to the extent that you have reentry programs that are capable of changing the rate, that is obviously a welcome thing. cornyn: as someone who believes not all good ideas come from washington, d.c. encouraged that some of the provisions of the corrections act which deals with
education and training actually has some real promise. mr. chairman, i would ask partmous consent to make of the record this report from the national reentry resource relating to state experiences. thatld just put out georgia, or north carolina experienced -- after the implementation of their program 19.3% reduction in recidivism. i think, rather than take this as a matter of faith, perhaps expressing our hopes and best wishes, we have some real results we can pitch to that demonstrate the workability of some of these programs. i don't think there is as much does agreement as it may look at
first. obviously, for the people who will refuse to avail themselves of the opportunity to get an , incarceration works. for those people who will come out, it strikes me as common sose to try to help them they can cope with a productive life as opposed to being in the turnstile and going back and forth. i appreciate the important contribution that your organization's efforts have contributed. i think that helps contribute tremendously to these results that i mentioned earlier. thank you for your contributions to our efforts. i want to use the remaining time to say, as i travel from houston --ustin to senator leo to
san antonio to dallas most recently. whether they are experts in this area or not, they tell me that formerroblems that many inmates have -- they have problems getting jobs because they have a criminal record. even if you eliminate the box, employersve proposed, will still get a criminal background check. whether they put it on their application or not, that will still follow them. if you can't get a job, even if you are trained in the reentry youram, that will limit opportunity and increase the likelihood you will repeat and end up back in prison. waslast thing that
mentioned to me, i hope you can address it, is the difficulty is simply finding a place to live. many apartments will not rent the premises to someone who has been convicted of a felony. frankly, i think they are entitled to be skeptical, but i think we ought to recognize there are some obstacles to people simply getting a job and finding a place to live. that has to be one of the elements we need to find some way to encourage so people can be successful in turning their lives around. a lot of challenges, mr. chairman, but i appreciate the good work senator whitehouse has made in this bill. combinedthey have been with his editing provision, we have our work cut out for us. e: thanks for
being here today and giving us greater insight. i used to be a federal prosecutor, you were later a u.s. attorney. peoplee you prosecuted under these tough sentencing laws. , and light ofieve all your experience, that the mandatory minimums should be adjusted in the fashion proposed? ichae there is a need for the adjustment does not affect the tools that a prosecutor has, the need is because the department of justice and the prosecutor you cared about disparity. you cared about over punishment, and under punishment. this bill is the result of years
of thoughtful analysis, it is modest, it addresses those areas oft have susceptibility either abuse, or over punishment. it is in no way a reduction of thepools or -- the tools or ability to punish. with title ii, it increases the ability to rehabilitate. we have advanced in all the areas. of those oppose this bill, many insist that they oppose it because the over that those ofcern us have gotten involved in this effort is somehow imagined. we somehow imagined or seriously exaggerated the risk. i been i do ask you some questions about that. do you think of was over
punishment, when marijuana was sold on three occasions, relatively modest quantities, had a gun on his person, did not brandish it, have you met anyone who thinks that is a just sentence? >> that is the follow-up question. no one agrees that punishment fit the crime. prosecutoren the initially offered a 15 year sentence. that is ironic, since under this bill that is roughly about the sentence that would have occurred. judge was in the some ways, i know, so affected and felt that he wasn't sure he could continue being a judge if he had to face these kinds of sentencing. .hat is a real example
it is not just an outlier. , it can many examples be common depending on the aggression of the office or the aggression of the investigator. nottor early: he was guy whoily known as a was opposed to the law and order movement. a case thatabout circuit of the eighth man renting an apartment in a home in exchange for rent he agreed to lay carpet in the home. wase doing that, he required to remove the carped that was there previously and discovered a single round of ammunition. or put it inke it
a gun, but put it in a box. he just set it aside. somehow, it was later discovered he was possession. and was notcted, allowed to possess a minister because he had been a convicted felon. he was given a mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison for possessing one round. do you think that is a just punishment? sure that would be a prosecutor that could justify that outside the existence of a homicide that resulted in the use of that ammunition which is not the case. it is a disparate sentence. if this congress is concerned -- the department of justice issued a mandate to his prosecutors to ignore certain laws, it should
be equally concerned that it could issue a request that they be overaggressive in this same manner. that is why congress taking these issues and addressing them in a thoughtful way can prevent those highs and lows of absurd extremes that should concern everyone. lee: there are those that have attacked this legislation by suggesting that those of us behind this bill are a desire the part of to dismantle the overhaul of the criminal justice system that occurred 30 years ago and reverts to a bygone era. prosecutor,federal do you think that is a fair characterization? >> i think it is entirely unfair. someone be akin to accusing me that i did not care
about my service. we are talking about a bill that is being supported by the likes , andairman grassley senator hatch, and individuals i have watched and senator whitehouse, that were hard on crime. tough law and order minded government officials. this should say something and be a wake-up call to people at both sides of the aisle care about this issue and wants to make it right. is it any other area than when liberty is at stake that we should care about making it right? senator lee: well said thank you.
>> we're glad to have you back. you used to serve in this committee. i'm both puzzled and disappointed that the bill we are discussing today does not criminal intent requirements. inadequacy of such protection is part of our criminal code has been a central part of the over criminalization discussion from the beginning. in the house, members on both sides said the lack of meaningful criminal intent requirement in federal law is a major problem that congress must and should address. embassy groups across the spectrum have agreed. the heritage foundation published a study finding that over half of all nonviolent 109th occurs during the congress contained inadequate
requirements. on similar lines, left-leaning groups including the association of criminal defense lawyers theored a chapter decrying absence of meaningful intent and calling on congress to pass a eighte to direct directive requirement. from where i sit, i do not see how we can address the problem of over criminalization without getting at the root causes of the problem. one of those is that we have let wither the fundamental principle that for an action to be criminal, a person must have acted with a criminal intent. when they lack those requirements, hard-working americans can face criminal
activities for accidental conduct that a reasonable person would not know was wrong. for this reason, i believe any package of justice reform must include provisions to strengthen that protection. in particular, i believe such a package should include language setting a default mens rea requirement. idea that many others have strongly endorse. there are three points to emphasize about default mens rea. such a provision would not override existing standards. it would set a default for when congress has failed to specify the criminal intent required for conviction. second, a default mens rea provision would in no way limit the authority of congress to create new criminal offenses.
all the would do is require them to be more thoughtful about selecting criminal standards. third, a default provision would have no impact on statutes or regulations that prescribe civil penalties. it would only apply to criminal prosecution. the question is whether the ability to take away some of freedom or impose criminal penalties. we have to find a way to make this part of that passage -- package. i don't think it will surprise anyone to hear me say that i believe default mens rea is at least as important as many of the provisions included in this bill. with those comments, i would like to ask question or two. about the need for robust criminal intent requirements. you called on congress to pass a statute requiring proof of
knowledge in any criminal prosecution. could you please explain the need for that statute? what would it do, and what would it not to? mukasey: it becomes pressing when you think of the number of statutes that exist. people are not aware of how many criminal laws we have. , withou combine those regulations, it is my understanding that the library of congress was unable to come up with an accurate statement of how many criminal laws we actually have. you add to that the fact that many do not have mens rea requirements. out there toield people trying to obey the law. the would not prevent
enactment of statutes in the public safety area, where standards have to be very high. you are talking about the possibility of mass the fact -- effect. it would not prevent laws that deal with food and drugs. it could lower tehe intent requirement. you have spoken on this. a fellow out here was working at veteran's facility and hosed down some waste and wage rain then found out he was polluting a river because it went into the potomac. he had to plead guilty to a felony, that is ridiculous. you have to have some sensible standard. an across-the-board mens rea
requirement, other than cases where there was a public safety where congressd, is already legislated that is lower, it would be valuable. some of expressed concern that default mens rea is a we do unwind the regulatory state or to make enforcement more difficult. and you please respond to those concerns? can you also explain the difference between default mens rea and other proposals that are targeted at cutting back regulations like the safe justice act? mukasey: default mens rea is exactly what it is. in the absence of a standard, the standard is mens rea. it would not prevent congress from setting a different standard in those areas of
activity when it was necessary. but there was a considered judgment made that it was necessary. nor would it set aside regulations that impose civil penalties and other sanctions. the only thing that we are dealing with are situations where people are potentially being deprived of their freedom, plus whether they are deprived or not, are being charged as criminals. in those areas, a default requirement is absolutely necessary. let me just add, i don't see how you can have this bill and reduce the injustices that seem to exist without a mens rea provision. i don't see how you can. >> this is all important. i think all of you excellent witnesses. you have added something to this discussion. that criminal
that releasing just 1% of the current population in prison will result in approximately 32,000 additional murderers, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, auto thefts. i don't know if that is accurate or not. that is what he testified to. if you have 11% reduction in the population, that could be 361,000. when you have your car burglarized, you have to call the insurance and police and all these things are ramifications of crime. -- we have been on the right track to reduce the
surgeon crime we saw in the late 80's. was one of the architects of legislation that paid off, i believe a. i do believe that we have exaggerated the number of people who are serving long sentences for minor offenses. in my experience, it is contrary to that. not that it does not happen, and a lot of things have happened since, ms. campbell, you were incarcerated. according to the bureau of believe 50%cook, i of the federal prisons -- from 1-s serve less or 10 years.
true that thet tellney general yates can prosecutors not to prosecute small cases if that is the policy is and focus on larger cases? we have people being convicted today for cases and appropriate for federal court because they are too small, that can be handled by a policy of the attorney general, can it not? >> it can, sir. senator sessions: it is already being directed to some degree. >> of course, the statistics reflected that. i think all of the statistics reflect a steep decline in the prosecution of drug offenses in the federal system.
session: the five year mandatory minimum for carrying a , and theg a crime possession of a firearm after undertion, have a fallen the obama administration steadily. that is one reason i'm not too impressed of the idea of more people whoing lawful want to maintain a firearm. we've seen a decline in existing gun law prosecution rather significantly. you,ll of you, thank thator cornyn, i do think in prison begin to work before they are released has real potential. i do think that can work.
my observation, over the years of attempt to have education and other kinds of character building programs in prison, that does not seem to have much benefit. you agree with that? find -- very hard to excuse me, it is hard to find a current or released prisoner that is not been offered programs galore. they do exist in prisons, but gives the sense of self-esteem and is the best training for reentry that we have. the risk assessment, the cognitive therapy, that is already being done. i'm afraid the judgment reached in the 1970's which is that it is very hard to find a therapeutic program that reduces recidivism remains the case. that is why the department's own evaluations -- cornyn session:
mentioned a 9%, or a 19% improvement. that is enough. is ahow me a program that 19% improvement and i am interested. the problem is, i've never seen a new program that the first few years the data always looks great. by, they have proved to be able to maintain that success. that is worth considering. thank you all for your work. ornyn: for people who don't want to change, they never will change. but there are people in prison, ms. campbell may be an example, with given an opportunity to reduce the level of confinement by dealing with their underlying -- drugs, alcohol, mental
issues, work skills, general lowerion -- can earn a level of confinement. perhaps a halfway house, perhaps in-house confinement. that is the goal of the corrections act to provide those incentives for people that do have a desire to turn their lives around. for those that don't, i agree -- we can't design enough programs if someone has not made the decision that they want to turn the life around and take it vantage. what is your experience been with the prison fellowship? >> for all the senators in the testimony that i submitted, there are citations of some of these results. one of them is a study that was done by a texas policy council of the interchange freedom program.
that started in 1998, and texas, it shows significant numbers. we have seen that through the iowa department of corrections. these things are available. i do think they should be expanded. i think they should be available to people. my mention i make in testimony was that i had a drinking problem, i had to enter recovery for alcoholism because out the hall solution. too often we think the person that the crime they're doing is the problem -- it is not, it is their solution. we have to go in the people have the willingness and -- even if they will never leave prison, they could still want to live their life differently. we can make that transformation worth something. it has been demonstrated time thatgain that this country people can, when they have the
willingness, change their behavior. demonstrated in facilities in texas. -- senator cornyn: we have been talking a mandatory minimums, can you just comments. is it the certainty of punishment, or the length of the sentence that provides the currents? >> they both do, obviously. it is certainty that it is far more of a determined. what you get beyond five years, a lot of people involved in the federal criminal justice system are involved because they don't they can segments longer than five years. the certainty of punishment is a major determinant. that is one reason why i think that the government system before booker was more
effective. think mandatory minimums ought to be retained. i want to make one last point, it seems like we have been through a swing of a pendulum from time back when the last time we took a systemic view of our criminal justice system. we realized that crime was rampant. the incarceration rate went up, mandatory minimums and stacking. the reason why that was done was at least in part the sense that people who commit the same offense could end up with vastly different sentences. that is not what i would call equal justice. theave seen the swinging of pendulum. maybe it is time to look -- i
believe this legislation does -- look at the mandatory minimums in regard to nonviolent offenders. we do need to do both. we need to have the certainty and make sure people who commmit the same acts are treated similarly. i don't know how we aspire to a system of equal justice under the law where people receive such wildly disparate punishments for the same crime. it has been the goal of some of the mandatory minimum policies. we do need to be careful. i appreciate this great panel. you made us all think, and questioned some of our assumptions. i hope you'll hang in there with us. thank you very much. you are absolutely right, i
was here when we did the mandatory minimums. some of the court did not force the law. that is what happened. i think most of us feel it has gone way too far. we have to find some way to resolve this. maybe this will be the last witness. withwant to echo and agree what senator cornyn said just a minute ago. i don't think we should see this bill is on the double reversed the pendulum. the american people feel good about the direction of our criminal justice system. nonor would it be fair to say ts will search to push the pendulum
back so that it swings in only one direction. that is not true either. we are making adjustments to the existing framework and in some result inmight similar sentences or in larger sentences. penalties andome extend the statutory maximum. this is not a reversal. this is made necessary by what we have seen in recent years and it has occurred to us in some instances, we over punish crime and that's not a good thing. this results not only in a waste of money but of human lives and we want to avoid that where we can. i was wondering if i can ask -- you have spoken about the important role congress plays on the top and in the bottom