tv Washington This Week CSPAN January 2, 2016 3:52pm-4:28pm EST
. previously lieutenant governor of the state of louisiana and before that, a member of the statehouse for 16 years. i think what is particularly great about having you here today, you are attacking the problems that we are talking about. you are trying to cut the jail population in new orleans, you are cracking down, trying to root out violent crime at the same time, and i would like to talk about the actual formula, beginning was the incarceration eration, the fancy word for this process. before katrina hit, new orleans was incarcerating people five times the national average. it is still really high, but you brought it down by two thirds. how has that happened? mayor landrieu: louisiana is probably don't most over
incarcerated state in america. in a country that is the most over incarcerated in the world. we fit right in the sweet spot. before i came here, i was lieutenant governor, and i oversaw reform of the juvenile justice system in new orleans. incidentally, we found pretty much the same thing. we were putting too many of the wrong kids in a prison environment, not enough of the right kids, and the kids that were the wrong kids we were not treating well. the system was upside down. there was a convergence between conservatives and liberals and moderates that nobody was getting what they wanted. we were not getting the safe streets, we were not getting a reasonably priced system that produced a result that was really good, and the kids were getting worse, not better. it is a prescription of what you see in the adult system. even with the panel before, you
see this false argument, how can we fight violent crime unless we keep the prisons high. one of the things we have to do is understand that nobody in america is going to not want to be tough on crime. this is true irrespective of race, creed, color, or financial space. in the city of new orleans, which is 65% african-american, most of the citizens are living at a level, a family member making $35,000, even in the darkest, toughest environment, where people are not feeling good. everybody wants to be safe. the issue that people are talking about in terms of reducing incarceration sometimes gets lost about violent crime versus nonviolent crime. we really have to be smart about how we do it. in new orleans, which does not
set the penal policy for the state. the state judges, we have members on our bench, nine of them out african-american, they do not set the policy. the policy is set by the state. the big numbers you are talking about is the federal government, talking about that, and that really has not in a meaningful way hit the state levels. the philosophy and arguments are beginning to move down to the state level. we have raised the issue dramatically that we are over incarcerating, and we are not being smart about individuals we have in jail. for the city, besides being a moral issue, it is a financial issue because they had this thing where the state gets to say who is in jail and the city has to pay for it. when i became the mayor, and i had a $100 million hole in my budget and could not fun
recreation and other things communities need, i started looking at that hard, who is in the jail and why are they there that long? is there a better way to get it done? when we started to get into that, we started to come out with thoughtful ways did not arrest everybody, that we did not have to. in new orleans, when i got there, if we pulled you over and you did not have your drivers license, we would take you to jail instead of giving you a summons to go to municipal court and figure out why you were driving without it. he had a bucket load of thoughtless processes that were increasing the number of people in the jail that was costing the city more money. mr. bennet: there were financial incentives driving that, too? mayor landrieu: it is about money and safety. those are the two things. there is a strong moral argument to be made. by the way, there is a consensus forming in this country right
now that we're not doing it the right way. you see this on a presidential level, in the senate, it when folks on the left and the right are beginning to acknowledge for whatever reason -- you and i talked about what moment -- and we ought to seize the moment. we ought to have open ears and eyes and listen to each other, because i am in the business as a mayor of finding a solution to a problem. advocacy is really important. i am much for changing it. the issue has been raised where we need to spend a lot of time figuring out is how to, and how to is not just what you want, it is what the other side will take as well. you have to find a way to get them to say yes to what it is that you need. if in fact it is about money, the question is, who has got the money and who needs it and how are you getting it from there to here and how are you going to spend it in a way that reflects that you are actually producing a more meaningful result? that is why the conversation does not have to shift, but it has to expand to include a
pathway to a different place that i think all of us want to go. mr. bennet: how have you been able to sustain political support, and build political support when the crime rate was pretty high this approach? mayor landrieu: when you talk to folks in neighborhood meetings, where i get most of my information, they will tell you. and the public is pretty smart about this. they know, and everybody knows, the more that money that is spent upfront about the less money you have to spend on the backend. the gentleman who was up here before was talking about the cost of crime versus the cost of incarceration. the cost of somebody who kills somebody versus the person who got killed him and to society, putting him in jail for the rest of his life outcome of his economic for the rest of his life is
about $7 million. we start adding that up and throw that in the mix, you realize if you would have spent money on early childhood education -- [applause] mayor landrieu: it gets tougher. if you would've spent it on the front end in terms of early childhood education, enrichment programs, recreation, and you nurture that soul into a better place, you are formed -- because all of us need to be formed by parents or the church for some form of fashion, we are formed into a great place and have a great opportunity, we produce a better result. what we're talking about, from the fiscal perspective is, are we spending the money we have allocated in a thoughtful result? why is it now the conservative side of the argument are beginning to think about this? monetary.
in louisiana, we went from spending $200 million from putting people in general to $750 million a year. we put less money in childhood education, and we are producing a worse result. if you want government to work -- work better. a little confusing. i would encourage every buddy in the room to be a little thoughtful about this. there are victims involved. the victims, i promise, they are white, they are black, they are poor, they are rich. we want to talk about retribution. there's a sense of punishment, a justice on the side of that. want the sense that they to be safe. if you release somebody, and
that person goes out and kill some of the else, not only is it a politically dangerous place to be, but you have also made a decision that hurt somebody. that doesn't mean we shouldn't be intellectually curious -- but we should be intellectually curious and tough about how we get this done, and that does not mean we should wait or should go slow. it means we should be smart about it. mr. bennet: let's switch this subject of violent crime. you have been issuing a strategy in new orleans to cut the murder rate. what have you learned about the source of violent crime? mayor landrieu: couple things. so as not to be misunderstood, but everybody in this room knows the nation is overincarcerated. we do not do the penal workings country well, and we should spend more money on the front end than up back end. the lack of procedural due process and equity in system should be self-evident, and we have to be working hard on all of that, especially in the relationship between police and community.
while everybody is working on that, which is important, what i have been not singularly focused on, but i would have to say most passionately focused on, is the number of young african-american that are being killed on the streets of new orleans and america. america purports to feel good about herself because since the 1990's we have reduced the murder rate by about half. it was 20,000. it is now about 14,000. that is a dramatic drop, notwithstanding the fact that 14,000 is more than any industrialized nation in the world. african-american men are % victims of violent crime.
you look that young men are killing each other and they know each other, the country wants to look away for this are different reasons. in new orleans, it is somewhat of an epidemic. it is true in about 74, 75 cities in the country. you saw in chicago the other day a nine-year-old boy was killed. tomorrow two young men will be sentenced to death for the death of a girl. she had her guts blown out by an ak-47 when these two young men decided to strafe a birthday party. the father was arrested and now he is in jail for the rest of his life. that level of violent activity on the streets is something that has to be looked at and addressed. it has a lot of different reasons why it exists. it has a lot of different answers to it, but that kind of thing that support for kids in the neighborhood to get up and get to school and move on to the places they are to be going, which is harvard and other
places. and i am spending a lot of time in the neighborhoods talking to these young men. one of the things we do is a call-in, where we at these young men on probation to come into the courtroom, i am there, i have a u.s. attorney district attorney, atf, fbi, every bit of might in the world that the united states has standing behind on my left. on my right i have sister mary sue, i have mental health professionals, job professionals, and we look at these men and say you are important to us, we love you. you might have made bad decisions. that is ok. but here's the thing -- you got to stop the violence. if you do that, i am going to put you first in line in front of every citizen in the city. you will be the most important
thing in my life, and i will give you what it is that you need. if you choose badly and go back out and you pull out a gun, i would not be much of a mayor if i was not responsible for the safety of all of the children. after have to incarcerate you, and we will incarcerate you for as long as necessary for you to decide that you cannot do that. we will try to let these young men know they are critically important, we know who they are, where they are, and that has been working. the other thing is it is decide that you cannot do that.s level of violence in all iterations is bad irrespective of what community it is in. getting that to the higher level is somewhat of a challenge, because not everybody cares in this country about poor young african-american men who are being shot who are shooting. we care about a lot of other stuff, but i do not find it is as easy as i thought the if i
told people that 625,000 citizens were killed in this country since 1980. that is more than all the wars in the 20th century. when i say that, people yawn. to me it is a moral outrage, and i need to focus attention on it. mr. bennet: talk more about you said a moment about it is working to a certain extent. mayor landrieu: i increased the amount of money on reparation. i have invested in art, music, anything we can do to touch kids, like food, music. if you come to the city, everybody has a horn in their hand. that is part of our culture.
toussant passed away the other day, one of the great musicians. if we can find a way to educate our young children, either through music, arts, sciences, all of those things, massive investments in that. we are physically rebuilding every school in new orleans. we are rebuilding 38 schools to give children great places to be in. i have job training and trying to identify all. the city working, creating pathways to a job, to anchor institutions in the city. you live in a place that has something like johns hopkins bayou, but in the shadow of these major institutions, you have people living in the neighborhood who do not work in the institution. we're taking universities, hospitals, and say when you come to work, driving in from suburbs and go to the parking lot, look around the neighborhood and identify the people that live in this space. they pay that property taxes
that give you the tax break. you have a problem if you enough people to work and they have a problem that do not have enough people to work, can't we build two new medical centers, and they are just didn't to people who do not work. in those institutions, you can be a med tech, can be a physical therapist, you can go to xavier, and we are trying to find a person with human resource person and creating a pathway where they can get from here today. mr. bennet: what is the bottom-line in terms of the crime rate? mayor landrieu: the murder rate
is as low as it has been since 1971. that is a good thing. the 1971 rate is still eight times higher than the national average. one of the things that mayors of america are talking about, and we visited with the department of justice about that, you have to focus time and resources. i will give you a couple numbers. congress used to invest more money in substance abuse, mental health. everybody talks about community policing. it is easier to do when you have officers who are trained well. if you do not have a lot of officers that are not trained well, they create stress and strain. the cops program -- if you think of front end and back end, there is a targeted investment in helping human beings become better, and you had targeted investments for early child in education, head start, the kind of things that helped families stay together and be strong that give them opportunities and economic opportunities.
you have less of a problem. if the officers were hard and hired and trained in the right way, and the kind of procedural justice we should have now, you would begin to produce a better result. we have -- this is a very serious problem a very deep problem, one that will take a long time. i would caution not to get stuck in the argument about whose fault it is that we got here. as i would like to say, i do not know who will win that argument. i do not whose fault it is, although i have my ideas. i know whose responsibility it is to fix it. because we are in the moment where the country seems to have an open mind about it, the conversation should be tough and constructive and we ought to move all forward dramatically, and have that opportunity if congress can do it.
ought to take them up on their to get them some really direct answers to questions of what am i supposed to do about it. mr. bennet: let's go to the audience here. is there a mike? >> good morning. my name is charles curtis. i work at a public charter school. the quick context is "the atlantic" ran an article that focused on charter schools in new orleans in particular. i am curious about the content of that article and what is the mayor's position on that, and quick background, the content of the article talked heavily about the no excuses, in many ways exclusionary policies of a lot of charter schools in general, and it talked specifically about the practices of schools in new orleans, and i'm curious what the mayor's position and how those policies, inclusive of suspension, they relate to that front end, back end discussion of prison and what we do on the front end in terms of what we do.
mayor landrieu: you say you work in a charter school? >> yes, sir. my question is about the mayor's position on the position policy, and thepline policy, charter is not super relevant to me. mayor landrieu: penalty will to you but my position on charter schools is. there are a lot of questions about what the proper governance model is that will give kids the best opportunity. in new orleans, what he is alluding to is that post-katrina , we went to a different system of educating.
before, we had a school board from a centralized system. the board did not function well. kids were going to schools that were failing. the schools could not get their brains off of adult issues. they wanted people to think they should focus on, generally employer-employee relationships. it was a union, and if i could, before the end of this year, 100% of our schools will be charter schools. i will give you the results. the graduation rates are going up, dropout rates going down, and the achievement gap between whites and blacks has closed and the over five years. the reasons those things are working is not necessarily because they are charters, but because there's some level of parental choice, accountability. the principal and teachers can run the school, and it seems to be producing a good result. what he is into is the
suspension policy that existed in public schools and charter schools, and he is right about that. this is about justice. it is about how a kid gets in trouble and is suspended first and asks questions later. that is wrong. you should not do that. what we are doing in the schools in new orleans is reworking this policies because you have to make sure that the children have the resources they need to learn how to have their behavior formed in a positive way. that is separate and suspend first rather than have the ability to work with them over time is just wrong. in the charter schools, one of the challenges was how you deal with special needs kids. they were not handling that very well. they were handling the expulsion policies well. that has less to do whether they were charters or typical schools, as warehouse schools
treat children who are in trouble and he help. all schools across the country need to get better with that. what is happening in new orleans, nothing unique about us, except we and better food, music, and fun than anybody else -- [laughter] mayor landrieu: getting else pretty much the same. mr. bennet: can we take one more quick question here. >> thank you very much. i do not work in the sector. i'm just here to learn. very impressive presentations. thank you very much. the risk of taking us off topic, i heard about your experience as a state legislator, running a state, a city. any plans for the future -- congress, white house? mayor landrieu: no, not thinking about that. [laughter] not at theieu: moment. thank you for the offer. mr. bennet: let's go back here. mayor landrieu: somebody told me she did not like me, she will not vote for me, she was waiting for me to get out of office. [laughter]
>> hi, i am with a lawyers' committee, also a fellow louisianan. i want to know about constituent support. what are your messaging strategies when you're talking about your constituents and trying to build consensus about the reforms that we all know are necessary, but there is a high crime level right now? mr. bennet: we will have to leave it on this question, and it is a great one to end on. mayor landrieu: i will go deep. this room is full of really smart people who have researched a lot and i would put in the category of advocates for a big idea. that is really important. when you get to level i work on, which is really low and is on the ground, that is what mayors do. unlike a congressman or senator or even a president, when you are away from policies, when a
policy is enunciated on the city level, you see the people who get affects. if you do not believe me, try to raise the parking rates in new orleans. or try to take away to go cups. [laughter] mayor landrieu: you want to see people get emotional about something in america? try to take away their to go cups. what i am messaging, i going to tell you something that i know. if you tell anybody in the city and it does not matter whether they are ritual poor, african-american, or white, especially in poor african-american neighbors that you are going to do something that will make them unsafe, they will say -- it is not a theoretical thing. the challenge is for me from a
messaging perspective how to get people to think about theoretically what is right, practically, and what makes them safe. if you ask someone that has an idea, they want to say yes to, and now i will raise her property taxes to do it, find early childhood education, do something else regarding drug or substance abuse, i will build a mental hospital, all of a sudden when it is not theoretical anymore, you have to figure out how to do it. that's the hardest thing. that will be the biggest challenge. in this country we have a moment where there is an open-eyed mind to fix this problem, and i would encourage both sides to listen and hear each other because you can move the ball.
generally we do not move in huge footsteps. we moved in incremental ways, and then we look at what we did and if it was good, we keep going. i would seize that moment, but in order to do that from the advocates on both sides are will have to not just advocate, but come up with a how to, the who, when, and how much, and who is going to pay. if you can answer all those questions and you can get the public writ large a good sense that you will produce a better product, they will say yes to that every day. it is getting through that forest of very difficult thickets and weeds in a way that does not vilify the other side that will get you to a better place, and at the end of the day, it is about making those citizens that are now overincarcerated, a lot of them can come back to the community, but they have to have a place to go, and it takes money to get
there. it's a real problem that should be soft. now is the moment. we should seize it. let's see if we can get somewhere. mr. bennet: thank you very much. mayor landrieu: thank you. [applause] >> tonight on c-span, a look at the criminal justice system and race relations. discussrbank and others police violence at a conference hosted by the national black caucus of state legislators. >> how do we change? what do we need to do? we need to hold officers accountable. that it is after the fact. some of the has lost a life. -- someone has lost a life.
it is great that we catch them after the fact, but we still have to have the impact on society on that family and on that person. it is a failure of the system. we need to change the dynamic. police we sending officers out, and what is the expectation? how do we perpetuate the problem? in the case of ferguson, you have $1 million of tickets and a higher arrest rate than anywhere else. >> a look at the criminal justice system and race relations tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern time on c-span. here are some of the featured programs this new year's weekend on american history tv.
author and historian james watson discusses residents andrew johnson and abraham lincoln. and the 1965 meet the press interview with daniel p moynihan, who, as assistant labor secretary, offered a report on poverty in the united states. >> i believe in what president johnson said. you cannot keep a man in chains for three centuries, take the they have, and say the same chance as everybody else. people have to be given the opportunity to compete with affective results. i believe we should make a special effort. visitday night at 9:30, a to pershing park to hear about proposed designs for a new national world war i memorial. the upcoming 100th anniversary.
for a complete holiday special, go to c-span.org -- schedule, go to c-span.org. >> now, interviews from the washington ideas form. senators mike lee and cory booker discuss why they teamed up to address a criminal justice reform, particularly changing mandatory sentencing. later, a conversation with loretta lynch. this is about 45 minutes. >> thank you guys for being here. let me make sure i have this right. you are a republican, and you're a democrat, and you guys have been working together for a long time on what used to be a hot button issue that divided republicans and immigrants. you're not just any republican.
you tend to be a little to the right. anybodyknow if there is further to the right in the senate. the rush to increase mandatory minimums was a bipartisan rush. it was in the bill clinton 1994 crime bill. the congressional black caucus was on board with a lot of the changes that brought up the incarceration rate 800%. this is something that happened because we were all participating in it. with, obvious and sex -- with obvious exceptions. was working on this far before i came into the attitude thatn nominee people happy. he was a prosecutor that witnessed many of the cases. .e brought authenticity
by the time i joined the senate, some of my earliest conversations were with him to really join that emerging group , extraordinarily, which was a conference of criminal justice bill, some of which the core pillars are things he advocated for for years. years wouldns for run against democrats by saying "soft on crime." you look at the caucus and bush -- dukakis and bush. senator lee, you say we may have swung too far in the other direction. mike lee: we can be tough on crime by being smart on crime.
it is not always the best way to fight crime. it comes at tremendous cost. republicans have approached this from the standpoint of looking at the financial cost of incarcerating that many people. i look at the human cost. people,a whole lot of husbands, brothers, uncles, nephews, who are locked up, sometimes for decades at a time. a lot longer than they need to be. that is for nonviolent crime. host: i witnessed a case where there was he a man -- mike lee: i witnessed a case where there was a young man, who had three violations within a 44 hour. of time. period time. prison until he is 80 without meaningful reform.
the judge issued an opinion that said this is awful, "i feel like a monster, but the law is time hands." -- tying my host: i would like to take a step back to the two of you. where living in an era political -- are the political divide is deeper than it has ever been. there is anger. i was speaking to kathy morse rogers. we had a member of congress set out the pope speech because he disagreed on climate change. when you hang out, what do your colleagues say? [laughter] cory bookermike lee: