tv New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Criminal Justice in New Orleans CSPAN January 3, 2016 2:38am-3:13am EST
the right response is not to reduce the penalties, not to release wholesale thousands of experienced high-level drug traffickers. it is the wrong approach. ms. kelly: and many questions about the cause and effect -- do you two want to pre-but who is coming out on stage? we will leave it there. thank you very muc event,er: at the same mitch landrieu talked about efforts to reduce incarceration. hurricanet effects of
katrina in criminal justice and public education policy. this is about 30 minutes. >> we are honored to have with us mayor mitch landrieu of new orleans. overwhelmingly reelected. previously lieutenant governor of the state of louisiana. before that a member of the state house. what is great about having you here today is that you are attacking the entire thicket of problems that we are talking about.
trying to cut the jail population in new orleans. trying to root out violent crime at the same time. before katrina hit, new orleans was incarcerating people at five times the national average. it is still really high that you wrote it down by two thirds. mayor mitch landrieu: louisiana is probably the most over-incarcerated state in america in a country that is already the most over-incarcerated country in the world. orleansit, new was incarcerating people at five times the national average. it is still really high that you wrote it down by two thirds. landrieu: louisiana is probably the most overt incarcerated state in america in a country that is already the
most overt incarcerated country in the world. oversawas 10 governor i the reform of the juvenile justice system. we found pretty much the same thing. we were putting too many of the wrong kids in a prison and buyer meant and not enough of the right kids. the whole system was upside down. back then there was a convergence between conservatives and liberals and moderates that nobody was getting what they wanted. we weren't getting the safe streets. weren't getting a reasonably priced system that produced good results. the kids were a tree getting worse not better. before, youe panel see this false argument. crimen we fight violent
unless we keep the prisons hide. nobody in america is going to not want to be tough on crime. irrespective of race or creed or color. the city of new orleans is 65% african-american. below thee living level. environmentsarkest every buddy 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 have to be smart about how we do it. in new orleans which does not set the penal policy for the state.
the judges in new orleans or state judges. we have 12 judges on the bench, nine of them are african-american. the policies set by the state. the philosophy and the arguments are beginning to move down to the state level. we have raised the issue dramatically that we are over incarcerating. we are not being smart about the individuals that we actually have. besides it being a moral issue, it is a financial issue. the state gets to say who is in jail but the city has to pay for it. when i became mayor i have a $100 million hole in my budget. who actually is in the jail? why are they there for that long? is there a better way to do
this? we came up with thoughtful way is to not arrest everybody. in new orleans when i got there, if we pulled you over at united drivers license with action taken to jail. instead of getting a summons to get a municipal court and figure out why you were driving without a license. a bucket load of faultless processes. it was costing the city more money. about two things. it is about money and it is also about safety. obviously a very strong moral argument to be made. there is a consensus forming in this country that we are not doing it the right way. you see this on the 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. efficacy 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 unique. 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 build political support when the crime rate was pretty high this approach? mayor landrieu: when you talk to folks in labor meetings, when
you get this 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 who 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 jeopardy rest of his life and the cost of the loss of income for the rest of his life, is $7 million. you put that into the mix, if you have spent money on early childhood education, you maybe would have had -- [applause]
mayor landrieu: it gets tougher. if you would've spent it on the front and 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 perspective of fiscal, is, are we spending the money we have been advocated in a thoughtful result? what is it now the conservative side of the argument are beginning to think about this, is from their perspective, it is monetary, any interest of 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 better, a fiscal hawk, you think that will make sense. i would encourage everybody to be very thoughtful about this,
there are victims involved, and the victims and i promise you, the african-american, white -- we talked about retribution, there is a sense of that, a sense of punishment from justice on that side of it, and there is a sense that we want to be safe. one of the dangers politicians face, elected judges, mayors, governors, is if you release some of the and that person goes out and kill somebody else, not only is that a politically
dangerous place to become a but you may a decision that hurts something else. you have to think through that in a hard way. it does not meet we should go slow, 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 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 40% 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. when these two young men decided to -- 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. not helping raise consciousness 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. one of the great musicians giving the world a great gift -- 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. where 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. officers were 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. we are to take them up on it over and tried 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, which is much more around the mayor's position. mayor landrieu: a things, because it was a big fight and because what is the proper governance model that will give our kids the best opportunity. 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. a result was kids were going to schools that were not teaching. 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 yea, 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. but 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. >> 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.
you want to see people get emotional about something in america? try to take away their -- 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 that it is a problem that should be solved. now is the moment. we should seize it. let's see if we can get
somewhere. mr. bennet: than >> on the next washington journal philip klein talks about the early 2016 voting contests. the association of realtors talks about the housing market 016.cast for 2 and mary cunningham of the urban institute discusses plans to and homeless veterans. washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. et on c-span. this month marks the second session of the 114th congress. the house is back for legislative work on tuesday. the budget reconciliation bill that would repeal parts of the
health care law. a january 11turns and their first order of business will be consideration of a u.s. circuit court nomination for pennsylvania. we expect a procedural vote on a bill from rand paul that would require an audit of the federal reserve. as always, you can follow the house live on c-span, the senate live on c-span2. the annual washington ideas forum heard from senators cory booker and mike leigh. they discussed their own efforts to address criminal justice reform, particularly in cases of mandatory sentencing. >> [laughter] i'm sure our opponents would accuse us. >> you guys have been working together for a long time on what used to be a hot button issue. the question of sentencing reform and criminal justice.
and you are not just any republican. you tend to be a little to the right. i don't know if there is anybody further to the right in the senate. there might be a couple for the to left, but not many. >> i want to correct you, the rest increase -- rush to increase mandatory minimums was a bipartisan rush. 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 exceptions. senator lee was working on this far before i came into the senate, with an attitude that
-- not many people have. he was a prosecutor that witnessed many of the cases. he brought authenticity. by the time i joined the senate, some of my earliest conversations were with him to really join that emerging group in the senate, extraordinarily, which was a conference of -- comprehensive criminal justice bill, some of which the core pillars are things he advocated for for years. >> republicans for years would 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.
of the mandatory minimums. 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. we have a whole lot of people, 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 a young man. he made some mistakes. he sold marijuana over three occasions. he had a firearm on his person. who had three violations within a 44 hour.