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tv   Washington Journal Bernadette Rabuy Discusses Mass Incarceration in the...  CSPAN  March 26, 2017 9:08am-9:39am EDT

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needs to be pushed. ther security is not problem that it will be in technology and then gone. cyber security is a problem that is here to stay. >> watch "the communicators" monday night on c-span2. "washington journal" continues. host: bernadette rabuy joins us from los angeles, senior policy analyst with the present policy initiative. thanks very much for being with us. we want to talk about mass incarceration in america. let's begin with your organization and what you represent. guest: we are the prison policy initiative, a national advocacy organization. we do research on the criminal justice system, including just showing who is incarcerated in the u.s., where, and for what offenses.
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and we do specific advocacy campaigns. we do work on the issue of prison gerrymandering, where people are counted for purposes of redistricting, and other issues such as the high price of phone calls. we have done advocacy with the federal communications commission on that issue. host: there is information on the screen to start the discussion. 2.3 million americans currently in jails at the local, state, and federal levels. and the pretrial policies often drive the gel growth. five incarcerated are locked up for a drug offense. eachone million arrests year. many are young people locked up for nonviolent offenses. and 57,000 behind bars due to immigration offenses. what stands out in those numbers? guest: the first is definitely how much state policy drives
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massacre thracian. it can often be easy to focus on the federal levels. the we are looking at criminal justice system, the largest slice is state prisons, followed by local jails am a which are also getting more attention recently because of pretrial such as detention. but the first is that state policies drive mass incarceration. host: one figure that stood out, 70% of those in local jails are there without any charges. they have not been convicted of anything. guest: exactly. that is the national figure which is too high, so that is a combination of two folks. there are the people who have just got into jail, so they have not had the opportunity to pay for yet in order to wait
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trial from home. and then there are the people who just cannot afford the money and ito they cannot pay, ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the offense, but because they cannot afford that, they have to wait for their trial they from the jail. that is a huge driver of jail policies in this country. in some places, it is even higher than 70%. jail this is local population, those being held without being convicted of anything. non-convicted, approximately 443,000. those with convictions, 187,000. what is the timeline between being incarcerated in a local jail and then the trial? guest: that is a tricky question. there are thousands of local
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jurisdictions, so we can really very. for example, here in california, jails have really taken a new character because of the prison overcrowding. here, jails can house people for years, which is really uncommon. generally people spend under a year for jails. the big difference between jails and prisons is that jails are for minor sentences, under a year, and people go to prison when they have longer sentences and usually more serious crimes. but you could really spend some days in jail before your trial date, months in jail, and unfortunately thomas sometimes years. it is probably more common that you would spend days or months before your trial date. betweenu break it down local, state, and federal prisons.
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let's take a snapshot. federal prisons, about 97,000 for drug offenses. another 71,000 or public disorder issues. violent terminals, 14,000. property and theft, 12,000. 1000 for those convicted of other crimes. our we doing enough to make sure those that are in prison are able to, when they do leave, get back into the mainstream of america and into the workforce? guest: absolutely not. one of the issues is our report does a great job of showing a snapshot of the criminal justice system. what we sometimes forget is that this is just how many people are locked up on any given day. the many more people's cycling in and out of the facilities. so that is one of the key issues that maybe is not per trade as well in this report, which other people who are getting out of both prison and jail and what
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resources might be available for them. they run into a bunch of issues, ,hether it is housing or jobs and we really do not have enough resources so that those people can really rebuild their lives. in jail, a key problem is we have about 11 million people cycling through jail every year. host: our guest is bernadette rabuy from los angeles to achieve is with the prison policy initiative. what of the chapters is following the money that you wrote about. have doneht, we research on how much it really costs our country to be locking up this many people. there are a few different figures, and we tried our best to come up with a number that is most accurate. it is still an underestimate, but we found it is over $280
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billion per year, and that includes pretrial detention that we talked about earlier, health care for those who are commissaryd, the industry, so people buying ,hings like snacks from prison the employee costs of running prisons and jails. billion.otal of $182 let's get to your phone calls. this one is from illinois, independent line. isler: the question i had citizens to help people who are incarcerated, do they get extra money to create jobs? guest: there is definitely money flowing from the federal government to local
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jurisdictions. know that it happens exactly as phrased. states andefinitely local jurisdictions that will try and get more money in their incentives to try to make it easier for people to reenter society. host: 57,000, based on your estimates, are there for violations because of immigration, either through ice or the bureau of prisons, correct? that is arect, and really interesting population to look at. people who are convicted of immigration offenses, they will be in federal prison, but then there are a bunch of people for immigration who are held civilly in jails or in private facilities. so that is a population where they are kind of interspersed
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throughout different types of facilities, which is a little bit uncommon in comparison to other groups. host: how can people follow you on twitter, and what is your own background? why is this a passion for you? guest: i originally started doing this work because i worked in new orleans with a man who was wrongfully incarcerated and spent 27 years in prison and was later exonerated with dna evidence. that immediately made me question our criminal justice system and whether it was really doing justice. have done work in new orleans and in california, as well as nationally. @br host: this is the website, the prison policy initiative. a look at mass incarceration is
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our topic. we have a call from new jersey. we understand you are a former correctional educator? tell us what that means. caller: yes, i taught inmates at andlevels, from nonreaders we briefly had a college course to offer. it was mostly men trying to get their ged prior to being released. host: what did you see working in this career? caller: i think there is a lot that could be reformed. some of the students i had, they were obviously mentally challenged, a lot of psychiatric prisons.our they are not really getting handled in the proper way because they have various psychoses. a lot of new row sees, as well, which being incarcerated probably exacerbates.
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i think the real issue here is, and our state in the early 1980's, every politician ran on making the sentences stick. they felt that the judges were not using their discretion correctly. and we went so far overboard on that that the sentences in the amount of time for each particular crime went up substantially. and the cost to the taxpayer, i know there is this idea that people are making money on the prisons, but i did not see that. there are people, privateers, they come in and wanted to give health care. they paid off a politician somewhere and got the contract. cost thetate prisons taxpayers of the state, and every state where you have them,
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we could reduce the time each person is in prison and focus on rehabilitation in the form of education so that they can actually -- a lot of these men never had a steady job. they have never been able to render life correctly, and that is why they get into drug addicted andet then go into doing crimes to feed their addiction. host: it creates that cycle. caller: it does. host: thanks very much for calling. we will get a response. guest: liz brought up a great point. there are large sentences in the harsh sentencing that our country has preferred for a really long time and is just now starting to question. but there is also just the amount of people that go to prison. so that is another problem. people who maybe are not there for that long but are still --
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but we also send a lot of people to prison, and even if it is just a few years, a couple years, that is really destabilizing to these people's lives. she had another really great point about what people are like when they enter prison. the reallyarch on low incomes of people who enter before they even have the prison record. so a lot of times, they are already poor to begin with. our research found that they are orer than the person who does not go to prison. so when they get out, they are even less likely to get a good job. they were already disadvantaged when they went to prison. they have this record. there are a lot of issues that come with that, whether it is barriers to certain licensing,
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which makes it harder to enter certain professions like being a barber, for example, or even getting through the door in the first place. a movement has started that is about trying to make it so that people who have criminal records can at least get to the interview process before their criminal record maybe gets in the way. host: our guest is bernadette seniorwho serves as a policy analyst with the prison policy initiative. we welcome our listeners on c-span radio and on sirius xm and the potus channel. greg from palm springs, california, republican line. caller: good morning to you, and welcome to c-span. bernadette, this is an issue i have had for quite some time. the eighth amendment not being carried out by the country, you
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know, it sticks that -- states that citizens of this country should not be given excessive bail or excessive fines. you can go to court any day of the week in los angeles, california, and you can see so many low-income people, poor people, and judges giving bail amounts, $5,000, $10,000, you know, far in excess of the amount of money they make in a year, and nothing is never being done about it or said about it. i mean, the country is just out of control. i have experience. i have been in jail. i have lived in los angeles. and if you are a minority, you have a 70% or 80% chance of will to jail because you end up going to court for a traffic ticket. $5,000 fine. you cannot pay that, so you go to jail.
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anyway, someone needs to address that issue because they are gouging the american people. guest: exactly. that is a huge problem, and it is one of the key reasons we should also really be looking at anl reform, because that is issue that really is sort of specific to local jails where we prisonstically running where people are going to jail because of their inability to pay fines or fees. we really need to question, in this country, whether we think it is ok that we're locking people up for being poor, because that is what is really happening in a lot of local jurisdictions. the otherou know, great point about that is it is not just money bail. that is one issue of the inability to pay, that you can wait for your child a from home, but then there are also just
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fines and fees. that was a problem we saw in ferguson. people who really had very minor and were not a danger to society, public order type offenses, and then then going to jail for those minor offenses because they cannot pay fines and fees. host: and among the industrialized nations, the united states is number 1, 693 for every 100,000 citizens in jail or you can look at these statistics. among the top 10, predominantly nations in the caribbean are small countries. we will show that to you as we listen to jose from port charlotte, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. my question to the speaker is -- i understand that your passion for this cause is a due to the wrong incarceration of an individual, later on released
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from dna evidence. gentleman that was just before me saying people are going to jail for a traffic ticket -- i think these are the rare cases. i just wish, to the speaker, what do you say about this comment? minority, a cuban immigrant, been here 40 years in this country, proud to be american. why don't you have the same passion for addressing the issues that are causing part of this mass incarceration? host: thank you. we will get a response. guest: i absolutely have the same passion for those issues. but one of the problems is that we are spending so much money to incarcerate all these people, over 2 million people in this country, so that is not monday we're spending on education or jobs.
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until we start to cut those costs, that is money that cannot be used on other services that really do relate to incarceration. like we talked about earlier, these are people who do not have educational backgrounds, as our earlier caller talked about. many of these people get their ged while in prison. in jails, there are usually not even services like that. so these are really low educated , low-income people, and they have not really had the opportunities to do better in life. and i think you know, that is one of the changes i was starting to see in reforms. here in california, for example, one of the propositions that was passed, part of it was about reducing some lower-level crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and part of that was the money that was saved was going to be used on these really crucial
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services like education. host: and many are under the age of 18. a look at the youth incarceration rates, with more than 34,000 currently incarcerated. our next call is from maryland, the democrat's line. caller: good morning. i enjoy your program very much. two comments. i am an african-american citizen. i would just like to really be a human being citizen of the world. i want to point to attention some things. historically speaking, if you look at the system for what it with slavery,t beyond 600 years ago. then you had a system, and you still do to this day. free,t the slaves supposedly, through the emancipation proclamation, and i have issues even with that.
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then, even with that so-called freedom, what do they do? president johnson under that time was assassinated, and thatver got that 48% law could have been enforced, and that is talking about $1.3 million per african household with a home and a car. african americans do not have that opportunity. they do not have that money today. second, you had a system of jim crow, separate, so-called, but equal. the system, even with incarceration, is modern-day slavery. host: we will get a response. guest: yeah, i mean, i think that is a really good point, like, there is no way to separate the history of this country with what we have now. there are racial disparities all throughout the criminal justice system, whether it is
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sentencing, whether it is arrests, even the death penalty. there are racial disparities at every single level of the criminal justice system. host: the last call is from is a cut, new york. good morning. caller: good morning, and thank you for taking my call. again, a very big amount of gratitude to everyone behind the scenes that put this on every day. i am so glad to be with you and your guest. if i can make a preference for a remark for people to follow up after this wonderful segment. on the count" radio program the pacifica network, i believe it is the only one in the world that is all by ex-incarcerated persons and founded by the late eddie ellis.
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every saturday, it discusses issues of incarceration. i amhaca, new york, and trying to focus on solutions, we have had over 1000 people with books given out free on michelle ,"exander's "the new jim crow and every month we have met as a group, and weekly people have met in small groups, to talk about the mass incarceration. i have two other solutions. one, on poverty, and i have been arrested in protests and stuff, but i have been released on my own recognizance because i am not one of those identifiable profile groups. you have someone like a person held at 15 years old for three years at rikers island, tortured and abused, and it has been on tape, and he killed himself when he could not take it anymore.
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that was really a criminal negligent homicide by the system itself. what we need is better representation. no bail, as such, for violations. and for 20 years, i have been going for a human rights court. why can't a property owner still bring people into court in two weeks time and out of your home in 30, but we cannot bring a bad cop in? employer whong an pinches a woman and says there is a glass ceiling? we cannot bring in somebody like a buster ever who denies service was a bus, like a woman when there were no other buses during the construction. we need a new system that protects our human rights, first and foremost. host: thank you for sharing your passion on this issue. guest: i think that is a very sad story, one that has been
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powerful in the sense that it has really shown how dangerous it can be to spend even -- in his case, it was years, but to spend even a few days in jail. there are other stories like that, many others whose stories do not get the same level of national attention. but we are really starting to see the ways in which prison and jail are really risking lives, particularly jails. we have found really interesting data on suicide rates in jails and how it is the first few days after arrest that are particularly dangerous. a lot of people do not live past the first few days because they are dealing with other issues, like mental health, which is a big problem, super connected to the problems that we have with incarceration in this country.
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i think that we really need to start looking at the human rights of people in prisons and jails, but also just thinking about the way in which we treat them and how that affects things like this evidence of -- recidivism and rehabilitation, whether they are able to rebuild their lives when they are done with the sentence and what of the collateral consequences, like restrictions on employment, we're putting in place that make it too hard for people to ever come act from a prison or jail sentence. host: let me conclude with one more look at the numbers. 2.3 million americans and immigrants incarcerated in u.s. prisons on the local, state, and national level. local jails, 630,000. 190 7000 in federal prisons. 100 43 million in state prisons. 4 -- 34,000 under the age of 18. you can get more information by logging onto the prison alice
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the initiative. bernadette rabuy joining us from los angeles. thank you very much for being with us. this is the headline from the cleveland plain dealer. what is next for the republican and trump agenda. how trump tried and failed to make a deal. what impact will this have on infrastructure, tax reform, and other initiatives by the president? 202-748-8000 for democrats. .02-748-8001 for republicans if you are outside the united states, 202-748-8003. we will get to your calls and comments in just a moment. we will take a short break on this sunday morning, march 26. >> c-span's voices from the road recently visited 17 historically
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black colleges and universities, asking students what issue would you like augers or the administration to address in the first 100 days -- like congress to address? >> i am a student here in north carolina. i would love for him to grasp understanding that although we do not vote for him, we are all represented under him. aboutd like to talk maintaining the relationships with other countries from over the years. >> i am a senior here. wanthe first 100 days, i to see them taking care of education. i would like to see better medicare. and as a black man, i would like to see that. pr major atnior
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howard university. in the first 100 days of trump's presidency, i would like for him and congress to address the issues with federal funding towards women's services. myselffects people like and middle-class class and lower class people. here. i am a junior for the first 100 days, i believe trump should improve his immigration policies. the muslim ban, i do not agree with it. i have a friend who is muslim, and not all muslims are terrorists. as for the wall policy, i do not think it will work either. i do believe illegal immigration is an issue and all my bed building a wall is not going to help. >> i am a communications major,
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a junior here. my message is that i know a lot of candidates make a lot of promises, but i would like him to lower the rate of unemployment. >> voices from the road -- on c-span. "> "washington journal continues. host: this is the cover of cq weekly. nothing comes easy as the gop has unified government, but the health-care care bill shows it is far from an landmark legislation. this headline, can republicans govern if they cannot keep a promise they have made for seven years? the white house, and both congressional chambers promising aggressive moves on health care, taxes, and immigration. stumbling on the first agenda


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