tv Virginia Governor Calls for Criminal Justice Revolution CSPAN August 28, 2017 10:47pm-12:56am EDT
to start focusing on that issue. >> "voices from the road" on -span. >> next, a look at criminal justice reform with virginia governor terry mccull i have. he talked about efforts in his state followed by a panel on the topic. the two-hour event was hosted by the brookings institution. >> i'd like to welcome you to this forum on criminal justice reform and we are webcasting this event live so a warm welcome to all of our viewers from around the country and also those of you who are watching it live on c-span. so we will be archiving the video for this event so you'll have an opportunity to view it later if you'd look at brookings@edu and welcome any questions or comments you have.
we set up a twitter feed at #cjreform. that's #cjreform. so you're welcomed to post any comments you have during the forum. so the united states has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. our prisons are overcrowded and there are racial disparities and convictions and -- disparities in convictions and sentencing. we need to develop alternatives to the existing policies. today we're going to be discussing criminal justice reform and how to approach that issue. to help us think about this bject i'm pleased to welcome governor terry mccauliffe. he is a life-long entrepreneur. he was elected in 2013 and worked to create jobs and build a 21st century economy. but he's committed to bettering the lives of ordinary people. after the tragic violence in
charlottesville he spoke out forcefully against hatred and bigotry. and just over the weekend he hosted a family day at a juvenile correctional center which brought together inmates and family members. he's been a trailblazer in restoring civil voting rights from those released from prison, and during his time in office he's restored voting rights to thousands of ex-felons in virginia. so please join me in welcoming governor mccauliffe to the brookings institution. [applause] governor mccauliffe: thank you for joining me today. we have great panelists here today and i appreciate all you're doing. to awful you, good morning. it's a privilege to be among so many people who share my passion for such an important issue that faces our country. and it's fitting that we're gathered here today on the 54th anniversary of the march on
washington. i first want to recognize the four people that have been very instrumental that has helped me today. my secretary of public safety is here. my deb ute secretary, victoria, tracy who is here with us who is from the secretary of the commonwealth and my secretary of the commonwealth is coming but i don't see her here yet. but these folks have really done the job. virginia has now led the nation on so many of these very important issues and i do want to take the team that we've assembled. one month ago i may have given a very different speech but today i speak with you with a strengthened resolve of what we've seen over the past several weeks. for many of us we found it disgusting, deplorable, not accepting in this great country. we saw hatred, bigotry, and deeply rooted racism on display in charlottesville and across the nation. the grief and shock at the sensless deaths of heather
heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was out exercising her constitutional right and was killed by a terrorist driving a car. to the two state troopers in virginia whom we lost, both individuals very close to me personally, trooper beats had been part of my private security detail, my executive protection unit. lieutenant cullen had been the pilot of the helicopter that i had flown on for the past 3 1/2 years. i can tell you folks, heartbreaking to go visit the families, to see karen and her two children, to see amanda beats and go visit her in her home and to see her with her two children. husband not coming home, father not coming home. and to the heyer family who lost their daughter, our thoughts and condolences to all of them. so the swift outpouring of
support and solidarity from it as majority of our citizens. white supremacist and neo-nazis was so shocking to all of us. as i said in charlottesville that saturday night, there is no place for nazis or white supremacists or klans men in virginia. i said on that saturday evening to get out, to leave our beautiful state. you are not wanted. to go home. your hatred is not in virginia. e don't want you in america. these people, as they paraded down our streets, pretended they were patriots. they are not patriots. they are cowards. triots and virginians like a 16-year-old woman in prince edward county in the 1950's, young african-american girl who walked out and took her class of 400 people and said we will
not come back until we have equal school facilities. patriots are the young men and women who wear the cloth of our country to protect those basic freedoms and liberties that we enjoy so much. charlottesville was a painful and vivid reminder that although we have made significant progress we still have so much work to do. it's also forcing those whose privilege has allowed them to remain silent, to reconcile two different views of america. let us be clear, this isn't a debate about monuments. these folks weren't just protesting the name of preserving southern heritage. they want to maintain inequality in everything that they do, from criminal justice to education to housing and they want to elevate racism to the highest form. so far, unfortunately, the
pendulum has swung in their direction. african-americans, particularly men, are incarcerated at an alarming rate that is disproportionate. african-american children are more likely to live and attend school in an area of oncentrated poverty. school, they're disproportionately suspend and they have been targeted by legislatures around the country that pursued policies intended to rob them of their most basic dignity and civic duty, the right to vote. it's no secret virginia has adopted and perpetuates some of those same policies and practices. we know that our history is far from perfect in virginia. that is exactly why i believe that virginia should serve as an example to other states looking to take on reform. when i first became governor, it was clear that one place that badly needed attention and
resources was our juvenile justice system. we were spending 40% of our funds on just 10% of the youth in our state correction system, and nearly 80% were rearrested within three years. o house just one juvenile it per virginia $155,553 year. and that does not include the educational services, which year, for a a ,000. of $187 and yet, 80% were rearrested in three years. i was proud to be the first virginia governor to ever visit one of our juvenile facilities, and in fact i have now visited both. i had the opportunity to speak
with a group of teenage boys at one of virginia's oversized, maximum security, adult-style facilities. the group asked me why is it, governor, that the recidivism rate is so high? fact, the longer they stayed incarcerated, the more likely they were to reoffend. these boys knew as well as i do that the system was clearly working against them instead of working for them. so i decided to close down both of these outdated institutions and replace them with smaller, community-based centers that focus on therapy, training and education. today, i am proud to say that our population of incarcerated youth has been cut now by 2/3 from nearly 600 to just over 200 today. i've directed the millions in savings from this declining institutional population to be
reinvested, to support the new centers and create an effective statewide system of evidence-based services and supports aimed at preventing incarceration in the first place. to date, i am proud to say we have not found any other state that's been able to replicate what we've been able to do in virginia. i'm proud that we have secured funding that we now offer free travel to families to visit their children. with the new regional options, 75% of our youth will now live within an hour's drive of their family. today, unfortunately, that number is only 25%. all of these steps will help us strike the right balance between public safety, cost-effectiveness and rehabilitation, and they support our ultimate goal of giving these kids a shot at a better life when they leave. just yesterday, as darrell mentioned, i visited the juvenile correction center, one that i'm closing, just outside
of richmond, for a family day festival. it was a day for them to celebrate with their families, the progress and success that they have had. and to just give them just a couple hours to feel like a regular kid. i was amazed by their incredible talent. one group even performed a spot-on rendition of songs from "hamilton," and we heard moving stories from former incarcerated youth who are now finding tremendous success in their new lives because of the new tools we have been able to provide them. i met a young man named jalen who had recently been released from the facility where he spent the last five years of his life. but while some people might see a troubled youth, i see someone that has the respect of his mentors. jalen is an avid reader and poet. while incarcerated he was a mentor at the university of
virginia literature program and served as president of the vonair student association, and now with 24 college credits already under his belt, he walked out of there last month with a college acceptance letter in his hand. that's exceptional. [applause] because when i became governor there were no college courses available to them. today, these youths are taking up to seven college courses, including earning their high school diplomas or g.e.d.'s and getting now work force credentials. this marks the first time in virginia history that such robust educational offerings had been made. that speaks to our dedicated team at the department of juvenile justice and the great educators who work with these youth. while jalen's story is inspiring, he isn't alone.
i believe that each of these young men and women deserve a chance to succeed when they leave the confines of juvenile detention. for our juvenile justice agency, that work starts the moment that they enter our care. but for our education department, for example, that work starts much earlier. like many states they spend time outside the classroom as a result of disciplinary action. we heard of stories of students being handcuffed and arrested and the data clearly shows that african-american children and students with disabilities are disciplined at a much higher rate. according to the virginia
department of education, african-american students make up 24% of the student population. yet, they account for 53% of the school discipline. while recent data shows a decline in the number of suspensions and expulsions, these numbers are still far too high and continue to disproportionately affect certain students. that is totally unacceptable. there is no room in the commonwealth of virginia for excessive, discriminatory treatment of our students. that is why i announced in october of 2015 a new statewide initiative, classrooms not courtrooms. it is what i directed my in october ofinet 2015 a new statewide initiative, classrooms not courtrooms. it has directed that the number of students experiencing an unnecessary number of expulsions and suspensions and suffering under too many disciplinary infractions. our office has been hard at work at stopping these practices. in june we unveiled a new
memorandum of understanding and we now have a new partnership guide. there are very strict guidelines now about when someone can be disciplined. i recently directed the virginia board of education to establish new alternatives to short-term and long-term expulsions. to a will contribute healthier learning environment for our children and i hope will prevent our young people from entering the juvenile justice program to begin with. this is not only for early prevention and prevention, it is also critical for adults reentering society after incarceration. having a community is critical to making this transition as successful one. we all know that. important, our adult
reentry population needs the skills to be successful in today's economy. in virginia, we have taken steps now to offer college credit course work in career and technical training at all of our facilities. this prepares them for a smooth transition. i am very proud, over the past three years, because of these efforts. today, virginia can boast the lowest recidivism rate than any other state in america. [applause] gov. mcauliffe: we cannot stop there. as i alluded to earlier, the
policies which hamper our citizens including the lifelong label as a "criminal" in the name of public safety and justice, the burden of that label can be life altering. to learn more about that firsthand, i invited four virginians to have dinner with me last week at the governor's mansion. they came from every walk of life. each had their own pathway to success. the one common thread among them was that they not be defined by a mistake they made so many years earlier. each of these virginians had been convicted of a crime, and they had all received a pardon from me. while most have long since moved on from their mistakes, one of my guests had not even made a mistake in the first place. his name is robert paul davis. when he was 18 years old, he was wrongly convicted of a double murder after being forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. on the day i signed his pardon,
i ordered his immediate release from prison. i have pardoned many virginians who should not have been charged in the first place. in may of 2015, i granted an absolute pardon to 58-year-old michael mcallister who had been wrongly convicted of a kidnapping and rape of a young mother. after 28 years in prison, he was finally exonerated as a true criminal. a serial rapist who bore an uncanny resemblance to michael stepped forward. he confessed his role. pardoned the norfolk 4.
they have spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit after being called worst into -- coerced into falsely admitting guilt by the lead norfolk police detective on the case. today, that police investigator is in prison for extortion and lying to the fbi about investigations. sadly, this decades-long process has completely changed the lives of these four men. it makes our duty to pardon such an important one. last week, i also met with a 64-year-old reverend and army veteran who had been hurt in vietnam, severely. he became addicted to drugs. he came home, and at 23 years old was convicted of a marijuana possession.
that 40-year-old conviction followed him until the day he received a pardon from me. it always prevented him from getting certain jobs. through my pardon power, i made sure that he knew that the commonwealth of virginia would never again define these individuals as criminals. executive clemency is an important power for any governor, but i have also taken it to the next step. i have taken executive action to ban criminal background checks on state job applicants, and i have worked to stop the ridiculous policy where we would strip your drivers license for those who could not pay their court fines and fees. [scoffing]
gov. mcauliffe: you have court fines and fees, so you take away their drivers license, so they cannot get to work, so they cannot make the money to pay off their fines and fees. is that not ridiculous? [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: i found this baffling. in our rural communities, the only way they can get to work is to drive. this year, after a long, concerted effort, i am proud to say that i have signed six bills which make it more difficult for our court to suspend drivers license and to give drivers more options to get their drivers licenses back if they have been suspended due to an unpaid court fine. i have also thought to raise the minimum felony threshold level. i am embarrassed to say this, but today in virginia, if you are convicted of stealing anything worth $200 or more, you are now a felon in virginia for life.
if $200 seems low to you, that is because it is. virginia now ranks 50th out of 50 states, tied with new jersey. i will leave that there. [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: think about it, the $200 floor was set in 1980, 40 years ago. it means that a child who has just turned 18 years old who steals a pair of jordans or an iphone is now a felon for life. in 2016i called for raising the minimum felony threshold to $500. unfortunately, that never made it out of the committee. i was not deterred, and we went back to this year -- and we went
back this year in the legislative session to push for the raise. inflation,p up with be. is wher eit would just yesterday, i signed a pardon for a 47 euros man named paul -- a 47-year-old man named paul who stole cash more than $200 from the cash register at the department store where he worked. he had a new baby, a broken down car, and he had no money. today, he owns a thriving plumbing business, but his felony conviction sometimes prevents him from doing business on any military bases. paul was wrong to steal that money of course, but it should not mean that a mistake he made nearly 25 years ago should
follow him forever. in virginia, that felony conviction also permanently strips you of your civil and voting rights for life unless restored by a governor. that draconian process was the basis for the most contentious battle i have had as governor. we have given these felons a meaningful opportunity to change their lives, and i set out to bring virginia in mind with the rest of the country. in april 2014, just three months after i took office, we made some changes. we shortened the request form from 13 pages 21. we got rid of the waiting period, and we streamlined the process to make that everyone had the same eligibility requirements. later, in december 2014, i announced that i have restored the voting rights of about 5000
virginians. that was more than any other virginia governor in a year. we systematically removed wedensome requirements and ended the practice of withholding these rights simply because of outstanding court costs. in june of 2015, i was proud to have restored more voting and civil rights than any other governor in the history of the commonwealth of virginia. to me, that was not enough. on april 22, 2016, i stood on the steps of the virginia state capital which was designed in 1785 by thomas jefferson, and i issued an executive order to restore the rights of all virginians who had served their time and completed any supervision. that day, over 2000 virginians -- more they can 200,000 earned back the right to vote.
it was my proudest day as governor. we must ensure the rights of every citizen, including those among us who have made mistakes, served their time, and returned to their communities to make the most of their second chance. unfortunately, when they do get out, their criminal record follows them as they look for work and housing which are basic necessities you need to help you have a second chance. in virginia, it is a mistake which stays with them even as they try to take part in democracy by voting. there is a reason why. 115 years ago, a poll tax and literacy test were written into virginia's constitution. it is ironic with our history that we would punish those who have made a bad decision for the rest of their lives. where would we be as a country if we were only judged by our mistakes? why do we punish so severely our citizens who may have gotten lost along the way?
i have always said, show me someone who has never made a mistake, and i will show you a liar. [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: these are the questions i've asked myself as i and talkound virginia to those who have made mistakes that affect them for the rest of the lives. some of these virginians have never been able to vote in a single election. there was a reason why this happened. 115 years ago, a state senator glass put these into our constitution. he stood exactly where i stood when hundred 15 years ago, and to quote him precisely, "we are doing this to eliminate the
darkie from being a political force in virginia." think about that for a moment, folks. and so, i was proud to restore the rights of virginians. in addition to being a loving mother and grandmother, one of these virginians is now a respected community leader and a helper to addicts and former offenders. this mother and grandmother did not have the right to vote even though she had turned her life around and used her second chance to help others in need. especially those facing addiction. it was a sad legacy for the commonwealth of virginia. this policy was among the many jim crow era voter intimidating tactics aimed at blocking people from voting ever again. as governor, i could not allow this great injustice.
but like so many other paths to justice, ours was not without obstacles. republican legislatures sued me the day i took action, arguing i did not have the authority to do a blanket restoration. july 22, the virginia supreme court ruled against us not based on constitutional grounds, but because they quote, "no governor had ever done this before." i will be very frank with you, folks. i went to georgetown law school, and while i was there i ran three companies. i was not in the building much, but even with my limited legal knowledge, i knew i had the authority to do this. [laughter] i think thefe:
statute of limitations has passed on how much time you are supposed to spend in law school. [laughter] gov. mcauliffe: so think about this, voter rights had been restored, but the supreme court against us, and her rights were lost again. she was devastated. she could not talk. however, we were not done fighting. on august 22, 2016, i stood before virginia's historic civil rights monument, and i reinitiated the process of restoring rights. they told me i had to sign every single one individually, and i told them to line them up and i would sign every single one of them individually if that is what it takes. so, guess what happened? they did not like that. once again, i was sued. this time, the general assembly of republicans sued me for contempt of court. i now have the honor of being the first virginia governor sued for contempt of court. this time, the virginia supreme
court sided with my favor and said he is doing it right i doing it individually, and that woman received her rights back that day. in november of that year, she walked into a voting booth to cast her ballot for the first time in her life. it shows us just how powerful a second chance can be. she fulfilled her hard-fought civic duty with pride. something that nearly millions of americans did not exercise last november. earlier this year, i invited her to join me for my address to the general assembly in the capital. i introduced her to the very same people who thought she was a second-class citizen and sued me to keep it that way.
over the past years, i have met countless people whose rights i have restored. these are our families, children, neighbors, and they attend our churches, they have families, and they pay our taxes, and now they once again have a say in how their communities are run. so many more incarcerated americans -- 6 million formerly incarcerated americans still cannot vote. think about that. 6 million. these are americans who have served their time and deserve a second chance only to be shut out by their community. when people return to their community after being incarcerated, we want and need them to make the most of their second chance.
progress is rarely easy, i knew this would be the start of a hard-fought battle, that it is clearly one worth fighting. as i look back on the past year and a half, i am proud of the remarkable compliments we have achieved, because we never gave up on that fight. we stood up to take action and become a hallmark of significance in the rights. because of this work, today i am proud to say that we have restored the rights of more than 161,000 virginians who deserve a second chance. i now have the honor of restoring more rights than any other governor in the history of the united states of america. [applause] gov. mcauliffe: our work must
continue until every person is in ensured their basic human and civil rights. no voter should ever be barred from the filling their civic duty. no person should be rejected from their schools simply because of their family's economic status. our conversation today is about how we can live up to our own american ideals. we cannot continue that conversation without acknowledging how we got here in the first place. so yes, let us tear down those monuments and put them in the museums and battlefields and cemeteries where they truly belong. let us also tear down the insidious policies that keep inequality and racism alive in our institutions and attitudes. the greatest monuments that we can build to our nation's core values are not made from stone. we must live the american legacy that we all seek to honor by ensuring that every single child in this country has an equal shot to succeed. the every man and woman who has made a mistake receives a second chance to make it right. that every american has a place to call home. that is what we work hard to do in virginia under my watch. the progress we have seen is
just the start of a transformation which can take generations to be fully realized. that is why i hope the work continues in january under my successor, because this is not a democrat or republican idea. this is an issue which cuts across economic status, race, origin, age, and political party. incarceration and disenfranchisement have torn apart far too many families for far too long. they have been used as legal tools to suppress the political and economic rise of our african-american friends and neighbors. folks, it is past time for criminal justice reform. it is time for a criminal justice revolution. thank you very much. [applause]
>> i want to thank the governor for his thoughtful presentation. he had to leave, because he is running to his next event, and so he is unable to stay longer. we do have a distinguished panel of experts to continue the conversation. the moderator for our event is a political activist and organizer for campaign zero which seeks to end police violence. deray mckesson. joining him on the panel is sean, an associate professor of
law at georgetown law center. he is the author of "law man, my story of robbing banks, winning supreme court cases, and finding redemption." as far as i know, he's the first bank robber to ever speak at the brookings institution. also on the panel is brittany, the vice president for teach for america. she's also a cofounder of campaign zero. clint is a doctoral candidate at harvard university and author of "counting dissent." he has given ted talks on the danger of silence and how to raise a black son in america. to deray turn it over mckesson.
deray: thank you everybody for being here. i am excited to moderate this incredible panel. when i think about britney, she was deployed at the ferguson commission, and she was one of the original protesters out there. she is quite the incredible poet and academic researchers and studies civil rights. sean, a scholar, or bank robber, who has written about how you can change the system with everything from sentencing to speedy trial. so i'm excited to have this conversation. the first question i pose is a reflection on the governor's speech. we are coming off the heels of the incident in charlottesville. i would be interested to know what your take is, especially as we talk about the climate of race and criminal justice reform. >> think you so much for that question and for brookings for posting this event. for hosting this important conversation and having this. i have two main reflections on the speech. recognition ofe charlottesville is an important
moment but we have to recognize it as a moment that is part of a long series of moments that is part of a system here, right? what we saw was some of the most vile evidence of white supremacy and racism and the indoctrination of hatred in this country, and yet we see that every single day in our criminal justice system, in schools, on the streets, in ask a protest -- in acts of protest. so, i think it is very important that we frame this conversation appropriately. within a broader system of white supremacy that does impact all of its every single day because it is systemic and institutionalized and it is woven into the very fabric of this country from policing on down. it isher thing i think important to this conversation is to discuss how much it is in school. we often talk about the school-to-prison pipeline. that phrase has become rather
unfortunately. i do not think we talk about it enough though, because it is not just about how quickly you can enter the system as a child. idea thatter lies the regular childhood behaviors are especially criminal, especially if you have brown skin or are indigenous to this country. we see african-american and native american children far surpassing the other children in juvenile detention. as the governor mentioned, black students being pushed into school suspension and other disciplinary measures at alarming rates. it is also important to recognize that the kind of training that police officers and teachers at and other folks are receiving do not actually cover the stop. that is something we can talk about.
deray: thank you. for havingu so much me. it is a pleasure to be here. i was thinking a lot about -- as someone who reads is -- reads a lot about the political sciences, it is interesting to read about what is politically powerful and proven to be effective. one of the things that the governor mentioned that i do not want to slip under the radar is that they have improved on streamlining processes in which families of young people who are incarcerated can visit them. because that is one of the most important things that can be done to reduce recidivism, making sure that those family ties are maintained, because once you lose a sense of the community that you have on the outside, you become a lot more disillusioned and it becomes a lot more difficult to reintegrate yourself into the community outside. i have worked with a lot of men and women serving life sentences and that is who i work with on my dissertation.
95% of people who end up in prison or jail are actually released, so it is important for us to think about not simply how we operate from the front end, but also recognizing so much of this work has to be done on the back end. thegovernor talked about initiatives the state is taking in regards to drivers license, which is an example and a microcosm of the silly policies. it seems really silly, but was clearly implemented with the intention of making it more difficult for people to navigate their lives effectively once they got out. you needake sense that access to car in order to get a job and provide for yourself so you do not end up recent devising once again. taught 15-16-year-olds and men
life sentences, so i see the front end and back end of the system. when you spend time in prison, as anyone who has the in a prison will tell you, spending time in a prison completely disabuse his you have any preconceived notions of what a prison is and who the people in the prison art. sean will talk about, we have semi-caricatures of who we believe people in prison to be. implicitly or explicitly, we often do not recognize the way arbitrary circumstances inevitably shaped the trajectory of that person. within the prison was a daily reminder that for thearbitrary nature of family i was born into, where i was born, it would just as easily have been me on the other
side of the bar. that is important for any of us concerned with these issues to recognize this is not simply doing favors for anyone. we have to recognize that we, most of us in this room, have been put in positions where the trajectory of our lives has been on a different path than the economic lives of those inside are. deray: thank you. >> thank you for having me. i hope the brookings institute starts inviting more balance into its midst. first welcome i'm not much different from you. i was encouraged by two things the governor said. one that criminal justice reform is vital. the system is an absolute mess. you cannot believe that america is the land of the free and the home of the brave on one hand and on the other realize when
incarcerated more of our citizens than any other country on the planet. is counterproductive as well. it is a system where we sent people to prison as a first response rather than a first -- last resort. the longer they serve the less likely they are to get out and crimes.it new it does not help anyone, including taxpayers and crime victims. that is the big irony. our prison systems are so awful that people have a hard time recovering from prison. i was 21-years-old when i committed my crimes. i have made profound change now that i'm at the age of warty too. we know people can change, widely think listeners can't? think prisoners ?an't
sentencing, prison reform, it is not really easy for prisoners to be incarcerated for a decade and then released with very little job training and expect a miracle to happen. had i got out of prison, i never seen an ipad or an iphone. one of the places i applied to for legal briefs, they gave me a job. one of my albums with them was i had a reference letter from one of the best attorneys in the united states. i thought the reference letter could help me get a job. they said, please send us a pdf. was. not know what that guess what? no one else in a halfway house me what that was, either. kind of little thing can be life-changing for those of us who get out of resin.
the recidivism rate can be as great as 75%. three out of four people coming out of prison are going to go back within five years. that does not benefit any of us. there is a need for reform but that thing i was most encouraged by what the governor said was that this is not just simply good government, and what system do we want that is most beneficial to the most of us. it is justice to give people second chances. it is just as that once they serve their time we do not continue to punish that person for the rest of their lives. if you follow the legal system 5000enough, there are over criminal rules and statutes they penalties.minal chances are, all of you have committed a federal felony at some point in your life and you have no idea.
so, to think we will judge a person for the rest of their life based on a bad day, that we, or a bad year, that is wrong. we want to help people when they get out become productive citizens but in order to do that, we have to make some serious changes. it i was glad to hear the governor thinks this idea of second chances is not just good government, but it is actually justice. deray: thank you, sean. i know that everyone here has been a teacher at some point. i mentioned having a conversation about some things we do not typically talk about on a criminal justice base. when i reflect on the governor's speech, i think about what it means to be a felon. is pretty low in chicago, three hundred dollars. illinois, three hundred dollars. virginia, $200. angola is the largest prison in
country. the largest landmass prison, 28 miles. 18,000 acres. it used to be 14 plantations put together, which is wild. prison or jail, it completely changes the way you think about it. i would love to know how you think we got here. sean, i will go to you. what are the parts of the criminal justice reform that we do not talk about enough his first changing the conversation of public? i believe people here are in agreement that we should do something. they are in agreement that we reform.ave bail hot topics today, honey round those out in the public conversation. let's talk about how we got here and then pivot. >> the governor a lewd to this. it stems from slavery and the civil war. the failure of reconstruction.
crowthe onslaught of jim which played a huge role in shaping what our contemporary criminal justice system looks like. that is something to name because that is something we all understand and an intuitively carry with us but part of what -- i not do -- oftentimes mentioned some of the dissonance in the conversation around what is politically palatable and what will make a huge difference. one of the things we often talk about is the standard discourse around incarceration centers on this idea of nonviolent drug offenders, right? so the discourse that president obama was talking about, the governor was talking about and a lot of progressive politicians often espouse is we of all these nonviolent drug offenders locked up for selling marijuana on the street corner or doing drugs that did not represent a threat to anybody.
that is true, but the way we talk about it is that if we simply take away all of the nonviolent drug offenders that mass incarceration will simply go away. that is not the case. only 16% in prisons work convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. there is a very blurry line about what constitutes a violent versus nonviolent kind. we think that demarcation is very clear when it is really not. a lot of the man i worked with serving life sentences are in there for violent offenses when they have not done anything with it about as a stance of the violent. when they were arrested they had a gun and a hadn't purchased legally, in many states that constitutes a violent crime regardless if you are using the gun or not. part of the difficult conversation we have to have is what is beyond nondrug offenses .hat led us to this
we don't talk about prosecutors enough. we are starting to talk about prosecutors more often. the criminaly of justice system that you see online and order and on these tv shows, people go to court, it is a dramatic thing. that is not how most of these things happen. withnd in plea bargains cases. minimums were opposed, you had discretion take away from judges and moved to prosecutors. ostensibly end theoretically that would be a good thing because prosecutors are democratically elected and bus there iselieve that more transparency. that of they are doing something not elect them the next time. but the reality of the role of the prosecutor means that they simply do not -- the same level of transparency does not exist
with the prosecutor as wood with a different elected capacity. we did not really know a lot about what prosecutors are doing in the same way that we do not know what city council members are doing. the nature of the position, many of those things are in the dark. part of what we have to do is recognize that pressing shooters have a wide range of discretionary -- part of what we have to do is recognize that prosecutors have a wide range of discretionary power that is often used to put people away for much longer than they should be. an important statistic to think about is that by 2030, a third of our prisoners will be over the age of 55 years old. when we talk about the sort of relationship between the economics of the issue and the morality of this issue, it is not simply that we are putting people in prison long after all social science straight that they are less and less likely to commit a crime. all the data suggest that after a certain age, after 35 years old, the likelihood of you committing a crime goes down in
a dramatic manner. when we are not addressing that, you have all the health care costs which are going to be associated with this increasing age population. you have the cost of staffing and building more prisons, so the reason we got here is not simply because of nonviolent drug offenses. it is not simply because of richard nixon's or ronald reagan's war on drugs. it is because we moved from discretionary areas to where it almostm judges singularly to prosecutors who operate in the dark and we cannot see. deray: there are six or seven issues that need restructuring. there are issues on the front end and back end. the first would be policing.
-- >> there are six or seven issues that need restructuring. there are issues on the front and back and on the backend. the first is policing. when you have 7000 or 8000 things that are considered wrong and criminalized, what it does is when you make everything a legal, you give all of this power to the prosecutor and what happens when state legislators in congress passed these laws, they write them very broadly. -- ashey write is the law the law is not actually the law, because the law is whatever the assistant u.s. attorney or state prosecutor says it is. there are simply laws we do not enforce. then you have the criminal process area, the biggest need there is representation of
defendants. we have all of these wonderful procedural protections in the bill of rights like miranda and illegal searches and seizures and the right to a jury trial. if you do not have a lawyer, and you do not have a lawyer who is a good lawyer who can weaponize those rights and applied against the criminal justice system, none of those really matter. when you have a public defender who is 300 or more cases per year, no one can do a good job with that. so, representation is probably our biggest issue. that we have criminal sentencing. on the whole, the united states incarcerated people for far longer and at greater rates than any other country. what i talk about prison reform, the first thing i tell people is , if you want to report prisons and outcomes of people coming out of prisons, do not give them a long sentence to begin with. it is very difficult for a was
alert to get up everyday and kind of see's and and prove themselves when you're facing a 20-year sentence. it is even harder if you are 20-years-old at the same time. i remember when i was looking at being incarcerated for 11 years. i thought, when i get out i am going to be in my 30's. i am going to be so will. a 20-year-oldw thinks. it is very hard to get people in the mindset of rehabilitation preparing for release when the light at the and of the tunnel is so far up. we also obviously have to reform our prisons. there are some prisons and new fewd worse -- there are prison systems in the world that are worse than ours. i saw more drugs in federal prison the end i ever saw out. there were eight guards indicted at the prison i was at. not makengs that did
sense as a rational matter. we had a great building program where people are getting out in getting hired making $25 an hour. for someone getting out of prison, that is the gold standard. a new warden came in and said, i could get more money if i changed the program. he took the welding program out and he started a business management associate degree. everybody knows people want to hire felons to manage their businesses when they get out. [laughter] last part of reentry, nothing in prison prepared me for reentry despite the fact i had been in for 11 years. simple things like getting a drivers license. why are we explaining to people coming out of prison how to do that? what i got to the halfway house, was told i cannot leave until i got a job but i cannot get a job until i got a bank account and
when i went to get a bank agencies hadcredit listed me as deceased. it took weeks and i had to hire a lawyer because the halfway house when in help me get that fixed. i had to get a lawyer to get a job so i can get on with my life. we don't think about these little hurdles, but there are all sorts of little hurdles out there that can trip people up. if you see a door close every time you open it, eventually people revert act ii what they did before. that is why our recidivism rate is so high. every successful reentry story i have ever seen, almost all of them involve community. people coming out of prison and are embraced, whether it is at a church, a nonprofit, something. communityen you have around you, you do not want to commit new crimes because you do not want to let those people down. peopler community puts
in the isolation and makes it hard for them to continue associated with the outside world when they are inside prison. that is why it is so important to put juveniles closer to their parents. it is the same for adults that have kids. why don't we want the adults to be able to see their kids more often while they are incarcerated? we do not do a very good job preparing people for any of those things. that is why our outcomes are so bad. as you can see, it is pretty daunting because we need reform from start to finish. >> thank you. i think what is so important shon's point is the recognition that there are multiple systems complicit in this outcome. it is not just about police.
it is not just about krista computers and defenders. defenders.ors and it is about all of this but to make it more daunting i would add to your list that i see four steps. a lot of children are born into this culture. there are children who are born into this. there are 12,000 pregnant women in prison every year. the mothers are actually shackled while they are giving birth. for the mother, but it is also difficult for the child because it makes it much harder for the doctors to deliver a healthy baby. children are literally born into this. born into communities that have been completely destroyed by mass incarceration, the war on drugs, etc.. in so you're born into this idea you start to internalize that the people that look like you, the people in your zip code, the people in your neighborhood are somehow more inherently criminal
than the folks you see on tv, the folks across town, etc. so first you're born into this culture, then you are disciplined into it once you get into school. aremember in st. louis, we training teachers. i went to one of the schools were someone else was in charge but one of my staff members was there to observe the teacher. she called and said, i need you to come down here immediately. i came in and found a seven-year-old handcuffed to a chair. i do not know what a seven-year-old would do to the handcuffed to a chair. the story i was told did not meet the bar for that kind of restriction. we have to recognize that culture of education is one of compliance and not of empowerment. it is all about controlling your body and controlling the way you move. controlling how much you move. it does not make sense for
seven-year-old to be handcuffed to a chair. having a conversation and so vast what's wrong, that is the solution. i talk to to a friend of mine yesterday whose sister pulled her son out of school three days in. they had to wear orange uniforms. her son kept saying, i can't set the way they want me to sit for 45 minutes. this idea of compliance and not in alignment with empowerment as we see for adult thinking. it is deeply problematic for children. thegovernor talked about criminal justice revolution, people are discouraged from revolution for the very beginning. here is what is very interesting. amanda ripley has done some important reporting on this. there are 22 states that have laws against what is called
disturbance at school. allof us, we were disturbances at some point when we were a student. i was a day multiple intelligences private school. my disturbance was seen as creative or something like that. that's what they talked to my mother bad about parent-teacher conference. the things that happen at schools, officers throwing kids, kids getting shackled and stuff like that -- the thing that happens behind the scenes is that often the young person who .ut out the video is admonished in 22 states, that is a criminal offense. everything from criminal charges bring brought against him for telling the truth, if you are discouraged from telling the truth as early as criminal -- as early as elementary school, you they are discouraged
from it. at the federal level, especially now, we're not seeing any protections. seet deeply worried when i what is happening at the department of education around civil rights. how many complaints have been dismissed outright just in the last few weeks. if there is no place to take these things, if there is no one who is actually get a do something about it, then i would the fonter piece on and. we have created a culture for too many of our young people that give them the idea this is normal, this is what it has to be. the governor talked about the danger of convention and how we can get cut up in a cycle because we have always done it this way. somehow we have always done education this way and it is extremely dangerous for students and we will not get the revolution we need until we protect and empower students. >> i saw some of that in prison. when i got to the federal
prison, there was a row of cells. i tell this story a lot because it is emblematic of the system as a whole. there was a row of sales -- a row of cells, african-american men who call themselves neighbors. neighbors because they were right next to each other but neighbors because the feds had come into their neighborhood in milwaukee and basically got them all on this huge crack conspiracy and gave them all 20-your senses. there were about 10 of those guys. when i got to the prison, they were about halfway through their sentence and when i was getting ready to come up, so are they. you would've thought it would have been a great day of joy for them. the problem was the last few years, their sons started coming into prison. because of you take all of the dads out of the neighborhood, what to expect to happen? so there is always the cycle of people coming in and out, and i doubt of prison. we have to do something to break it because it devastates families. it devastates communities.
is milwaukee is the most segregated city in the united states, right? you cannot disentangle the realities of housing segregation and housing discrimination and decades and decades of social policy and social engineering some communities were prioritized and other communities were de-prioritized and opportunities for a social bedrock upon which generational wealth and health were founded upon. the trajectory that put someone on each injector he to end up in prison. it is important that we think about this on the front end while people are in prison and on the backend. we talk about these issues in silos. people look at a school and say, the teachers are or are not doing this. the students are or are not doing this. in prison, we fall into the same trap.
what isthis is happening in this prison and this is the recidivism rate. we're not talking about how the prison fits into the sort of larger aixa system of things that happen before someone ends up in prison. it is essential to have this conversation alongside one another instead of in a silo. get out of this mess? we talk about what the problem is. it is so bad. the thingsdo #one of i mind love that you said, it is not just nonviolent. so much of the conversation is about the nonviolent population. don't talk about some. this question about, but it's pilot? in chicago, if you are an accomplice that is violence in every state. just being around the crime is violent. -- public, pellet but is a felon?
they will say, someone who killed her i-5 people and blew up a building. it is the most heinous version of whatever crime looks like. were inaw as a crime places like virginia and chicago. how do we help people think about these fundamental issues? it shook me how the media normalized it. have 20 years, that is a long time. that is a longtime especially when you think about the lack of -- ormming or ever anything substantive. people that don't talk about how everybody gets a public defender. on tv, everybody gets a public event of. that their states that do not have public defender systems at all. we do not talk about that. it is these random private attorneys giving people advice
but not in a coordinated way, not any way to make sense to people. and it will be a focus on literacy. the fronte doing on and with our kids and what are we not doing? you have cities like baltimore, 30% of adults cannot functionally read. what does it mean to great opportunity for people that cannot read? you literally have a captive audience. no pun intended. they are not going anywhere. you could run the most streamlined literacy program for every juvenile offender and adult offender, you can do it. and the people that staff most prisons and jails are social workers. not educate us. they are mental health devotionals. how do you really have a robust conversation about literacy and core skilled development? just for a teaching moment, journals or before you have been convicted for anything and prison is for after you've been convicting of things if you did
not know. how do we get out of this? what are the biggest levers? where should they be now? where should we focus on now? do?le ask you, what can i what is your response to them? >> i think about that question a lot because time is infinite. i want to do work where i feel like i can make an impact. that i feell you like i make an impact every time i go to capitol hill. i come back from capitol hill usually thinking, is this worth my time? i think the first thing we need to do is, we have -- >> i think a lot of people feel that way. [laughter] >> yeah. we have had a lot more talk about criminal justice reform the last five years then we have since i've been alive. and i think one thing we forget as we have not convinced
everybody. there are people who think my family included before i got locked up, that pretty people who go to prison are evil. prison, myt to family and come visit me and they would realize when they came to visit, these are just normal people who for whatever reason made bad mistakes. i i don't think we have convinced people yet, most people in america that we need change. that's one area that we need to do. we need to get more people that have been to prison out and become leaders in that and out in the community. i often tell people, i committed a violent crime. but i'm not a violent person. turns out most of the social science, which you have talked a lot about, that is a big area of reform to meet. we know so much more about how humans behave and behavioral science has made huge gains. but you do not see any of that filtering into our criminal justice practices. you know? we know that people will age how
-- h out of crime in their 30's and 40's. yet we tend to lock up people for 20 or 30 years at a pop. even when there are no longer a danger to society. so i think we need to educate average americans about what the criminal system is really like. that, as places to do there are a lot of nonprofits and advocacy groups. i'm involved with families against mandatory minimums. i have also done work with everyone project,onal prison the prison fellowship, the largest prison ministry fellowship in the world. there are lots of places to fit in, but we have to convince americans first, of the problem. what we need is one state. one state to jump down and say, we're going to redo everything. we're not going to lock up everyone. we're going to use prison as a last resort and we're going to change how we treat prisoners.
and i think that if we have one date that does that, and has success, that will be the big difference maker. but we have to get one jurisdiction to make pretty huge changes, because, right now, we are just making progress at the margins, and with a population of 2.2 million people, we need big changes. we need big changes. we've got to convince one jurisdiction to make the change. i think that if one does the , outcomes will be so much better that other states be forced to do it, if for nothing else, they will see the money that we expend. that can be spent in better places than locking people up , for decades. >> we'll be taking question from the crowd. so think about your questions, i would love for you to push them as well. sometimes locking people up is ,and easy solution for policymakers. this becomes an easy solution even though it doesn't lead to
decrease in crime. >> i feel that way when i have my kids at home. it is easy when they mess up, to just go and put them in a room, and say, you are grounded, you are in trouble. much more difficult to actually sit down with him and address the root problem of their behavior. that is exactly what we do, with the criminal justice system! and it is exactly why it does not work. >> i am thinking about a couple of things, i would really like to harken back on what we have to do, really pushing ourselves away from the ideas that nonviolent drug offenders, and releasing them, will stop mass incarceration. the statistics that we often hear, which is important, is that we have 5% of the world population, and 25% of the prison population. if we released all nonviolent drug offenders, there was still be way more people in our world prison population.
we move from a fourth of the world prison population to a fifth in the world prison population. that's not to say that i want to be clear, those people should not be in prison. i'm saying we shouldn't focus on that. often time we're focusing on that at the expense of a larger conversation. the real conversation that has to happen, that is difficult, and, i give the governor a lot of credit, it is important to folksthat he did not name in his speech or violent offenders, because it is a lot more politically difficult, to navigate that terrain, because of the connotations associated with the idea of humans. what people think of when they think of themselves, everybody is a murderer, or a rapist, the difficult thing to do, is -- we really have to consider what it means -- maybe someone for example one of the men that i , worked with, he robbed a mcdonald's when he was 17, and shot the cashier. he is currently 62 years old.
so the question is, should this person, who took someone's life when he was 17 years old, clearly that is not ok. clearly there should be some sort of justice for that. the question is, should that person spend the rest of their life in prison, with no opportunity to get out? which is the contest -- context but he finds himself in. these are difficult questions to grapple with. i remember when i was first teaching in prison i didn't ask , questions about why the men i was working with were in there. because i was scared that if i found out, it would change the way that i thought about them. my second year when i was teaching in prison, i knew what everybody in the room had done. it's not to say that, i'm spending time reading poems with men who are murderers. right? when i was working with them, i did not see murderers to read it is to
sean's point, people cannot sincerely be defined by the worst thing that they have ever done, especially when they did it as a child. should someone be punished throughout for the rest of their lives something they did as a child. i think that's a really important thing to address. one other point i want to make. we have a lot of people in this room who are watching, online as well, or c-span, who are business owners or work with organizations or know people , who are business owners and work with organizations. often times, people are like, what can i do? it's important to account for the ways, small otherwise not malevolent decisions, continue to shape and perpetuate the difficulties that formerly incarcerated folks have getting jobs. even if you're someone who is owner of a toy store. somebody comes in for interview or turns in an application and , you see that they were convicted of
a felony you , have been trained with messages throughout your entire life suggest that is something you should swipe aside. for you, it might be that's just good business. i'm protecting my business or my family or my coworker. i think those are the moments where i think it is really important to say, to step back and check yourself, and ask, is this decision that i am making, and my making a holistic decision based on everything that i know about this person, and the possibilities that they offer as a future employee to my business? or am i making this decision in a way that is predicated upon this person being formerly incarcerated, and allowing my biases which are deeply embedded in all of us, right? to shape the business decisions that i am making? these are small decisions that people make, that end up into reading to recidivism rates, and end up making it more difficult for formerly incarcerated folks to have jobs. >> three things. you teach.
you have learned how to package these things. the first is to properly treat. so as a resident woman, it is really important to talk about women who are incarcerated. it often goes undiscussed. 71% of women who are incarcerated have experienced a traumatic event. what is a traumatic event? it means that they were either victims of or exposed to domestic violence. it means they suffered from substance abuse or they have experienced suffer from some -- experienced or suffer from some kind of mental illness. one that is untreated or undertreated, right. this is what i mean, when i'm talking about all of these systems being complicit. we can have a conversation about healthcare. when we don't properly treat women, they end up in the circumstances. what we also know to be true, and this is directly from the department of justice statistics, we know that white women are much more likely to receive treatment when they are discovered to have these things
than women of color are much more likely to be criminalized. period, end of story. that's like, well of course. but i think a lot of people are surprised by the sheer volume of incarcerated women, who probably had something preventable, -- who their situation would've been preventable if they had been treated correctly before hand. i think that's one the really big things. second is properly train folks. i was on president obama's policing task force, we talked a lot about training. if we're going to live if a -- live in a world with police, we need to be having a broader conversation, if whether prolific right now is the way that we are going to continue. folks have to be trained properly in this system. we made sure that when we were talking about training, we weren't just talking about detox and officers. we were talking about teachers and administrators, school district officials, school resource officers and parents
who don't really understand who -- understand what discipline looks like, in the school. they need to understand what is right and what should be , happening for my child and what is improper. it is the kind of training that those folks are receiving, it is not culturally relevant, it is not based in affirmation, it is based in deficit, which is what we are seeing now. we think about how much kids of color, and girls of color in particular, are adult to find very early. we start to see them as -- are teratedo find -- adul very early. we start to see them as older than they are, more responsible for girls as young as five. you can lock people away for 20 or 30 years, if you don't see them in the human, we talked
about this on the podcast. that's the thing we have to grapple with. as you said, your family did not discover this until they came to visit you, right? . i had family members incarcerated. it put a very different spin on things when you have to recognize, i still you and i still see you as human and valuable, respective of this thing that you did. and i am also fighting a lot of people who do not see it that way. and if we do not start looking at people who are in the circumstances, as fully human, as fully capable, then we're actually not going to get anywhere. >> quickly on that point, one of the things that contributes to humanization is proximity. and i think, the extent to which exist in proximity to this are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated really , does a lot to recalibrate the way that you understand these institutions, and people who are part of these institutions. there are organizations all you have to do is hop on google that do work around reentry here in d.c. and around the country and around with formally
incarcerated folks. but even, you know, a lot of these prisons and jails, also -- also are attempting to build some robust volunteer programs. shocked, be surprised, if you simply send an email or show up to a prison, and say hello, i am a yoga instructor, or i teach poetry, or i am a coke, and i would like to teach a culinary class. they are desperate to give, so are would, as people becoming more thoughtful about these issues, a lot of them are desperate to provide programming, especially to people in their prison. so if you have some time and , you're thinking how can i contribute, even if you can only go once a year, it really makes a difference for you and your ability to advocate on behalf of the incarcerated community, if you are in proximity to those who we are talking about. >> proximity in a respectful way. where you're offering the
service, and not being a cultural tourist. >> you are going to say something? >> yes, i have been to a lot of prisons, and i take a lot of people there to visit, and what they say, this has profoundly changed, not the prisoners, them. when they come there. for prisoners, having volunteers come in, it keeps you tethered to the real world, and not prison, which is very important for rehabilitation purposes. the people that do best are the ones who are thinking about the day i am coming home, not the day not -- not what is going on here today in the prison. he is right, you can all go and volunteer at an imprisoned, and i would tell you that once you do, you will probably want to go back more and more, and probably wants to invite other people are weird that is what we really need. we need armies of volunteers to go in. if the government not going to provide job training on how to get a driver's license, we should.
i think most of the solutions are going to come from, not necessarily from government, but from businesses and just my wife is sitting appear, she drove me around to elect 30 job interviews, in two of thousand eight, at the height of the recession. no one was finding work area and -- this is in 2008. she had resources, the other people did not have. everybody thinks that i am a pick yourself up to the bootstraps story, but i am the opposite of that. i had resources, and people that poured grace in my life. that's difference between me and the person that went back to prison. i would like to tell you that it is different, but it is not, it is really that simple. >> one of the things that we don't talk about a lot. sean, you have talked about it, the power that wardens have you
read you would be shocked. it is not like a law, it's not like the government to create it, it was the warden literally, for example, i went to a place where the warden was really just it worked out in the prisoners favor in some cases, but some things, should not be at the discretion of like the random warden who was there. so now we are open to some questions. there is a microphone, someone has a microphone somewhere. right here. >> my name is elliott. i wanted to thank the panel for a very good conversation. i have two questions. first i would like to ask if anyone saw the piece on "60 minutes" on the reforms in the cook county prison in illinois? >> i was on plane. >> and second, i would like to ask about the statement that was on the panel that milwaukee, is
the most segregated community in ?he united states i was married in milwaukee, in 1972, some time ago. but i would like to hear if there is a more evidence on that point. >> there is a great book by a sociologist matthew dubman, -- weust want a place just won a pulitzer. outlines in ways, how communities segregates contributes high homelessness rates that affects people of color and disproportionately affect women of color. and he often talks about how mass incarceration is the system that deeply impact black man, and addiction also impacts black women in a similarly disproportionate way. but yes, the research is pretty clear. if you google it, it came to the fore after the police
violence in milwaukee, and this that, a panel on housing, it is essential to understand the ways in which the history of redlining, and housing segregation, and is zoning policies, both in a historical and a contemporary way, shape to the dynamics of how different communities look like. milwaukee is a case that he, in the way that a community has been constructed through systems of redlining, and systems of certain people being afforded loans, to buy houses in certain communities. certain real estate companies selling to give -- to houses to immigrants or black people or brown people in certain communities, and those inevitably, the more segregated the community, the more stratified and isolated that resources became, and the more the morethey became,
desperate circumstances of the people within those communities became. the irrational decisions, that people make, are in response to these insidious circumstances. >> we will go back here. i am going to the county jail tomorrow, to meet with the sheriff there, the sheriff of the cook county jail. there are doing a lot of interesting things in cook county, and in september, the chief justice nelnet, the judge has ordered -- [indiscernible] cook county jail has expressed a -- after laquan mcdonald got killed, the arrests there dropped precipitously, which is great for people not being arrested right now. cook county is a place to look
at for a model in some ways. >> we will go to you right there. yes, right here. in the back. all the way in the back. >> thank you. and you for this awesome event. i think one of the things we have to look at is the mindset that prevails. we're guilty until we're proven innocent. not the other way around. i share the frustration of going to capitol hill for a too many times and coming back with nothing. the specific case i want to talk browder, i dof not know how you think we can accept -- avoid having another situation like his.
he was basically a poor black teenager who could not raise bail money. he had done nothing wrong, if you could speak to that for a minute, i would really appreciate it. just writteny had down his name, because i did not want to go unspoken in this space. i wanted to posthumously honor him, so if you are not familiar rowder's sterritt, spike tv did a four-part documentary on him. he was a young man who falsely accused stealing a backpack. records islandt for all -- i rikers island for a very long time, awaiting trial, not even having been convicted of anything. he suffered an immense amount of abuses there, had a very difficult time with reentry, and ultimately took his life. -- his police browder
story, not just to be a particular tragedy from a, but he was also one of our greatest heroes. without his willingness to tell the story when he was alive just would have undiscussed. thank you for bringing him up. there are some like solutions like closing places like rikers, that are necessary and recognizing that rikers is in every single state in this country, and closing those. but i think it speaks to something more insidious, which is that when we spend more time on racial bias issues, for those of us were in policing, disciplining police, on how police actually racial or file people. allowing for many of people like browder to exist in this country. there has to be a better approach and that way, policing the actual criminal justice
system, the defense and prosecutors, and taking on the nature of jail, especially juvenile detention facilities. a young developing, as person, like browder was, the kind of feudal mentality that exists in a lot of juvenile mentality dust juvenile facilities, as a means of -- juvenile facilities, as a means of survival, can really affect the rest of your life. we find that his case was so tragic but unfortunately, there were lot of him in the country. i believe the answer to your question is that we have to come at it from every angle. >> i think what his story demonstrated, there is far too low a bar. foreems to be too low a bar people who are becoming correctional officers. there's a great piece a was in -- that was in mother jones last year, by sean bauer. in which he went undercover as a
corrections officer, and he talked about how easy it was. before he went undercover, he was a very well known reporter. and he went undercover, and talked about how easy it was for other people that he worked with, who probably shouldn't have been in the positions of power and authority that they were, inherent to being in an incarcerated space, who simply slid under the radar or the ways in which once they were in there, there was very little accountability in terms of the way they operated. and the way that they bestowed their authority, and then after --t, on the prison -- corp. the prison population. we have to consider that there is an inherent power bestowed on those who are correctional officers in prisons and jails are the country. we do not often talk about what it does not take necessarily, to get into that position. if these people are qualified to be in positions where, you look at the spike tv documentary, you see the footage how the
officers were treating browder. i think that is something we need to be considering, this is something that is not really caught on camera a lot in this country. we need to consider who we are presents,o be in this and how much power and accountability is being afforded to them. >> to be clear, just to put this together for folks who haven't, the correctional officers started this thing called the program. which was the gang system in the jail. such that they could smuggle anything that they wanted to, to make money. kids who sett the this up, it was correctional officers. so who got jumped and when they , got jumped. his kids did not get with the program, they were punished. the guards came up with that. >> d.c. doesn't have money bail, kentucky and new jersey. people talk about bill reform, as something that we cannot do, but some places have done it. d.c. has done it.
the other thing about rikers, it is essentially the only jail in new york city, which is essentially why everybody goes there right now. mayor deblasio, and the people to leading a campaign require the creation of a jail in every borrow, and it has been because sometimes we find ourselves with unlikely foes. any think of correctional officers, they are people of color, women, people who are actually fighting against closing the prison, because of a close it, then all of a sudden they are out of a job. or people who want rikers closed, but they do not want a jail anywhere near them. so we have to think about situations like that. we have time for one last question. >> thank you. i am a 30 five year veteran of the criminal justice system criminal defense lawyer 20 , a years trial judge.
in arizona of all places, not just arizona, but maricopa county, sheriff joe's county. i had the pleasure of writing on the elevator one day with him, going to lunch, and he was in the back of the elevator. he said, there's one of those liberal judges just got on. i said, if there's anymore fascist on board, please push the lobby button for me. [laughter] we will go to lunch, let's talk about it. the problem is so daunting, the task set for reformers is so vast and difficult. maybe a simpler solution would be to declare the system bankrupt, put it into a bankruptcy type proceeding, chapter 11 may be, reorganization, charge our policymakers with a task on a clean slate board, whiteboard, blackboard, whatever. come up with a new system!
what would it look like? where would it start, where would it end, and everything in between. is, in my view, state lawmakers and most federal lawmakers are not going to make those changes and decisions. follow the money! ofil we take big money out state and federal elections and publicly finance those elections, i think that will ofe you a better kind legislator, more interested in pursuing the public interest. chance to adopt fair election laws including public funding, and i would hope that you contact your councilperson and the mayor's
office, to express your opinion. she is on the fence about this. try it, it is a voluntary system, it has to be now. give it a try, you would be surprised how different kinds of lawmakers, you can get into making policy. so bankruptcy, may be a solution. chapter 11 reorganization might be a model to obtain. >> we'll get them to respond to that. bankruptcy. >> only imagining big enough, in terms of how we dismantle the system. >> i was thinking about that. the thing that we haven't said is, what the world without jail? -- what is the world, without jails. it look like if you make a mistake, and there is a different pathway towards the future? i do not necessarily have -- there are a lot of ideas
there that we should examine. >> i want to say part of what you were alluding to is certain conception of prison abolition, and that is a conversation that is not often necessarily at the center of this discourse, and i think it is important. generally,tand it, one is like there should be no prisons or jail at all, these institutions should not exist. another one is a more conceptual recalibration of what prisons and jails are, in that as they currently exist, as they operate in the capacities that they do, should not exist. which is kind of similar to what i've heard you saying. todo not have enough time litigate whether prison abolitionism is helpful or a legitimate means of pursuing criminal justice revolution, but i think it should be at some point. ino want to say that, back
slaveif you are a abolitionist, people would look at you like you were crazy. right? people like frederick douglass who are celebrated now, people thought he was prophetic and the new what he was doing, starting to get more recognition. [laughter] here, if youis out go back and read the literature at that time, a lot of people thought that abolitionists were these crazy individuals, these israel -- ridiculous people. they thought it was not doable, not palatable. clear, -- i want to be clear. i am not making slavery and mass incarceration analogous, but when we look back at individuals who are advocating for what at that time was seen as radically a responsible, public policy
initiatives, -- radically irresponsible public policy initiatives, and we look at them now and say man, those people were really ahead of their time. invitedl are not even to this conversation -- these people are not even invited to the conversation, they are seen as not serious, as ridiculous. i think it is a understatement thate historical context exists around questions of abolition and questions of creating a blank slate. these things have been done before, and a want to ensure that certain people are not left out of the conversation, simply because we think their ideas are not politically feasible. the big i think opportunity for reform, behavioral science and technology. to handleso many ways criminal justice, rather than jail and prison. and there are so many cheaper ways! ,o many more effective ways
that we really need to reevaluate everything. systems thatrison we have now, we know the outcomes are horrible. 66 to 75%ywhere from within five years are going to go back. there is a reason for that. if you treat someone like an animal, and tell them they are worthless, and tell them they are going to reoffend, at that time there are arrested, through their incarceration, and then their probation officer will often times act as if it is only a matter of time before you are going back -- you get that long enough, and you start to believe it. so, we need to reevaluate from the beginning to the very end. because what we are currently doing is just not working. >> you had a question? >> thank you. it is a short comment, actually. thank you very much everybody, and sean, you stole my point. , 27 yearsban planner
in this country, and i think that technology can play a huge role to support this, not only behavioral science, but also numeral science. -- numeral science. neural science. you can discover things about the incarcerated first, and also the incarcerated is. trying to find the hidden resources of this population. you can probably discover that 1.7 million of them would be a lot less, after looking into, using technology to get insight into this. you could also discover, you know, my wife watches on tv, america's got talent religiously, i bet there would
be huge resources there, that could be put to work. >> thank you. that is interesting. that, she helped make sure had talks in prison, which is programming that you do not often see, "ted" talks. >> to your point about talent, i was amazed by the waste of talent. there were some people that have circumstances -- had circumstances being different, or had they gone mental health treatment or drug and alcohol treatment, they would not be sitting in prison today. they would be out being artists, lawyers, doctors, these are people who are no different from me and you, they just got caught making mistakes, many of them when they were young. i get that a lot, i have had several judges, prosecutors,
police, fbi agents, who always come up to me, because it always want to say, you know what, at if i had gotten caught for some of the things i did when i was in my 20's, i would not be here either. so, we as a society seem to be awfully judgmental, and we should not be upset about crime. but, it does not do us any good to be upset and hungry, and punish people and through them away for decades at a time, when most of us have done things we regret from our 20's. >> quickly, i would like to say something about his point. i think he is absolutely right, from the time i started working in prison, i haven't come in so many people who are incredibly talented and marked -- smart. people who know the entire canon of western philosophy, from russo to tocqueville.
i was talking about ice cream, and he brought up zsa zsa russo n jac -- jean jacques russeau. there are people who struggle with learning abilities -- learning disabilities, people who may not be able to quote of the western canon of philosophy, but we have to look at those --ngs that this seemed time the same time. people who would not contribute in that sort of way, to the community, but we have to recognize that. valued, and that one value is not predicated or dependent upon whether or not they would be the next picasso, or whether or not they would have been a great wall street banker. i just wanted to lend support to that argument.
hello, i have been interested in decision theory, and i see a lot of what you are saying has a lot of implications for a very broad discussion. to your comment about behavioral sciences and technology as a means of addressing some of the issues you have raised. i have been attending a series on some of the drawbacks of the uses of technology in identifying culpability and so forth, as well as following the replication crises of those 100 used forhat were replication purposes. i am wondering, whether you would not have some caution about the uses of findings and
behavioral sciences, because there is a broader problem of these statistics that are used, the measurements used to word these findings. i think that, i am a little bit worried, because even in your sciences, the finding is that they are very sketchy and many findings are false, actually. wanted to know what exactly you are driving out there? more aboutre talking predicting behavior, of individual defendants, using technology. that's not something i'm actually have thought about in great deal. it troubles me that judges and prosecutors are using that. the behavioral science that i am talking about is even more basic than that. we know that young men 18 to 25 are the primary causes of violent crimes.
we know they age out, we have the statistics, and they are undeniable, by the time they hit 35 and 45 and 55. the chance of them committing new crimes is not very great. we also know that behavioral science, to deter someone, you will hear a lot about especially from jeff sessions, the attorney general, -- we need long sentences to deter people. that it will deter everyone else. deterrence only works if you know about it! let us think about the type of people who commit crimes, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, mental health illness, impulse control issues, and young and immature. these are not the people who lay out the consequences of a long sentence! but even if they were, let me hasme that the person who serious mental illnesses, and is selling drugs on the corner will think about that day, what the punishment would he, before they
commit the crime. there are about 5000 federal statutes, and they would have to find the federal minimum and maximum punishment. they would have to go to a 500 page guideline manual to find a way that judges and lawyers do this every day in court. it is ludicrous to think about how that happens to read we know what deters people, the thought of getting caught. you would think that everyone would get on board with more policeman, catching people doing crimes, because that deters people. we want less incarceration, not know thee do punishment there are going to face. in 11 years i never met one person, who knew the amount of uninsured they were going to face for committing a federal felony. that is the behavioral science i am talking about, when we know how human beings behave and reacts, and yet our criminal justice policies are in opposition to that. and then we wonder why they do
not work so well! >> a different point to remember, to call out the way people pathologist people of color and minorities, for centuries, right? people who were born to be criminals, 100 years ago, and now moving past that. there is data that shows it is a real problem. broader is it interesting owder, is analeef br interesting example. if new york city had done what d.c. has done by getting rid of bail, they replaced him with risk assessment, and he would have still been in jail. those things are like real problem. we need to make sure. from visiting the jails and prisons, they do collect a ton of data that were not actually using for anything. i will say, from visiting prisons, they do collect a ton of data that we are not actually using for anything. when i think about the mind of havethat people in jails
connect -- collected during the intake process, the day that you get booked. whatever attributes you have, you probably have them the day before you got booked, right? and you should be able to -- we should be able to figure out how to intervene in some of these cases earlier, making sure that the system -- there are is shocking data about bail. how a judgeok at makes decisions around they'll. it is really -- about bail, it is really hard to find the data. not easy to find, so there are ways that we can use technology and data to be more creative and also to be more precise about solutionsp last question -- more precise about solutions. >> thank you for this panel, my name is joe hong. i write for a magazine called
"diverse." i was wondering if you could speak to the relationship between higher education and criminal justice reform, and some of the concretes that psychologists and universities can take to contribute to reform? >> i deal with that issue a lot. everyone asks, what was the big thing when you got out and made a difference? post secondary education is the great equalizer. the more prisoner gets out, the refuse, theon you better off you going to be, just like everyone else, but it is even more important for prisoners. going into universities is a really good community for them to get back on their feet. it's very supportive. and so, i encourage a lot of universities to think about their admissions process to read i have been advising a whole lot of people with felony convictions that are on their way to currently and recently graduated -- graduating law
school, because more of that perspective in the legal profession! it is hugely important. i work with this place in seattle called post prison education project. seattle recidivism rate was about 55%. but for the people that went through this program, and this program basically got donations and distributed that two people coming out of risen, they would be everything from a bus ticket, to college tuition. they had people they were funding in law school. they this someone in culinary art and they had someone in welding school. that program recidivism rate, 2%. so, post secondary education is a great equalizer for prisoners to come out. it gives them legitimacy in the eyes of the public's, it is a great community for them to be involved with, you have teachers that really go to bat for you. the last thing that you want to do is commit a new crime and let them down. that is the way forward for a lot of people to read the
problem is, we need the resources and we need to the universities to step up to the plate and admit more people. and there are places are doing that, the university of washington, where i went to law school, much like that, they do not ask the question about your criminal history. and that, again, is the way forward for a lot of people. >> i would add, in a practical sense, partnerships, especially with alternative k through 12 programs. so a friend of mine ran a set of alternative schools for young women. she comes from a more traditional k through 12 background like i did. what she said was that she was not prepared for how many young stay, but the well to engaging in traditional education was not an option for them, because it meant they could not go out and earn money.
so if i cannot go out and earn money in these traditional ways, the temptation is to earn money in ways that aren't good for me. or get back with people who earn money in those ways. what she started to do essentially, was she recognized that she needed to give those young women, the opportunity to be able to work and go to school in a way that happened much more rapidly than their counterparts. she tried to discourage from for profit universities, and other folks that end up preying on those students. but it was hard for her to find institutions with higher education, that were willing to put in the resources, the time and talents to actually actualize that partnership. but that is exactly what her young students needed. they needed to get those college credits to get that advanced training to be able to do that simultaneously with working a job, but also turn that into further job and career opportunities for their families. i think those kind of really
particle partnerships, are things that we need to see more of. >> i'll just say that, i was working with the boston university prison project. that is one of the few remaining universities that certainly across the country, that offer bas and associate degrees to those who are incarcerated. programse a lot more doing that before the 1994 crime bill, which sort of decimated the educational infrastructure within prison. the idea which is propagated which was -- why should these felons and convicts have access to college? we should not be paying for them to go to school, and despite all of the evidence that demonstrated that education was of the most effective means -- the rand corporation did a study in 2015 that showed that you are in less likely to end up prison if you participate in educational opportunities while incarcerated.
13% more likely to get a job, and the number would be lot higher, if we had more data. you can find more on this in the book "mark of a criminal record." 1994xtent to which the crime bill decimated the entire landscape of education, in so many of the universities that were putting professors in a lot of these institutions, they claimed that they did not have the resources anymore. there was no longer the same federal or state incentive to operate in these prisons, so there were for a less opportunities for prisoners to have access to college, and other classes, in the way that had existed before that. so, part of what has to happen -- the obama administration in his second term, started a pilot that inaround helping prison, that we are unlikely to see continued under our current administration. , whenare things that
people are considering voting, elections, these are so much of what we talk about, small examples of what the consequences are of certain people being in office. i think that sometimes people do not consider the totality of the landscape of executive power, that exists in dust when we are thinking about who to vote for, i cant to vote for, and just say, in prison, that is something that is felt very deeply. especially with people would have been there for a while, they can tell you what prison has felt like the four telegrams worth -- many programs were stripped away. >> a lot of people have talked about banning the box, how it is a progressive thing, but the latest research complicates that a little bit. i would like people to hear that before we finish. >> yes, this is the research
that has come out. over the last few years, it is not specific to schools, it is different for college i think, college admissions or universities and then for jobs. >> so ban the box was about not letting employees ask you if you had a criminal record. >> yes, that sort of thing that there is a proverbial talks -- boxerbialbox -- proverbial where you check if you have been convicted or not. >> i have done that a few times. thoses is not helpful to who are formally incarcerated, if you have to profit -- constantly remind people that you have been to prison. and the state continues to punish you after you have been released. i think that is true and generally understood as something that we should try to move away from. what complicates it is that some of the research that has been done as of late, has suggested
that in places where the box is removed, employers will simply assume that the black man -- this was a specific study on , thatn, -- on black men since they did not know, employers would assume that more of the block man -- black man applying for jobs were formerly incarcerated. they had to make a judgment call, since they do not know, i have to figure out whether you are a former felon or not, and more often than not, or at a higher rate, they would make that decision that it was previously. so what happened was that the study said that the likelihood of april who were formerly incarcerated getting a job, once the box was removed, had gone up a bit, which was the goal. but the opportunities for black men who were not incarcerated or had not been incarcerated before, went down, in a way that
made it that black men were generally less likely to get jobs than before the ban was mandated. so there are not a lot of neat or easy solutions to this, we just have to question things that look that they are easy, universal solutions, i want to be clear, i am not saying that we should completely forget about banning the box. i think there are just other things that need to be done in the context. but this was an important study, that helped cultivate what this means, and goes back to what i was saying before, that a lot of the -- the state has a lot of responsibility, but a lot of this will have to happen in the private individual decisions that people make everyday with their small business and organizations and corporations and the box will only go so far to remove biases from people. >> i don't think the box would have helped me. just think about it. i don't check the box.
but then when it comes to resume time, there is a 10 year resume got on mine -- resume gap on mine which i would not have been able to explain, other than to tell them what happened. yes, i think dan the box was important, -- ban the box is important. sometimes pat ourselves on the back too quickly when we pass a bill. instead what we should be , doing is convincing businesses, listen, we want you to affirmatively hire people with felony convictions and get them to agree to do that. we would probably have better and more successful outcomes if we could. >> shon, clint, brittany thank you so much for being on the panel. [applause] thank you for being here today. we'll see you. [applause]
course next on c-span from , american history tv, a look at the 50th anniversary of the 1967 detroit riots. then, president trump holds a joint news conference with the finnish president. after that, a hearing on efforts to combat the elusive arts and antiquities trade. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] president trump's plan to visit hurricane ravaged texas, and how other presidents have weathered these disasters. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal, tomorrow live at 7 a.m. eastern. on tuesday, naacp interim president and ceo derek johnson will talk about the travel
advisory his organization has issued for african-americans traveling through missouri. events in charlottesville, virginia and protests resulting with the removal of confederate statues. we will join his remarks from the national press club life, here on c-span. might be the only government class you ever take. you are going to be a voter forever, so i need to give you the 12 that are going to help you for the rest of your life in this pursuit. >> tuesday night at 8:00 eastern, high school teachers discuss how current events, affect their lessons in history, politics and government. >> it as a history component, a chance to learn more about their story. it does not begin when they're born, it starts with the people who have come long before them, who have shaped the way that the world around them operates. they start to realize, wait them in it, it does not just art with
me, what i contribute, it is all part of this bigger story. in that way, allowing them to take these people's opinions and perspectives through social media, but also through video, it gives them a chance to be able to really think, ok, this is how i see the world, but why is it that i see the world this way. can i extend that a little bit by taking in other people's perspectives? >> tuesday at 8 a.m. east -- 8 p.m. eastern, on c-span. >> next, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 detroit riots. part of c-span's american history tv. this is two hours. three of the detroit riots is two hours