tv Fox Butterfield In My Fathers House CSPAN December 31, 2018 6:20pm-7:16pm EST
we'll kick off the new year with best-selling author gerald corn. we'll discuss all of his books including his most of recent. "rugs roulette." so authored with michael is cover. sunday january 6, mr. corn will join us live to answer your questions. this is book tv.org for more information. live on january 6. . [inaudible conversations]
>> good evening. y name is nick turner. i'm lucky enough to serve at the institute of justice. i'm glad to have all of you here and an audience from c-span to participate in this discussion. i want to say a little bit about what we are doing tonight, introduce dan. i want to say a few things about the institute. this is a wonderful organization that has been committed to justice reform longer than i have been around. i'm lucky enough to be the fifth president of it. but we got our start in 1961 working to reform the nailed system here in new york -- the failed system here in new york city. the organization is committed both to producing what we hope are breaks through ideas that i
expire the kind of change we need in american justice systems and delivering them in a concrete way. we are really lucky tonight to be able to welcome fox butterfield who is a reporter -- this might be the first time i actually met you. i was google stalking you before there was going toll stalk you with. and so was dan wilhelm. i'll turn things over to dan and fox. dan is the ceo of the harry frankgg guggenheim foundation. and is a long time friend and colleague of mine. he was the chief program officer
up until 2014. and has advised many criminal justice reform efforts, including that of the macarthur foundation, the safety and justice challenge which is perhaps the largest effort under way to reform what we call the front door of mass incarceration, the way cities and counties use their jails and how they should in fact shrink their use of jails. dan and i were working here together at vera in the early 2000s and we were work on issues around sentencing and corrections reform. i remember at that time that fox butterfield was one of the few voices of intelligence and an political integrity that was working in the journalistic field covering criminal justice.
he was at the times at that point. dan and i spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get to him and talk to him about the work. now we have got you. now you are here. it took 15 years. but fox wrote a lot of important pieces before criminal justice reform had any reform tonight and started to do a lot of work that was important that has laid part of ground work for the work we are doing now in this country. it's a very different time. i first got to know fox's work because when i started here at vera in 1998, i was assigned the task of working with the city's department of juvenile justice to help them on a strategic planning process.
the first thing i read was "all god's children," which was the book about willy boskett, he was 15 when he was accused and convicted of crimes that eventually led to a dramatic transformation in new york law about how we handle young offenders. and it was the first book i read as an entry point to think about the juvenile justice system and understand how it functions and whereer its roots come from. i will say a few quick words about him. for those who don't know him. he had a 30-year career reporting for the "new york times." he won a pulitzer along the way in those 30 years, and was part ngof the team that published the
pentagon papers. the reason he's here tonight and we are lucky enough to have dan be able to talk with him is that he's produced a new book that has received rave reviews already called in my father's house which i think in many respects is not unlike the book that he wrote about willy boskett. it tells the story of crime and violence and our society's responses to it through the lens of individual and family. one of the things we'll hopefully pour into and i'm interested in this is how in my father's house looks at crime and how it arises in families. at a particular moment when i think as we all in this room know, we are very well aware of
the challenges of our justice system and the massiveness of it, the burdens on individuals and families and the arbitrariness and injustice that we see. that was written at a different time than when he wrote "all god's children." i hope we'll have a chance to hear you reflect on what the contribution of this bikes. welcome. thank you very much for having the guggenheim foundation support this effort, dan, and for you being part of it. i will turn things over to you just so you also. they will engage in conversation until around 7:15 or so. at 7:30 we'll go back to the lounge and there will be an
opportunity to get the book and maybe f he can sign it. >> thank you all for joining us in the room on cspan. i have read the book it's a remarkable effort and it does a masterful job of drawing from a sound basis criminal research. but i think it might be instructive and useful to put a frame around this a little bit. as nick was saying, you have spent many years covering the criminal justice system. as the enterprising and highly astute reporter you are, we didn't have to find you, you
found us. so you have had a longitudinal perspective on what happens. and i know in your years covering the crime beat at the time, you had the opportunity to go around the country and tell us if you would what you saw there and how that may have sparked an interest that led to the creation of this book. >> i want to say thank you to you and the foundation for sponsoring this evening. and nick for hosting this evening. so, yes, the book actually grew out of my early experiences in visiting prisons, something i didn't know anything about until i started research for the book. then i developed it into a beat at the "new york times" covering crime and criminal justice. as i visited prisons in many states and federal prisons
around the country. one thing kept popping up. i was intrigues to see inmates in one cell. it turned out to be a father and his son, incarcerated in the same cell. in some cases it was a mother and daughter locked in the same cell. in some cases i found a grandfather, his son and the grandson. but in the same prison. i would ask prison officials, did these guys commit the same crime together? no, they didn't commit the same crime together. they to both committed multiple crimes. than wasd crime running in their families so they ended up being incarcerated in the prison and they got together. i thought this is really flabbergasting. i started fleegd cripple no i -- i started reading in criminology about it and studies done in the
u.s. and elsewhere. the most of notable were philadelphia and pittsburgh rochester and denver. then south on common in the u.k. we'll talk more about that later. one of the most of important one will be coming out in the next year. but the study in london, the statistics that drove this to me. they had a sample of 411 boys they followed from 1960 right up until 1990. and they found that 5% of the families they were studying were responsible for half of all the crime. and the 10% of the families in
the sample were responsible for 2/3 of all the crime. the astonishing thing was other studies were coming back with similar figures. so you will have to ask yourself what's going on with those percentages because they don't seem natural and normal. >> that was conducted bid david farington in london? >> that largely validated work that had been done in the u.s. by harvard law school. >> yes, they did a study of boys in boston. 500 boys in a control group. in that study -- this was done in 1940. so quite a while ago. they found of the boys sentenced by a judge to a reform tory in
massachusetts, d a reform tory, 1/2 had a father who had been arrested, half had a grandfather who had been arrested and a grandmother who had been arrested. two scholarred who followed this up -- two scholars who followed this up in recent years. they went back and tried to retrace the researchers' footsteps and update the boys from 1960 to 1990. again, the findings came back and were very powerful. >> consistency across time and place. >> very different places and different times. the new study is by rob sampson
at harvard. it's not out yet. but he has a a back cat and he's d he as a sabbatical and he's work on the book. he's finding the same kind of statistics. he has 1,000 kids, boys from chicago who were born in the idearly 1990s. but he not on has data on the boys, but he has them on the father and mother and the grandfather and grandmother-their brothers and sisters, cousins, counts and uncles. he find this criminal relationship going on through other parts of the family. it's a very robust study. >> rebust is one of the favorite word researchers like to use.
you had your eyewitness first-hand experience as you toured prisons around the country. that led you to dig into the criminal underpinnings in this phenomenon. how did you get to finding the bogel family of oregon. the patriarch of the family and linchpin of the story in many ways. how did you get there and why the vogels? >> i was so intrigued by the studies and the statistics. i wanted to find a white family. i wanted to find a full family with mult number of offend -- with multiple number of offenders. i wanted to take the spotlight off people associating blacks
with crime. there was too much emphasis on that. i wanted the family. i began asking around, does anybody know a family like this. and very quickly, a friend in the oregon department of corrections said yes, he did. he said he thought he had a family with six members in prison. he said if you are willing to come out to oregon i can let you interview them with their permission. i went to the "new york times" and told them what the story was. the chance to write about this white family and the "new york times" agreed and i wrote the story with the first few i had behind bars. this is now much more than 10 years ago. what we didn't know then is the real figure was not 6 figures in
prison, it was 60 in four generations of one family. >> that's 60 people, not 60 separate incidents. >> 60 people. and many of them there were multiple arrests and periods of incarceration. >> tell us about brewster. >> the one i comoa -- i chose th was a man known by the family as rooster vogel. his birth certificate doesn't have any name on it. he called himself rooster. but he grew up in amarillo, texas. where his family was at that time. they moved from tennessee and moved across texas and later to
oregon. so rooster had been -- was the youngest member of the family by quite a bit. the 7th child in the family. he had grown up, he loved to hear stories about his father and mother. he loved to hear the story of his older brothers and committed all kinds of crimes all over the country. rooster wanted to be as big and bad w as they were. so would pick sites on the street or at school with other kids. he had home made brass knuckles. he would just hit them in the head, and he usually would knock people out right away. he went on and one interesting crime that the whole family committed together happened in amarillo. the whole family took part in what was at that point the
biggest burglary in the city of amarillo's history. today we don't think much of burglaries, they are small-time crimes but they got $20,000 getting a safe out of the local grocery store. when it came time to divide up the loot. the mother was like dealing a deck of cards. so much for you, so much for you. she divide it among the group of them. >> she kept a cut for herself. >> she did. she was probably the worst in the bunche because she was a bg enabler. >> so rooster grew up in an environment of lawlessness. >> yes, and his mother enabled him to do this. she would reward him and get his money.
but rooster eventually went off. the police solved this burglary and put all the brothers in prison. rooster got five years. they let the mother go because the boys agreed to plead guilty, and one sister in the family the police let off. she furnished the truck that was used as the getaway vehicle. >> from there rooster migrated to oregon with his own children. >> rooster my grade to oregon. after all the boyd had gotten owl they moved to oregon to get away from their reputation. the police were practice an early form of family profiling. they would follow them whatever they want and the family got tired ofm it. they thought they could get away
with it by moving. when they moved to salem they continued to do what they had been doing. >> by this point rooster has children of his own or soon will have. >> he married his sweetheart from amarillo. she was 12 and he was 19. when they got to oregon. they were married. rooster also acquired another girlfriend named linda. the first wife was kathy. so rooster would go off chasing linda, the girlfriend while leaving kathy at home with his first two children. eventually rooster got the idea that ted would invade linda to come live with him and kathy and their children. and bizarrely to us kathy agreed to invite linda into the house because she said that way i will see more of rooster because he
won't be out at night chasing linda. lindaa moved into the house as the second wife of the girlfriend with these children. linda had two children and rooster had 7 with kathy. rooster got paranoid that kathy was sleeping with other men. imagine him thinking that. see hee divorced kathy because e thought she was cheating on him. so the boys would explain to the people at school, they would say this is my mother and this is my other mother. it's not setting a great example. >> talk about how in other ways rooster and the mothers of the children in the household didn't seat great example. >> rooster had some bizarre
habits. he encouraged the boys to fight and he set up a boxing ring outside and had competitions with other families. and he would pay the boys if they won and punish them if they lost. and he would take the family out to commit crimes. they would burg whrarrize their -- burglarize their names' homes and break into their mail boxes and take their social security checks. it was fine as long as they didn't get caught. if they got caught he would take a branch off a tree and hit the boys repeatedly until their backs were covered with blood. >> you said he would psychologically abuse him. he would fire rifles at them and force them to watch him and
women in the household to have sex. >>s he would tell them to stand lock in line and he what go off to their side with his rifle afr he had been drinking and try to shoot the match out of their mouths. then he would say to the boys and say i will stand up with a match in my mouth and you fire the match out of my mouth. >> tony, one of rooster's sons on trial for capital murder in arizona. the attorney who represented him said if you are going to go out and create the perfect criminal, this is how you do it. the vogelld blueprint. you torture them, take away their dignity and compassion for others and then you have the
perfect psychopath. >> having ground yourself in the criminology around these issues, and you saw some of the mistakes that were made by rooster's parents or ones he per pet waited and expanded on with his own children. tell was' going on from -- what's going on from a criminal logical point. >> let me interject one little anecdote. sodo rooster would not only take his kids out and encourage them to steal and commit other crimes. at least once a week he would take the boys fishing. and on their way they had to pass by a big prison which is still there called the oregon state correctional institution in salem. it was covered with mounds of
shiny ray doer wire. he would -- razor wire, and he would point at the prison and say when you grow up, this is where you are going to live. he was not only teaching them to commit crimes. he was talking about their future. future. the older brother gave the story away. tracy said in one of the first interviews i had, he said, what you are raised with you grow to become. there is no escape. if i was raised in a family of doctors, i would be a doctor today. but i was raised in a family of outlaws who mated the law. -- who hated the law.
they all repeated one version other other of this insane notion. strict text book criminology what is called social learning. learning by the example of your parentss or close members of yor family. they were modeling their behavior on their parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles or older brothers. a second school of criminology, basically there was very little supervision in the family and poor discipline. the family did not allow the kids to have connections to anybody else. so they were not allowed to have sleepover wotser kids at their house or go to their friends' houses for the night. there was a lot of the -- a lotf clannishness.
the kids didn't join sports teams. rooster didn't like sports. what was happening is they didn't go to sunday school, they didn't go to church. you couldn't find anything they were ever connected to. that follows under the heading of they didn't have social controls, ties to the rest of the world that could protect them and they could fall back on. they were a walking, talking advertisement. >> we don't have the time to go through each chapter of the vogel family.y. but fast forwarding, you see the sons come the emulate their father's behavior. >> tony was the oldest of rooster's children. he was abused the most of. he was diagnosed at one point sent for a couple years to the
oregon state mental hospital which was the place where if one saw "one through over the cuckoo'sness." and tony was there at the time. they had some of the doctors and patients in the movie. tony wasn't in the movie. bur he assumed he was. he took a sense of glory that the movie won five academy awards. he did commit a murder in tucson, arizona with his then wife. they were ultimately both convicted but tony got life without parole and his wife got five years it was never determined who committed the murder. but the prosecutor said tony was the bad guy so he could get the
long term. a few years later the prosecutor presented false testimony money in another murder conviction case, and the police who presented it are the same police who presented tony's crime. and the prosecutor was the first in american history to be disbarred in a capital murder case. >> but tony's experience was not unique. he was the only one convicted of homicide. >> tracy and bobby committed a crime which was charged as a series of crimes, involved kidnapping, aggravated assault, armed robbery, car theft, and rape.
all in one incidents in one person's house. tracy got 16 years because he just turned 18. he had into previous convictions. his older brother bobby because he had previous convictions got 30 years and he's still behind bars. >> the courts and juvenile justice system and probation and parole agencies all have parts in their steeries and the -- their stories, and the parts they reply are effec effectual. what role have the agencies played in their lives and what
other approaches might be more successful than through the classic adversarial justice system. >> with the benefit of hindsight coming in from the outside. what none of the people you mentioned, the parole officers or probation officers or judges or local police or people running the local jails or state prisons in oregon. none of them had any sense of the whole picture. this is what is lacking. so what one law enforcement would have this piece about them. and the teachers at school knew a little piece. none of this information was ever shared. so i guess i would say when you are dealing with a family like this. you needou to have more information. youu need to ask more questions. one of the interesting things to me to emerge is if there is not
criminal justice system who was keeping track ofhe the family criminal history with a family like this, so we didn't know there were favorites and mothers or aunts and uncles or grand far its and grandmothers who had been convicted and sentenced to prison. they didn't though they had children who were convicted. people didn't have a full sense of the picture. i guess i could try to find some way to break into that and say some part of the criminal justice system for getting that kind of family history. you would have been able to head off some of these kids hopefully from getting in more trouble themselves. the locals got on for generations and there are 6 members. some of these crimes are committed in the 1920s, 40s,
50s and 60s. there are three on escape status. the law enforcement could find them if they wanted to. they don't want to return them to salem. it's not worth their trouble. they would serve their time and they could back out and commit more crimes. what i came across was basically the local law enforcement and state law enforcement officials had given up trying to deal with them. the most of interesting figure of all, the judge who happened to get many of their cases, he told me he had 75 to 100 trials with the vogels. but at the time he passed away which was two years ago, he tried more criminal cases than any judge in the history of the state of oregon.
at his core he had been a strong conservative republican who believed in tough on law and order and lock them up and throw away the key. but after dealing with the vogels, and he said he had five other families whose trials he preside over who had just as many offenders as the vogels. so we are talking about 200-300 people at least. he said he wanted to lock them up and throw away the key. but he said it was wasting the taxpayer's money. he said it wasn't doing any good. so the mother kathy walked away from probation sentence and didn't pay the 8 back the state the money she owed it. but she obviously isn't going to
ever repay it. i'm trying to figure outy where we get better information. >> there is so much more we can talk about. i hope when we turn to questions and answered we'll be able to delve into questions such as race and your decision to focus on a white family. and what happened from the time when you wrote this book to 20 years ago when you wrote our earlier book. but i want to wrap up this part of the conversation. though it's a true page turner, it's often difficult to read because of the bleak lives portrayed tonight and the predestination that these young people's fate has been foretold. but there is no hopeless story. because there is one vogel
family member, spoiler alert, made it by conventional terms. so you can tell us about ashley and what makes her special. >> it took so long to do the research and the writing that in the end last year we had a surprise happy ending. so i close the book with a young woman, one of rooster's granddaughters, ashley, who is 25. she managed to go through high school with straight as. she never got arrested. she went to college. and she is working in a hospital as a computer technician outside of salem. but of course every day when she commutes because she has her own apartment and bought her own car and she has a 3-year-old daughter she is raising as a single mom. every day when she does the commute from home to the hospital she works in she has to
go past the oregon state correctional institution. and inside is one of her first cousins who is exactly the same age who ashley has known since the time she was born. she is the different case here. >> did you reach any conclusions about why she is able to be successful in an unsuccessful environment? >> part of it is ashley is different. ashley is different. she is very, very bright. she liked to learn and wanted to go to school. and as she tells it now. she said to herself, she didn't have to let the family curse be part of her. she felt she could decide on her own whether to stay straight or fall into this dark hole. but she had outside help.
on her mother's side of the marriage, her father was a vogel. but her mother was not a vogel and her mother came from a different family. in fact her mother's father had been a police detective in salem then transferred and became a prison guard. he became head of the prison sat the oregon state correctional institution. he helped raise many of the vogel boys. he didn't want anything to do with them. when his daughter was going to get married to tim, a vogel. he tried to prevent the marriage. he tried to get a court order. he tried to get the police to arrest him and tim was going to get locked.
of admiration? he boasted about his young career and he convinced them that was a great honor and they were not an organized cram - - crime family they were disorganized. >> and there is a question over there? . >> thank you both for the discussion i am a journalist i have been following the story for five years to which do you
think this is specific to oregon? i have been to the building that was the mental hospital now it is the parole board and they believe is in restorative justice which is a concept but then anyone can be rehabilitated. how did that affect how they were treated? . >> overall it sounds like they werend repeatedly convicted. was that because they had rehabilitated them? . >> i don't think a warrant - -
oregon ever believed in rehabilitation. there was no commission along - - no question they committed the crimes. but the first part of the question could this happen elsewhere? new orleans is not unique with that timetable and other places. so it is an overgrown cow town even though it's the state capital it is not a big city. so that is being replicated elsewhere. . >> so asking you a question
with those various agencies police, sports, others and if those interactions are effective or not? what if any of those agencies had full knowledge and shared that knowledge somehow? what would you expect those agencies to do differently? . >> this one is a mind experimen experiment. >> i will answer your question.
eachea of those agents and the state child welfare division and somebody from the hospital where the kid was born and they knew that but then they share thatat information his name was freddie. at fiveid years old he was already repeating kindergarten he assaulted a classmate and he hit her on the head with a brick and fractured her skull so he was violence prone. so it turns out the baby was
born addicted to crack and the father was in prison for murder and not the first murder. then you getl the picture so thee question is the attorney worked out an interesting program that basically he could not force them except therapy that jacksonville had a big air force and navy base and got mentors that were retired military and say to the parents of this kid if you are willing to sign a contract then we can put the charges away for now.
and then we can drop the charges. so in this case the mother agreed to this he would be there in the morning to take freddie to school and make sure he stayed in school and in the afternoon to pick him up and bring him home and he got to bed on time. and after a two-year period he did not commit any more crimes after all this time he finished high school. unfortunately florida had the
program go away so we lost all of that. but just watch the process go on what is so interesting and to replicate that in some way. that's a long way to answer your question. i'm sorry. >>. >> this is extremely important and what strikes me is how ignorant we are with the progress and progression how has this been looked at in terms of family? so it's very difficult to work
out genetics probably multiple g's that are acting but then preparing to do sequencing, i wonder if anybody is looking at this? look at this young woman who has escaped. that she doesn't have that genetiche inheritance. and that they do have a genetic trend. >> thank you very much you asked of a billion-dollar question. there is that skepticism and that pushback as a fear of
being racist especially with such disproportionate numbers of blacks in prison so if you are talking about genetics are you condemning people in prison? essentially it is illegal. i don't know. state to state it's impossible to do any type of genetic research. but now we have a new day and terry moffat who found that teaching criminology it really explained what was going on. so then she happened to get married to an israeli and they
worked in new zealand and they began to do studies in new zealand so she published a number of papers she is looking at her role of genetics so she starts out right away don't look there. that's not possible. there are certain behaviors that are a precursor. no self control. this whole human genome explanation. that is code to stay in school and get an education. but whatat she found those that
had not gone to prison had more of these genes for education. so she published a paper that is out there now. it is opening things up. there is still a lot of skepticism. >> it sounds like the evidence created to that environment that's going on. >> she said it's not nature versus nurture but the family is thehe environment.
if you grow up in a family like them and you see that it and are subjected to that then you learn this it is code for it is a double whammy and more difficult to escape that people raising a famil like that have a hard time going straight afterwards. but that's how people fall into it. >> it's a work in progress. we have to leave it there. join me in thanking him. [applause] on behalf of the guggenheim foundation please join us for books and signing