tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 26, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
they are getting over 100 hours of cognitive and life skills. drug treatment, drug education. ultimately they are getting out of that system. they are getting very cheap east or high school equivalency. once they return from fat what we are hoping to do is to provide the initiative as a pipeline where they walked out of prison with a long-term stable job before they returned back to the community. we are hoping that becomes part of the answer. where every aspect is really engaged in the fight of trying to reduce crime in the city of new orleans. that is one pillar of the work in the office. the second is trying to prevent crime in the very first place.
was born and raised in new orleans. i am the second youngest u.s. attorney fry now in our country and happen to have lost a brother to street violence in new orleans. we are using the student pledge against gun violence where we are going to all 450 schools on one day, october 15 of 28. we're simply asking the young people to pledge not to bring a gun to school. weaponomise not to use a and promised to use the influence with family and friends to ensure those individuals to not use a weapon to resolve a fight or dispute. since 1996.around over 10 million have used this
and taken the pledge. i think ultimately on that day send a veryd -- powerful message that our young people are taking a stand against violence in the community and schools. the second piece of the work in terms of prevention and intervention really is and how shoot. have a prevention strategy built off of professor kennedys work. it is a fantastic initiative. it has been implemented in various cities across the country. we have analyst that have been financed through the work. what we're trying to do is identify how people are connected. he was involved in some of the narcotics trafficking and use of violence trafficking organizations. -- what thelyst
analyst has also done is taking research from an analyst to focus on social networks in terms of identifying which individuals are most likely to die from gun violence. we have applied the research to the streets of new orleans. we have the ability, the data that shows these individuals are at a greater risk of losing their life to gun violence. by high risk, i mean and nearly 60% greater chance of buying from gun violence than the average new orleans resident. that is frightening. i would daresay we would simply wait until the young people simply showed up in a coroner's report or police report. said, that is not enough
for me so it is not enough for my office. we're doing is focusing on 14-6-year-olds. very few who have criminal history but are connected to individuals who have been engaged in violence in our streets. connected to individuals who have artie lost their lives on the streets of new orleans and we are trying to engage them and forent the same result them. we're asking face phase-based and other organizations to adopt one individual use off of the list. one institution adopting one youth, we are asking that institution to provide three mentors from their membership or congregation to ensure daily contacts with the person.
we have an overwhelming number that are african american males and a significant number of african-american women and have several caucasian males in this group of 14-16-year-olds. we're asking those congregations and memberships to provide three mentors. we're providing a mentor curriculum through some are ready standing programs that exist in the new orleans area. we are also asking the membership or congregation to in the the young person family and wrapped her arm around the group and help provide additional resources the family may need. housing, food, transportation -- which we all know are significant concerns or many of these young people. -- for many of these young people. these are the individuals that will show up on the front page
of the newspaper unless we take urgent action in intervening in their lives here yet that is what we're trying to do through the program. >> thank you. [applause] heard is a long way away from the model of the prosecutor sitting at the desk waiting for an agent to bring the mckay style. the story is amazing but not unique. there is a new generation of united states attorneys committed to expanding the roles in the 21st century the on a historical perspective. i will turn to paul next. we had some prep calls for this. i was able to get everybody but paul on a protocol that lasted about 10 minutes. i have paul on his own call that lasted half an hour.
i have no idea what he will talk about. i know paul has a great reentry program called three new that is mentioned in the report. i know one of the things that is there is great work being done but isn't funded? will the funding be there to support the work that barry is doing in our reaching to local law enforcement to support the additional u.s. attorneys needed in north dakota to make sure we have the community prosecution strategy on the american indian reservations? you have been in the department longer than some of the rest of us. i would merely suggests that perhaps that may be a topic. >> let me make an observation
before i start. what makes ken's description of what he is doing in new orleans , he is doing it with bubblegum and start. it was no money, right? i would like to believe if we save a lot of money on the back end of the prison population, that some of it would be funneled back for us to be able to do that. he took existing resources. >> in fact, yes loss resources as a result of sequestration and doing more with less. like there is no office in the country up to full strength and one that has the budget it had 10 years ago. what we have all had to do is to say, we will take an assistant assistantney or to attorneys that would otherwise
that shouldng cases be made federal cases out of. this is not the typical case we do. it, these ared .ot the federal cases it is the ponzi scheme. it is the people feeling 100 million dollar identity. those are the cases in federal court. prosecutors's off the line to handle these incredibly powerful world -- worthwhile projects, something else is not happening. that is a resource choice. i will talk about my reentry court. one thing this attorney general has done, and it is important to , the firstolder attorney general to of been a united states attorney and have
been in the field and the link cases. i do not mean other people's experiences not value -- valuable. having been out in the field and in the u.s. attorney in a place like d.c. where there is no district attorney, the attorney general had a vision in his head and his experience of what we should do and how we should behave. this was a big difference in the way the apartment has thought about the mission. the mission is to protect the public, increase public safety. we're supposed to do it fairly and with appropriate procedures and making sure the system treats people the way they should be treated. once you get past those core concepts, the way we do the priority choosing is very different. i do not have indian reservations in new jersey. i do not have counties as 8000
people in them. i have the city of new work with the highest carjacking rate in the world. 400 carjackings last year in a sea of 300,000 people. i have camden which had the highest rate per capita in the western hemisphere. have the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. we have a huge fiber network in new jersey. we have a reputation for political corruption in new jersey. sometimes they would claim and would get -- the problems that we have to deal with in each of the 94 districts are very different, even though we all have the same job title. what the attorney general has been very good about is telling we should not only be
community problem solvers that thate people who decide things in the district overall we have a lot of discretion and freedom. the second thing this attorney and if the attorney general said i wanted you to think about this differently and think about it in the way that texas was talking about it with kansas common sense which is what is the right outcome in a case like this? case, what doat a you think as a prosecutor? what is the fair and just result? talk about why that works a lot of the time and why it does not work. i will want to answer the
question. >> before i even start. brief.ll be first, we have done a lot of outreach. it is not complicated. they can do as much as they want. they can talk about internet safety. out and spend a lot of time talking to people in the arab and muslim communities about the civil rights concerns in the way we can address those. ,hatever it is they want to do as long as it is related to the mission of the office, that is great. have hired an outreach coordinator and that is all we have got to make it happen. the second is we have started a reentry court.
that basically focuses on high risk returning federal prisoners to new jersey. the high risk ones are the ones most likely to come back. low risk to not meet the same kind of attention. we invite them to the program and tell them if they come into the program run by a fabulous that we will give them intensive supervision and will be a quart every two weeks to meet with the judge personally, that we will pay attention to how they are doing and what they are doing and always asked the question, what do you need? the goal is to take the people who have paid their dues, went to crimes for -- that were serious for which they should have gone to prison but are now out. inspiredabulous program.
they are doing a huge amount of reentry work. they are inspired to watch these guys get up and thank the judge. and thee judge prosecutors from my office and public defenders for helping them get their lives back on track. each of them got up and spoke. one guy who is a double i've looked at two on the side of his neck. you know what his life was like before that. he said and turned to a woman -- was a federal per defender and said you changed my life more than anyone else because that some of talk in the dark you offered me a ride home and that showed you trusted me to be in your car. it was a chilling moment.
it was a chilling moment for everyone to realize what it meant and what it could have been if it had not been he decided to change his life. that is the kind of stuff we are working on. how we is to think about will fund them as you talk about these issues. it is not cheap. it is cheaper than jail but if we save money on the backend are we going to say that? >> with all respect, we save the ball -- the best for last. i alias bristle when they refer to us as the field. said, there is a lot of wisdom within the department of justice. there is a tremendous amount of power to pull the levers and
move initiatives like this into the field. give us perspective from the justice, what is it that goes on in washington that canceled port in this part of the effort? >> it is a real honor to be here. i want to be clear for a moment, in a room like this, these decisions seem extraordinarily obvious, which is that of course we need to identify and reduce mass incarceration and has been of the attorney general that is making progress and moving them forward. but you have to take a step back. by ken, i grew up a few decades before him. i grew up in new york city.
at a time when crime was at its highest. when people in the city were credibly -- were incredibly aggressive and people wanted those who are in jail should be in jail for a long amount of time. as the crime rate goes up in the united states, very quickly i believe people will say we need sentences higher and people need to be incarcerated. during the crash course in manhattan and the like we saw an enormous push for that with and the rockefeller federal sentencing reflected that. next couple for the of decades, you saw in an the federalrity in government between the way you are prosecuting those who were incarcerated for selling crack
cocaine and those who were incarcerated for selling -- [inaudible] it first came into effect, people thought crack was different. the result became more and more evident, which is young african-american males were going to jail because they selling crack. some with powder and some with crack. phenomenon horrific in this country of african-american men going to jail far longer than the other men or typically men. that became more and more obvious. frankly, what you needed was leadership.
there was a recognition this needed to be changed. was fortunate that this attorney general and this said they were going to change it. so i had the privilege in two thousand nine tacoma for the congress and argue for the first time in history the administration think you have to have a change. ultimately the law was changed not one to one but the disparity was to increase did not agree -- was decreased dramatically. i testified there was an extraordinary scene of mainly upican-american women lining wanting to hug me and congratulate me but frankly i did nothing. it was the attorney general and the president. that is the kind of leadership encourage you have to have.
frankly, the man who testify next to me is one of the great judges in d.c., an african-american judge who had been the deputy star for narcotics back when the law was created. he was the one who said at the time he thought it was great but it and some di changes needed to be made. i was lucky enough to be in washington to do it. the next thing the attorney general did is he created the attorney general sentencing correction working group. essentially what the attorney general was saying to the men ,nd women to my left and right let's rethink some of our substance here. how we will deal with the death
penalty, incarceration. frankly, i think that is very successful. some of the programs you're hearing today are a result of is givingey general the guidance. then the attorney general in washington decided to change what had been a fundamental precept for many years. you are in north dakota or georgia or anyone else, we are told that each time you had to judge the most serious provable offense. the challenge is going to be it is because of individual assessments people will now say you are too much of the disparity. that people who essentially have committed the same crimes in
essentially the same situation with essentially the same backgrounds, are they getting the same sentence? enormousgoing to be an pressure again to take away that discretion. it is a cycle and we have to guard against the cycle. makeast point i want to which is absolutely essential. in the criminal division what i thought our role was an proud of it was to support the u.s. attorneys. used to say how can we help? which to go after gangs, was an enormous initiative. so that they did not take the 14
euros and forced him to be a gang member for life. the other thing was that the budget was going down. the only part that goes up is the bureau of prisons. because the population increases. the challenge is to be smart and have the reentry challenges and do what the american people do not support. use all really what the elected officials did. deal. level they want to someone let out in the reentry program that committed some horrific crime, there will be enormous pressure, so we need to create this for everyone. this filly showed a lot of leadership. i think you have heard the
results from people. >> we want to open it up to questions. folks with microphones and audience. question over here. we will start with the judge. start with the federal judge. >> are you going to practice in his court? >> you never know. >> something that is incredibly inspiring. what i wanted to ask you, how are giving toou the institutionalization of the practices and programs? so often receive these types of programs are led by people like you, very smart and charismatic. but then the u.s. attorney comes or next administration comes, attorney general and some of the
programs or the perspective that they are important get washed away. because then having people specifically designated to do those types of things become important. i wonder as you are sitting there and some of you who have done this in the past i do not think focused on that. when i was attorney general in connecticut we did a lot of what you're talking about. some published i was a smart as you are to do some of the things you are doing but never thought about institutionalizing it in a way that's another smart, good and caring person does not take it away because from their that is no longer as important and need to focus more on incarceration for longer ratess of times because are going up.
>> i just want to say that the word institutionalization for the programs is not one we have started talking about in the community in the past six months. new leadership of the attorney general, -- advisory was the attorney dayral that was there from one. he played his role. answer fromng to the judges question. colleagues talk about what they're doing in the district of the attorney general was mindful of it. was you work with the u.s. sentencing commission, and we did do that and also, are able to work with the attorney general in dealing with the u.s.
attorney. an example of institutionalization, we don't early on with the notion and sentencing guidelines in the sentencing division, even in nonviolent person who had an in ation could not be diversion. we changed that. was working with the sentencing commission so that they changed the guidelines and commission recommendations. in the united states attorney general exchange that as well. obviously someone can change it again but obviously that is a much bigger effort and would be a small example of one thing. >> anyone else want to talk about how it varies? taking aalked about prosecutor away from being the prosecutor and put them on a noted task such as out reach. sure you give
responsibility for the task and as simple as it sounds, give it a title and individual the responsibility to be the point person. what you put out there is the flavor of the month. we have to in terms of diversion. but diversion for nader is a prosecutor. you are doing more with less. there is the person. it is just not someone out there but has the responsibility. andone can always come in change it but once you give someone the responsibility, folks are a little reluctant to give up responsibility. >> i will just say in the narrow arrow -- area where i spent a lot of my time which is public
safety on the reservation, the attorney general said if you are responsible for reservations, you will have an operational plan for reducing violence and interacting with the communities. that is the official plan of the office. their re required because work performance plans requires them to hold meetings, requires to visit those reservations. now, the next person to come in and say i don't care about that. i'm going to reach into the machinery of the department. i'm going to change it. but that is hard. so those steps are being taken. we like to think we are institutionalizing it, but you raise a great point. go ahead. >> i appreciate judge robinson, one of my colleagues. paul mentioned outreach. mentioned community by an.
i don't think you're ever going to be able to institutionalize any of these programs unless that paul he outrage is doing, where you get the community by in that lanny talked about. that is more than to simply putting in good programs. that is getting out into the community's. the community by instantly to political by ins. it took years to get congress to recognize the disparity in the crack cocaine, and it was because of the constant community effort of victims and their families to get that to happen. so i think that lanny is absolutely right, the tables were turned. unless you get the community behind your right now, you will not be able to stop the wheels and turn it back. >> hello, i am from the sentencing project. thank you so much for all of your remarks today. our policy has been the that you have faced
because of mandatory sentencing laws. one of the bills that is out the smarter sentencing act, and the attorney general has supported this act. you could talk f those of you -- if there is any help to support this piece of legislation. could talk you about -- we say what is the matter with kansas, but what is with the us attorneys. that e have an association comes to represent a large proportion of these attorneys and upholds them, saying that do not support this legislation. i'm wondering if you can talk about this, as well. i will take it. there is no question that we we have 5000 prosecutors in the field. some were hired last week, some were hired 30 years ago.
they have different responsibilities, different views from across the country. there are some number of people in the department, some of them who are my friends, who think sentencing minimums are great, and some who think they are terrible. and there is a union that a number of people -- and they have a view that this is not the right direction to be going. we are constrained, as us attorneys, and our ability -- questions from any politician or representative you think about this, what your policy stuff is, talking about our region sort of stuff at -- but we cannot affirmatively lobby. but i think people know that there are lots of us attorneys who have spoken publicly.
and formally what our views are on this thing. but i do want to make a point. even if we don't feel sense, if d in that the goal is to reduce federal prison population, you can really only do one of two things. can prosecute fewer people one seems to suggest because it is not like we're prosecute an enormous number of people to begin with. and we prosecute the most serious criminals. an order saying you should prosecute few of those people. so should people go to jail for less time? that people thing talk about that are interested in particular cases. if at the end of the day, you prosecute -- if you ask for lower sentences and you that iate plea bargains are less severe, people will plead guilty sooner and the prosecutors will be freed up to prosecute more cases, right? so the end result of this will be fairness and -- and
treatment of people in a way we think is fair. it is not necessarily going to result in a lower prison population. >> we will go over here next. >> thank you. i am kate clark, chief of defender services in the administration offices in the us courts. i wanted to thank your vision and your leadership. one of the institutional issues we need to face that the i hope, is federal defenders hand over 65,000 total hours -- we lost close to 5000 staff we're down below 3000. the point being that a lot of our federal defenders are do these ey cannot other things, such as reentry
courts, because their time intensive and we are under a work measurement study. so i was wondering if there is think that all of you about the system and the institutions and collaborating together with the federal we can bring that life -- for further life -- to all of its extra programs that you discussed. very broad level -- and i'm sure the folks on the panel you more specifics -- but, again, because the of the attorney general's commitments, -- as i ork with request and his speaking in supporting federal defenders. i suspect that most of my federal es to deal with defenders know that in d.c., both formally and informally, i have done it. and i think i'm a little less
constrained, but surely -- for this to work, the federal government has to increase these resources, as well. i think most people recognize that. has the department itself not succeeded -- has not succeeded in getting additional resources. are hearing right now that it is a very big challenge on both sides. frankly, both of them have to increase. and i think that has to be done elected members of congress and the community recognizing that both part have to increase. >> did you have a comment? we have a microphone right here. >> thank you. one of the challenges -- joe at columbia study
university -- he pointed to the fact that in the federal prison system, approximately 70% of those persons behind bars are clinically addicted. yet only 11% receive treatment. has a r. attorney fishman tremendous program, but one of the frustrating aspects of what a do stateside -- also county jails -- as we provide addiction treatment that is on a continuum to housing and iop. seems like the bureau -- on the prison side -- is incapable because they were grapple with the same budgetary constrictions that we all grapple with. it is almost as if the prison is without a voice in so many areas. in terms of treatments, as opposed to
imposing time in prisons the ideal uld be place -- it is frustrating that -- that we haven't seen the change. frankly, if this administration do it, god knows who will. any response? i would say this. and just to expand this, the use i do nothing at opportunity to address a big-city audience like this, right? >> other this many people here? city looks like the whole of fargo, right? i will say this, because what we see in north dakota is folks coming out of prison. your point is taken while more se we need to do throughout the process. but in rural america,
isolated rural just ca -- but not in reservation america -- but in rural america, the access to treatment services are so much worse than they are in urban areas. this is a divide in our country urban and rural -- because we still have dangerous folks coming out of federal prisons that are moving back to small-town america. the challenge ce in finding treatment. that is enough on the soapbox for today, but it is an about ant aspect we talk treatment to recognize that the communities these people are these ing to -- are resources even available? barry? >> as i like to say, you have all been to kansas, but you are at 35,000 feet. one of the challenges that --
rural olks have in america is -- as the governor i feel nd quite frankly friends in law put rcement -- they are now situation when s that person is standing on a street corner ranting and is he a safety issue? that is because the safety net certainly in my state -- does not exist like it even did five years ago. so it is a real challenge, not folks with addiction issues, but folks -- for one going to go more question, then we will have to break. your questions have been great, and we appreciate your involvement. last question. >> good morning. >> good morning.
retired judge from 10 ., and for the last years, i have headed a national organization called the african-american drug policy organization. it has been my experience -- out to the communities -- that many of our coerced ack males are to join gangs. when they come to court, they tell me that they do not want to get involved in drugs, but they were forced into it. under the citizen law, they are coerced to give testimony. of the judges take into background on that of individualized citizens. of our black youngsters
initially got involved in drugs to coercion and gang activity. deal with that sense? with the d work mentoring approach. try to question that we save money -- in reference to bureau prison problem -- sometimes it is promoting rehabilitation and promoting public safety. many people who come out of the present become social workers, without realizing that they converted. and they become the most substantial contributors. we need to get that message out there. >> okay, thank you. we are going to wrap up. a big hook ey have somewhere that they will eventually pulled out with. i want to thank my great colleagues on the panel. it is always a --
[applause] it has been a pleasure. thank you. >> everyone, you have 10 minutes until we reconvene for the next panel. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> the conference continues with the recent report from the brennan center for justice at new york university law school, looking into law enforcement priorities and introducing incarcerations.
law enforcement officials from around the country, and a president of the nra, talk about the findings and state solutions to reduce the number of inmates. >> this next panel proceeds from the premise that we really one criminal justice system, and response to the of overuse of go beyond ion, which federal concerns, but that each state has its own system. and subsidiary systems within each state. what we're going to talk about her responses at the state of the over level incarceration problems, and to do with violence within the communities. is panel that we have missing one member -- lanier.
we have worked hard to make sure that we have people who engaged in law enforcement, and chief lanier off to deal pulled with pending issues in d.c.. we have with us, moving -- m the left to the right and raphically, that is -- otherwise -- doug gensler. he is the former president of national association of attorney general's. to him is jeff tsai, who the special attorney general of california. oversees criminal law policy in california. jeff is cyrus vance, the district attorney --
all of us from manhattan know him well. next, we have anthony batts, the commissioner of the baltimore police department. he has joined us today. and finally, to my immediate left, we have david keene, who is a founding member of the right on crime. he is the former president of the national rifle association, the american of conservative union, and a board member of the constitution project. the way this morning's next events will proceed is as follows. members of the panel wwill have a few minutes to discuss key issues of importance to them, then we will move through some significant things. when i say a few minutes, i attribute ersonal
that is relevant -- it is not assistant us i'm attorney -- i am the grandson of a pentecostal preacher. and i have a very good sense of when people start to warm to the text, which means that they longer o a little bit than any to. so i will exercise those instincts as we move forward. but each panelist will have a then we'll to talk, talk about community engagement. discuss issues related to return and reentry. discuss issues of fairness throughout the justice system and how many of the panelists have to root out ategies bias and put in system to justice is clearly administrated, and also fairly. with that, i will start with mr. keene.
>> okay. thank you. idea that will have people with some background in law enforcement, the first person he calls and has none at all. i find the first panel to be a really relevant introduction to this panel because it -- it hit that the kinds of problems we all face in trying to deal with criminal justice issues in the public sphere. as jim indicated, i'm on the board of the constitution which is a bipartisan organization that works on issues of this sort, as well as a founding member of right on crime. even before we put together that organization, we're meeting for several years to discuss the problems that we have in the criminal justice system.
it was our feeling, that in the and 70s in particular, the discussion of criminal justice issues were skewed by the fact if you had misrepresented strongmen arguing against each other. had others who -- who tended to speak only for the criminals. the debate that appeared, and that is the wrong question. approach ion as you criminal justice issues was dated as well as anyone has by in the earlier panel, in which he said that the mission of us attorneys, mission of the system, was to provide for a safe, civil society. the question is not whether there are too many people in prison, or not enough people in whether the laws are too harsh or to lean, the question is what works.
we got into a situation, certainly rhetorically and politically, of the question of what works. paul discussed t this morning became subsidiary to the smaller missions oof the various groups and politicians and constituencies involved. formed right on crime because without it was time for of their egardless political orientation or at nds, to start looking these problems realistically system is, clearly, not working when the united becomes the premier jailer of the entire world. where there are more people in in ry prison in every state this country today, suffering from severe mental illnesses, then all of the treatment facilities in those states.
missions cannot be ffulfilled, because they are deficient. with the , who is prison fellowship and former president of the prison fellowship -- when he was liked to talk about the fact that today, we lock people up because we are mad at them. when we should be reserving prison space and jill people we are afraid of. there are, obviously, people who have committed crimes and to our dangerous enough that to be kept away from the rest of society. have done is we have allowed our dedication to for ing people up -- political reasons -- to overwhelm the prison system. the 1994 crime bill unlocked the gates and poured federal money into prison construction. as was said in the field of
and they will ng, come -- build it and they will come. prison ng to get real reform through -- we have done most of our work at the state level, as i'm sure doug knows had great success with democrats, republicans, conservatives, liberals, and governors who are concerned about two things. one, the way their systems are working and networking. and the cost of the system. in many states, the cost is greater than the cost of their education system. to say that -- that historic constituencies still exist. it is incredible to me. this is a great group of us attorneys that you have and in the first panel, but a hesitant to think that in ir representative because every state -- even in dealing
-- the deral reform prosecutorial community is one of the greatest resistances to doing anything. for a variety of reasons. first, because they believe in their mission. secondly, because they're trying to force people to a system that doesn't work. they want all the sentences so they can force people nothing but a trial. and lord knows how many of those people have accepted because of the consequences or the inadequate defense available to them of the sentencing rules that we have, or they can be subjected to. so we got involved because we wanted to make sure that the and what of what works doesn't work, and what is humane and is in two main, had be discussed -- isn't in ane, had to be discussed terms of that, rather than where one stands on the political spectrum or what one her do to advance his or career as a prosecutor,
politician, whatever. you can see me getting one to the subject and it is dangerous. referred to ed meese, who has been very concerned in ut over criminalization the federal system -- i remember our first meeting. there's a former congressman there. and i said, you know, everything has become a federal crime. to say the poster child for that is carjacking. carjacking is a legal, anyway. why did that need to be a separate federal crime? his the poor guy lowered head and shook it, and he said that made a great centerpiece. so we need to look -- everybody, from all sides of the spectrum. those involved in law
enforcement, the prosecutorial community, aand those interested in the community, nneed to look at not punishing people or free people or this or that. they need to look at what works. the fact is over incarceration does not work. >> thank you. >> commissioner -- this is what a battlefield promotion -- if you could pick up the theme of what works in the field. have to thank brad, my good friend. i'm going to reach out to both of them. theme uickly, i think the is extremely correct in terms of what works. when i was thinking about coming onto this panel, i was what i could t offer.
i have been doing this job and pleasing for close to 35 years. i started in the early 1980's and it's a lot of different things happen. i always asked the question, why. and that why projected us into the future. right now, we're seeing a decrease overall in cities throughout the united states. like crime increases, much we had terrorism that took place in this great, wonderful city, the public says respond. bit going to talk a little about that because as we walked forward as a civilized nation and we have these going to get , i'm pressured one day when the crime rate goes up and someone says do something about it. do something about it now. if you do not, i will replace you. and someone will step into that position. down, we things calm become civil and we have deep-rooted, intelligent, academic conversations. in the city of baltimore, we
i am nued focus on -- and pushing -- i have been in baltimore for two years. i come from the west coast. i was born in d.c., but my family moved to the west coast at an early age. the only reason i'm sharing that with you is because i grew up in south central los angeles. a very poor kid. i came from a neighborhood where traditional game started -- gangs started. they started in the neighborhoods where i grew up. i share with people to see if they can connect with me. share with the community that for dinner, we often ate fried bologna sandwiches. did anybody in this room eat fried bologna sandwiches? all right. i asked my ple, and mother, did anybody give a damn whether i lived or died?
we know who you are. if anyone in this gang group becomes violent, we are going to crush the entire group. but what we really want you to do is to step over to the velvet glove side where we have wraparound services and we can get her out of the light and help you to move on and have a fruitful environment. that is an overseas and provide of what cease-fire is. and it has worked in other locations from new orleans to chicago and from camden to and we brought it to baltimore and oakland also. we also focusing on violent repeat offenders. we are not focusing on nasa conservation. -- math incarceration.
the good thing about the folks -- oure doing this violent repeat offender program focuses on the individual. not the minority kids out there, but those who are killing other human beings and trying to take kids out of our communities. we also focus on groups and canes -- gangs and crews. you have groups that come together from neighborhoods that come together to do criminal acts, and then you have crews. those could be drug crews who to sellng together drugs as a whole. and not on these -- we focus on the pieces.
however baltimore has had a history of mass incarceration and i withdrawn the table that probably most police departments in the united states have histories, recent histories of mass incarceration and i'm going to that next. we are also focusing on legitimacy which is how i describe it for city is that we jump up and down by the fact that we have had some the lowest will will homicide rates in the history of the city and recent times, 197 what because baltimore used to be closer to 400.
in a it is a significant drop and i applaud and that was before i walked in. not that i had an impact on that but i just say that. i applaud that i applaud the way of a down to 197 but if that community is no better than what it was before the 197 what do you have to cheer about? if you still have the poverty levels, if you still have the same vacant homes, if you still have the same impact that 18-year-old kid their life is no better than what it was before the 197 what do you have to celebrate when you pat yourself on the back? we are shifting and what we are doing and what i want to move our team from is away from enforcement because people tell would you me tony stay in your lane. your job is doing policing which is enforcement. i'm trying to teach the city and not only the city but also my police officers that her job is to prevent harm and harm comes in a lot of different forms. it's not just enforcement because if you focus on just enforcement your only told to address the problem is arresting people, mass incarceration. when you are looking at addressing an issue by prevention of harm you are dealing with a lot of different things and it crosses the line so you don't stay in your lane. you cross a line of economic development, you cross a line of poverty. you have a responsibility because many of these areas you are the only kind of government that these residents ever get to see. we also address re-entry and we inwe also address re-entry and we have a re-entry program. we are also internal but the
police police department addressing behavioral issues with their police officers. then i want to jump back and i ok want to finish because i get that body language so i want to be very short. you [laughter] are you so we have all these and progressive issues that we are taking on and i have drafted a number of papers out of harvard. the last one deals with double-blind sequential lineups with a project innocence in new york and carol stephens and addressing how politics pushes sometimes and that's just one phase of the paper that we wrote. the politicians -- which pushes prosecutors to push through and we end up arresting the wrong people in 30 years later we find out we are arresting the wrong person. if you have a chance to pull that up is out of harvard. i'm not doing that is marketing but we are trying to answer and push difficult questions. the point i raise with this is when i was a straight police
-- street police officer in the 1980s rock cocaine hit southern california and it hit hard. we had african-american young men dying left and right every single day brutal shootings taking place. people like me killing ourselves off left and right. in the communities that do something about it. we don't want to hear talk and we don't want to hear rhetoric, do something about it. the only thing we knew how to do because there wasn't a lot of theories out there to do community policing with starting the people said this is not a time for community policing. do something about so it so we did. we arrested everyone that we could because we knew a silly thing we could do at the time. there was no empirical data for us to do anything differently. what drives us today whether talking about legitimacy cease-fire hotspot policing and on and on are based on theories coming out of academia. in the 1980s we didn't have the body of knowledge. in the 1980s we did what we could do to solve a problem which led to mass incarceration.
that has crippled communities that i came from. as i close what we are going to do in the future needs to be based on peer for beta. we need to research that is done that we know works and works well that we focus on the right thing to do. [applause] >> there's nothing to control a moderator better than up police commissioner saying i'm watching your body language. [laughter] when i grew up that was a matter of concern. >> thanks, jim. good morning, everyone and good morning, panel members. it's a pleasure to sit here and to listen to you. this panel is speaking directly to the group that deals with the largest number of people in our criminal justice system.
my office alone handles 100,000 cases a year. not all of those are large financial fraud cases although many are. we handle more criminal cases in a year than the department of justice handles nationwide. when we are talking about where the fourth, fifth and sixth amendment meets the road it's in our state courthouses with the help of our police department and attorneys general. this attorney general has a -- this group, i think, has a unique perspective on how to deal with criminal justice in the broadest sense and how our country is adapting to it. we are going to get back with jim i hope to some more pointed issues about racial bias which i look forward to but let me share in a few minutes i have about how our philosophy and think my
philosophy addresses the question of who goes to jail and how we handle that. first and foremost i think every prosecutor and every law enforcement official has come to understand that a crime prevented is better than one prosecuted. crime prevented is better than arrests made. as the roles of das today have evolved and you become smarter i think our office i look at for example i don't really measure our success and how many convictions we have although obviously i want our office to win its cases. i really look at the role of the d.a. to partner with the police and over the long-term driving crime down. that's how i measure our office of success. in an effort to achieve success as it's no longer just in the courtroom that we are going to be making an impact on driving crime down. increasingly that the tools of the das office in mind in particular enable us to affect crime prevention in ways that i think are absolutely consistent
with crime-fighting. they're really one in the same. so i could talk at length about our enforcement actions whether it's in the white-collar area gangs domestic violence and the for this purpose i'm going to leave the hardcharging persecutor discussion turned to -- prosecutor discussion and turned to strategies who uses the das office and crime prevention. first and foremost i think we realize manhattan and a lot of new york communities has a youth gang and violence issue. part of that is going to be investigating break-in at gangs -- breaking up gangs but i believe and we have come to believe that it's equally important for us to take our resources and our tools as a district attorney's office and invest them in the neighborhoods where we do our job. for example when i started months after starting we realize some of our gyms not in some of the most high crime areas of manhattan were closed on friday and saturday nights because
there was no funding for it. that was the case with the police athletic case in one of our blue ribbon organizations that deals with help tickets. -- deals with "help the kids ."ck u what we did was we simply took money that we got from drug forfeitures and we started to hire world-class trainers in basketball to begin with and a high training operation and build teamwork and leadership among kids to provide boys and girls 12 to 18 years old, five to 9:00 p.m. friday and saturday nights the days our zen group that is most at risk and to provide for them there are office through hoops we hired world-class sports programs. we started with one gym in central harlem and now three weeks later -- three years later we have nine sites in manhattan.
we have service 3800 kids who have signed up for this. my point, my question is why is district attorney doing this kind of work? the reason we do it and i think the recent das do it all over the country in the recent police commissioners do it is because we know this is a crime-fighting strategy. supporting the communities and parents with what they want. they want their kids to be able to be somewhere safe and to do something productive in ways that city government sometimes can afford to do. -- just cannot afford to do. our office is fortunate because we handle a large number of white-collar crimes and give substantial dollars for most cases that we could invest in our communities but that is where we are making our investment and that is how raw our office approaches this. similarly we have one of the few immigrants affairs programs in the country for a das office. our systems and our community communityistants and
affairs people are constantly out and at various communities talking about how immigrants can protect themselves from immigration fraud and colleges in school about how kids can keep themselves from getting in trouble with texting and on the internet, how seniors can protect themselves from being victims of elder abuse. again this is not what makes the headline. the d.a. convicts rapists who goes to jail for 40 years but what it is doing is when we start to work and mass and the five counties amend them start -- the five counties of manhattan start to work together with the police department and working with the police department up and down the coast what we are doing is crime-fighting. we are preventing crimes and a briton i think that's the direction we are going to keep going. the news in new york and closing on this is not that bad although there is always room for improvement. new york has dropped its state prison population from 71,000 to about 55,000 over the past 10 to 15 years. that's still a lot of people in jail and absolutely i think we can do more as prosecutors, as
judges and police officers and being far more intelligent about who we sentenced to jail and then have a responsibility while they are in their to give them opportunities so when they come out they can be successful in their community as they re-enter. it makes no sense to send someone to jail and not provide some pathway for them to succeed when they get out. that 15,000 person drop in population indicates we have been more selective and new york state of the top 10 states by population sites is actually tenth in terms of number of people ascends to school -- to -- number of people it sends to jail out of 100,000. the highest maybe california or texas and in new york 257. so i leave you with this. i think the game is changing and the strategies are becoming more broad and i think that's fantastic. i think it's giving the communities where it needs than
-- what it needs and wants. i think we are doing a lot of things right but quite clearly lay in state government are actually the people who are having to deal with this issue of over incarceration or incarceration my personal opinion. next week, next month we are bringing together 23 prosecutors for major cities in a coalition called prosecutors against gun violence because we want our voice is das to be heard in the debate about what's working to fight gun violence and what's not. what's happening is strategies are being shared office to office and crime prevention and how to make sure the strategies deal with preventing crime are being shared. i think it's making a difference and i look forward to what we can do together over the next couple of years. >> cy, before you move over to just one quick question. the number that you cited that dropped from 71,000 to 51,000 is tremendous and hardening. -- and it is heartening.
it is as surprising or noteworthy to me ithe numbers that michael gave in terms of the nation's ranking in the world in terms of the number of people that are incarcerated. could you talk just a little bit more about what you think are the factors in that decline before we go to jeff? >> this is a decline that started 15 years ago so i believe in that 15-year period new york has been innovative in the area of providing alternatives to incarceration, and creation of drug courts, creation of a number of specialized courts which focus on an offender who is given a to -- who is given a carrot to succeed in a resolution of a case and avoid significant prison. so i think that we are being smarter with our support of people who have been offending. we are smarter with who is going to jail. i think the rockefeller drug law reforms which are overdue in a
-- which were overdue and a good idea provide more discretion to judges and prosecutors and a wide array of charges and decisions. by the way new york state has among the broadest discretion given to judges in sentencing ranges than any state i know. i prosecuted on the west -- a practice on the west coast for a number of years and despite popular belief new york state judges actually compared to other states have a huge range of options to use in many of the cases. all those factors being smarter feeling we need to be smarter be morewe need to judicious about to eating up resources that relate to incarceration, community engagement helping us do our job in terms of community sanctions i think those are some factors. >> thank you. that 15 year trend is important because of the opposite of what's been happening nationwide. jeff.
>> thank you, jim and thank you to the panels here today. it's a real pleasure to be with you all today. the brennan center really is doing some of the country's most amazing work on criminal justice reform issues and it's a testament to the brennan center that they were able to get us out of the bubble that is a state of california to come out and talk today so we are very happy to be here on behalf of attorney general harris. when you talk about issues related to criminal justice reform and problems and solutions in the criminal justice system california in many ways is the alpha and omega of these issues. we have been confronting these problems and these issues for years, actually decades now. they are our solutions we have been implementing that i was going to talk to about today because i think it really symbolizes both where we have been but where we can go and in many ways is emblematic of where the country has been and where it's going.
as i mentioned a moment ago california in many ways is distinctive for many of its -- the great things it produces for the country with its innovation and agriculture. but we lead another distinctive -- but we lead in other distinctive ways as well in criminal justice and issues related to incarceration and that's unfortunately definitely the case. to give you some perspective on what is happening in the country and in california one statistic for us is particularly telling. one in 10 people who are incarcerated, he resides in the state of california. that should tell you something about the scope of the problem on a national level but also as it exists in the countries largest state which is california. we have the second highest prison population and i was listening to cy talk about the
state of new york's prison population which i'm gratified to hear is continuing to get lowered and in the state of california we are doing the same that arched number still hover -- we are doing the same, but our numbers still hover around 116,000. that i will tell you it's just the state prison population as i will talk to you all about in a minute. many of the state prisoners are now shifting to our county jail population. the problem is in one sense good and better shows us what the -- or in that it shows us what the solutions are but also tells us how much more work we have to do. one other dimension to this and the commissioner or cy mentioned this, there also are other issues more than just as it relates to who, how many people we have in our prison system today. again another telling statistic we have in california is in a state of california 6.5% of the population is african-american but 29% of the state's prison population is african-american. there are statistics like that
now and that is just one example but it tells us again what more we have to do. we know from the 1970s leading up to 2006 by way of example a perspective on the problem in california are state prison population skyrocketed about 750% from 20,000 prisoners in the 1970s from 1975 to over 172,000 by 2006 and that is what led us to much of the prison litigation some of which is still ongoing today. that by court order requires a state of california to reduce its prison population and that is what leads us to what the economist has described as probably one of the most significant experiments in criminal justice which is something in california recall -- that we call public safety realignment. many of you here being experts in the field are familiar with it but public safety realignment
is as john peter celia has described as a titanic shift in the criminal justice system. a law called a.d. 109 shifted the primary responsibility for incarceration in the state of california from the state prison system to the local counties. it localized essentially our criminal justice system. by doing so you did a couple of things. one, first and foremost is that had an immediate reduction in our prison population not because it opened the doors to these prisons. -- to release prisoners. in fact public safety realignment did not do that but it change the issue of the source that went into the prison system. in other words it was essentially the law equivalent of the spigot to the faucet for hose. what is was a change to goes into the prison system and how. so whereas you have the vast
majority of crimes are felonies that would lead to imprisonment in our state prison system which led to the overcrowding problem, we now have a system through public safety realignment for the vast majority of crimes specifically what we call the triple non's, the nonserious and nonviolent and nonsexual crimes are now primarily going to be incarcerated and supervised among local counties. this is significant for a lot of reasons first and foremost because their local counties now have to bear the responsibility for what are we going to do with these that we have whereas -- with these new offenders that we have? whereas before these offenders were the problem of the state prison system. there are l.a. counties and stanislaus counties and everything in between. they now have the responsibility of thinking from the d.a. level who are we going to prosecute to the sheriff level the police department level and what are we going to do with these offenders
once they are prosecuted and convicted? i will tell you that issue, that compression that has been caused to the system has forced in many ways counties to rethink how they approach criminal justice in the state. it's produced some good results. we know on a primary level that the numbers have been reduced. we know that now we have probably some of the greatest reductions in terms of input into the state prison system that we have seen since the 1980s. that is a positive step and it shows what we have accomplished through public safety realignment. what is also presented in the state of california is the manner in which we have had to re-approach what we do when it comes to issues related to arrest, prosecutions and more important than that what happens after prosecution and after -- -- after the conviction.
so the last comments i want to talk to you all about is what i think ultimately is the most important issue when we talk about the issue of general mass incarceration. it's not enough just to talk about how do we stop putting people in the system, there are some people who must be prosecuted. there some people who must go to jail. the issue instead is what about preventing people from going to jail in the first place by making sure that if we are talking about people that previously committed crimes that they don't do it again. because in the state of california like unfortunately almost every state in the country there is a significant issue when it comes to recidivism which is the repeat offending by people who have been previously convicted of crimes. in the state of california that percentage is 61% and that is despite the fact that we spend billions and billions of dollars every year in the state of california on incarceration. what many counties have done what the attorney attorney general of california has done is said why do we think about approaching this from the issue of reducing recidivism as a way to ultimately reducing our prison population.
one of the things attorney general harris did was in november of 2013 create something through her office was to create something called the division over cynicism reduction in re-entry. what she did as the chief law enforcement officer of the state of california was to say i want to create a new new office to my department of justice that is going to focus exclusively on assisting counties and how we approach re-entry, how we approach recidivism reduction and what kinds of things we can do to develop and assist and promote those policies across the 58 jurisdictions that implement criminal justice policy every single day. one of the things we are doing right now. >> i'm going to have to pause you there because there are couple of things that doug has prepared to pick up that you are just about to deal with. >> i will stop there.
>> i got into college for playing lacrosse. [laughter] i've been a prosecutor for 22 years. i was assistant united states attorney for six years and basically the district attorney for eight years and attorney general of maryland at the state level for eight years. i applaud the brennan center and nyu for doing this conference and grappling with the issue of re-entry, which i think is the issue of today. in maryland for example almost half the people who go to jail come back into jail within three years. that is kind of the discussion and i think it's an important one that we are having. i'm not going to talk about that however. what i'm going to do about is a solution that my 22 years from a prosecutorial perspective is one of the things that i do
believe does work and it takes off from where the district attorney, the two things that he said. one, all the actions in the state and i am paraphrasing which is the fact of the matter. there are federal crimes and often when somebody is prosecuted by the federal system they are at a place where they should be prosecuted by the federal system. it's harder to figure out what to do with that person because they are much farther down the line of committing crimes. the state level there's a lot more opportunity. we have in montgomery county when i was a state's attorney there and i will talk about specific experience there. we had 35,000 cases. montgomery county, maryland is everything you have heard of other than an office in maryland. i'm going to talk about an issue that the district attorney brought up which is a little bit different but along those same lines which are the gyms. when you start talking about opening gyms, why is the d.a. in manhattan where we have these
real crimes talking about programs keeping gyms open. that is part of a solution called community prosecution which is something that i first learned about interestingly enough because it's coming next from eric holder. we started something called community prosecution. it started in early 1980's in portland from a local d.a. there and has taken many different forms around the country but what it basically does is it bootstraps off of community policing and puts prosecutors in the neighborhoods and the communities and has a recognition that the prosecutor's job is not to get convictions but to make sure we prevent crime and intervene in potential crimes and if the right thing happens in each and sometimes that means putting someone in jail for the rest of their lives and sometimes it means figure out a way to get that person back onto the streets. what we did in d.c. when the attorney general holder was the
u.s. attorney was we took one of the seven police districts at that time called the sixth district which is northeast washington and for a two-year time limit everything else stayed the same and judge you might remember this, everything stayed the same except we would have community prosecutors. that means prosecutors were now assigned to the sixth district. everything else are many constant the sixth district went from the second most called for crimes in the second most violent in the area d.c. to the second least criminally invested areas in terms of calls for service as well as crimes being committed. so i took that and when i became the state attorney in montgomery county and the first fully implemented prosecution in the country wants to work. -- and watched it work. you can study it but the fact of the matter is there's a sea of work and it makes common sense.
as you look at those television shows with das and prosecutors office -- there's a homicide section and narcotic section and all these different sections divided arbitrarily by crime. dividing it by jurisdiction and neighborhoods and so in montgomery county not only do we have five police districts. if you think about it there is a simple assault and a homicide and oftentimes somebody dies and you have a ballistics expert and a medical examiner but you want to make sure you have senior prosecutors in each of those jurisdictions. the one area of prosecution that does take in my view expertise is sex offenses. even within those you have people within each of those districts and those crimes. a piece of that is you have what we call field community prosecutors, prosecutors that
are in the rockville districting going to the meetings at night the civic meetings at community meetings in hearing from the people on the streets instead of being in some office somewhere what actually works and what doesn't work in terms of crime prevention. i'm a little older so i remember we had an issue one time we used to have payphones. remember those? you put a quarter in and you pick it up. >> i remember when there were dimes that you put in. >> exactly. there was the situation in this movie theater in bethesda where there was drug activity taking place. we talked to the community and removed the phone. prosecutors are working with police and the drug crime went down there. another component of community prosecution which i think works very well and the police were reluctant to have this implemented at first was you are working with the same community police.
the rockville prosecutors are working with the rockville police. you are going to do roll calls and teaching many cases that have come out and working with them on training. especially in large areas instead of working with different police every time you get a case on the top of the stack you work with police officers. one of them their story doesn't match but you don't see that officer for a couple of years. impunity prosecution you get to , know who the good ones are who are the ones who do need help. there's a lot of different levels but things like making sure the gyms stay open is one that works. in montgomery county where we have 1 million people we counter homicides in the teens. in the bad years 13, 14, 15 , homicides with a million people. there integrated statues that really have been proven to work. i think that will happen. in new york you can imagine that the prosecutors that are just in
greenwich village or the east side and just in harlem. they work with the businesses and community leaders in the civic associations and the police and you can then identify also who should be in jail and may be who shouldn't and what are some strategies to keep those people in jail. so with that i will subside other than to say when the attorney general, the u.s. attorney holder became the deputy attorney general to the department of justice he convened a prosecution workshop and we have prosecutors from all over the country come and at how people define community prosecution varies but the idea and the concept is the same. that is getting prosecutors out of the courthouse, out of the concept and the notion that their sole responsibility is to convict people went into the -- and into the business of prevention and intervention to reduce the number of people who are in jail. >> this has been a very rich set of opening statements but as i look at the clock we have 20 minutes left. i know we want to have time for questions. i would ask this if we can take
five minutes from lunch. the next series of questions is frankly a little tougher. we have had this morning a series of examples of good news stories, but one of the issues that we have touched upon but not delved into is the issue of race and enforcement. we have touched on it a little bit in a report today between the commissioner and i about my body language and what i might expect but it's a very tough issue within the city of new york and within law enforcement and the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement nationwide. in the preparation for this i discuss with sligh and discuss with tony strategies that they are engaged in to identify and root out potential bias and law enforcement.
i want to spend a little bit of time discussing that and return to the issue of re-entry. i think there are a host of perspectives on those issues. so i will start with tony and cy and anyone else who would like to jump in on that and move to re-entry. i promise we will save time for questions. >> very quickly -- it is interesting for me moving from the west coast growing up and working in southern california moving to northern california which is like moving to another country and then moving to baltimore which is like moving to another country. all of them deal with the same thing -- race and policing. anytime you have an underclass that doesn't even have to be dealing with race. it could deal with socioeconomic issues. when the deal of an underclass and many times police departments are built to maintain the status quo you have to break through that. that's where you hear from me that trying to shift the organization from enforcement to prevention of harm because you need to be part of that community.
i can tell you you have to build police departments in a different way than when i came on and what i mean by that i will give you good example. i'm in charge of close to 3000 police officers. 2000 out of 3000 are young officers on the streets every single day and they come in contact with different residence and citizens. within those contacts it's not race, african-american and black or white which tends to be her discussion but with the gay and lesbian community. it's with the orthodox jewish community. it's with different ethnicities and immigrant populations that come into our country. unique for law enforcement in america's anytime you have trauma, a place in the world to end up with residents from most locations in our cities. with you have some -- trauma in
cambodia wethiopia, , take people in and when you have of large groups of people that move into a location you have to address that. ferguson that everybody wants to use as a bellwether for policing in the united states, ferguson did not start on the day of that incident. rodney king did not start the day of that incident. that incident started five or 10 years before that. growing up in southern california and watching the riots of rodney king, issues dealing with local grocery stores started 10 years before. issues dealing with police officers being heavy-handed and not connecting with the community started numerous years before. it starts with relationships. the things that i do when i go into the three very tough cities that i have gone into whether it be long beach and oakland and baltimore which are tough cities is starting those relationships. the city that i'm in right now baltimore my minority communities many and i can't talk about them, my minority
communities, there's a visceral hatred for the people who wear the uniform, a visceral hatred. what i have to give my organization to do is to address we have earned that. many times we have gone out to help and make it better we have exacerbated the problem not because we have tried to but because we don't have the tools to address that. what i mean by that is most police officers think they are doing god's work. they're going out and trying to address an issue and the only issue we have is enforcement. when you have drugs and shootings taking place we are going and doing god's work to make it safer for the people at -- that live there and we arrest people. because we don't have a lot of theories to address that so we have to recalibrate and understand we have been part of the problem. in our effort to be part of the solution we have become part of the problem. when we arrest large numbers of young people and incarcerate them, we demoralize the community. so we have to shift their
mindset. we have to shift what we are doing and we have to started -- start it with relationships and understanding we are part of the solution. with that we have to change how we solve the solution. pointing a high-powered weapon at citizens exercising their constitutional rights is off the charts. that's crazy. i mean that's wild. [applause] and i thank you for that but i can tell you of the chiefs of -- most of the chiefs of police and united states think the same way, that is wild. what the heck is going on with that? as we is ferguson is a bellwether most police chief chiefs that i know of in major cities that i work with and their peers think it's so far out of the norm that it's crazy. how i approach protest in my city when there were protesting in ferguson is the point is we are there to help them protest. we are there to help them to do their constitutional rights of saying that this upsets me and this angers me so how can we allow this to happen?
how do we help people to obtain their dreams? what i go back to every time is that 8-year-old boy in that community, how do you help that eighty-year-old little boy attain his dreams and aspirations? how do you allow people to say i'm angry that i don't agree with this and as long as i do that and don't care of the city -- and as long as they do that and they don't terror up a city that's okay. , the race issue goes back to relationships changing the dynamic of what policing is today, changing how we see ourselves as helping to solve the problem. [applause] >> thank you, tony. cy, if you could shift just a little bit. you have just received a study in which it asked for taking a look at prosecutorial decision-making. can you share that a little please?
>> of course. >> and anything else. >> i view this issue as how we approach the issue of prosecution in the communities that we work within as well as in our office. i think it is time for prosecutors and time for our office to be increasingly aggressive on making sure that people are not brought down for arrest and processing simply because they got picked up for a minor offense. this is something that i think we need to work with the police department about but where i'm going with this and i hope the commissioners also is to essentially establish in the precincts criteria for minor offense, young man or women. that case should be if it meets certain criteria should be diverted to community sanctions within the community as opposed to case processing arresting coming downtown.
that way i think we addressed the issue of wrongful behavior but we do it in a way that respects, respects the individuals that are being detained and giving them the best option to turn an unfortunate incident into a net positive. so outside the office i think we are going to be changing what we are doing and i hope to be working with the police department on that. inside the office, as i was running for office i was asked a number of questions what i think about this agency and that agency relating to the issue of race. i felt it was incumbent on me as i commented on other agencies to understand whether we had issues that we needed to address. i commissioned veira shortly after came into office to do a racial bias review of the manhattan das office. they started out in earnest in 2012. they issued a technical report
and a report you could read and understand report about two months ago and ultimately i was pleased with their conclusions. it confirmed what i believe to be so that the lawyers in our office are treating the cases squarely and fairly but the vera report did indicate that there was a racial disparity in certain key case processing elements. one related to bail, one related to amount of time for misdemeanor convictions. there was a significant, statistically significant difference between young african-american men and women and whites and asians and latinos. so what that enabled me to do was to then work within the office to understand what levers are being pulled that result in
statistical differences in how we can address them and we have brought in a consulting firm. we are just starting work within our office to address implicit bias in our decision-making as prosecutors, recognizing that none of us feel like we are biased and yet the statistics may at the end show that the institution has in fact got a statistical difference that at least must be examined and corrected and that's what we are trying to trying to do. so bringing in an outside agency or outside firm to help us deal with this issue of implicit bias in our office. we would not have done it without the study. it is not often that prosecutors invite consultants to pour through their thousands of records to look at the issue of race but i'm glad we did it and we are learning from it and i think it will make our work better as we go forward.
>> thank you for that and this is almost consistent with -- [applause] you know it's almost consistent with black history month being the shortest month of the year. we are given 10 minutes to deal with the issue of race and we could've filled in the entire afternoon to discuss that. we have to move on and i do want to talk about re-entry from the challenge perspective. one of the things that i found both of these sessions heartening because you are hearing about things that work and almost like ok, good, we are done but we have a great distance to travel particularly in the area of re-entry. from a policy perspective because there are still some people who aren't moved on the issue of re-entry and on a practical perspective. david, if you could address the policy issues and then doug the practical aspects of the re-entry problems. >> i would like to make one. this ferguson thing and we don't
know who did what to whom but we do know one thing. my daughter who has served in army, two tours in iraq and one in afghanistan is a siop specialist called me up and said what is going on out there? in iraq, we instructed our troops and we had a situation with a crowd that we took off our helmets and if you pointed an automatic weapon at somebody without cause you would be brought up on charges. in this country we have two things. we have a discussion here about treating people as individuals and evaluating those individuals whether they are black, white, yellow or green or they have all of the different things that go into it and then we have this impetus to turn police forces into occupying armies and give them tanks and machine guns that were passed out by the thousands by the pentagon in most cases for no reason. now the police department saying they need heavier weapons
because lord knows you may want to blow up a house somewhere. [laughter] those are two things that need to be addressed. i had to add that in. i had to do that. do you have any tanks? but i got involved in some of these issues originally because i gave it some thought back in the 80's and 90's because you think about the way things work. we lock everybody up and let's assume for a minute that we lock them up fairly and that they deserve to be sentenced to prison and if they are persecuted they did something -- if they are prosecuted, they did something wrong so we put them into prison. we eliminate a lot of the rehabilitation stuff and we just lock them up and punish them so that persons become graduate -- prisons become graduate schools for criminals. what did they learn while they are and there is how to be a better criminal. they get tough because they have to survive and somebody mentioned that there are different prison systems.
really the breakdown is pat owen told me there is no prison system and they depend upon -- there is no prison system. there are prisons, and they depend upon wardens. the federal system in the state system can be awful. a lot of them make deals like evidently happened at rikers with gangs because the officers and the wardens get judged on the basis of whether they maintain order and not on the basis of whether it's working. and then we let them out after this is over. [applause] and what happeneds? the social net is less than it once was which i think is okay but if you want to prison in the -- if you went to prison in the 1950's you couldn't get a job when you got out as a bank teller but you can get a job doing a lot of other things. technology, insurance companies and social mores have changed so that you can't get a job to dig a ditch in many places if you have got a record. so we let hunters of thousands
-- hundreds of thousands of people off and how are they going to live? they only know one thing and then we are surprised and 60% of them go back within two years because they not just fall back into the life and the friendships that they have but they discover they can't move on. one of the great challenges and we talked a lot about who do you send to prison for what reasons and for how long? and when they get out, they have a better chance to survive then when they got in, and when they get out, they need help, and that is a hard, hard question. some of you may know bob woodson in washington, who is a housing activist, and we were talking about some of the proposals, and they said, wait a minute. you have to be careful. the convicted felon gets off and -- who gets out does not have the opportunities of somebody who went to prison, because that doesn't send the right signal to the community either. but we have to worry about that
because just from the standpoint of a civil society you can't take hundreds of thousands and millions of people, lock them up and tell them there's only one way to survive and then throw them back out on the street and expect the civil society to continue to exist in any kind of realistic way. so a lot of the effort and we talked on the earlier panel there was a lot of talk about money. in the state like texas and mississippi where there have been significant criminal justice reforms measures passed the money is saved. texas has closed three major prisons and reducing prison population significantly probably the poster child in the last six to eight years for this. that money is rechannel them to some of the programs we are talking about. that's an important investment and that is what has happened at mississippi and is happening in georgia and happening in other cases of that money doesn't go
-- so that money doesn't go back to general revenue. andoes into treatment rebuilt rotation. i could go on, but i won't. but i would like to talk about how you can change things. >> that had some practical responses. >> i have nothing practical, doug. [laughter] >> just briefly, on the racial bias issue, there is a lot in there. what we obviously need to do is make sure that we hire people and the police are messieurs as prosecutors, and i just came in the attorney general conference, and we have kamala harris, and three african-american u.s. attorney generals in the history of our country, so we have to make sure we have diversity.
and on the reentry piece, we brought all of the experts together, and it really goes to three different things pre-when you are coming out of jail, you need three things. you need a job opportunity. you need a place to stay, and you need somebody who is going to care about you. we can think of a lot of examples. there are a number of things we can do in a practical sense. reentry systems. one of the things i was ridiculed about, and i bring it up again, because i think it is a great thing, which is we spend32,000 32,000 dollars per year incarcerating people in jail. for $50, you can give an inmate and android, an ipad kind of device where they can actually learn, with the on loan in -- online schooling opportunities. they want to be a cook when they get out. they can learn to be an auto mechanic when they come out. they can get certified they have a skill where they can go to a job.
and then, of course, you have job employers who get tax incentive to make sure they hire someone coming out of jail and give somebody a chance. of course, we do not people -- do not want people using porn and all this stuff. there is no expectation of privacy in jail, but that kind of thing, thinking differently about helping people -- look, this is a captive audience. they have committed a crime. they are in jail. you can work with them in so many different ways to make sure that you do more and get that recidivism rate down to the 20% and the taxpayers are no longer paying 30,000 some odd dollars a year to house these people. it is a win-win for everyone involved, so the notion of talking about reentry and figuring out practical solutions is something we need to continue to dialogue as we go forward.
>> thank you for that. we have time for two really good and short questions. [laughter] [applause] sir? >> i am a prosecutor. and if you look at the issue of wrongful convictions, it is clear that wrongful convictions more likely affect african-americans and other minority groups. so if we are talking about bringing an end to mass incarceration, shouldn't we be talking about bringing an end to wrongful convictions? i think we would like to invite a comment on that. conviction and integrity units. >> just before we get there, before you get to the prosecutor you often get to lineups and things like that and tony has some issues that would address that first piece before we get
to the prosecutor. >> i don't know how i can make this short. i tell stories, unfortunately. i had to find the chief of -- i had a friend in gascoigne who was the chief of police who called me and said, could you be on this list of chiefs who are against the death penalty. and i talked to my girlfriend at the time and said, can you believe he is asking me to be on the panel of police -- chief of police who are on this panel. -- that are against the death penalty? you will not like what am about to say, but i'm pro-death penalty. if you take a life, then i think that should be your life. and i made be in the wrong audience, but that's how i believe. so she said, well, why don't you take a look at how many of these rape or accusatory cases where you have dna were you guys got it wrong. and i went, wow. so when i started to do research and talk to different friends,
one in new york and another chief of police who is now retired he and i had the same , conversation. he says, i am very much into the innocence project. we need to take a look at this. we sat down and started looking at how many people are wrongfully incarcerated. it is coming out because we have the technology with the dna where it is showing how many times we get it wrong. then we stopped and went backwards. we have gotten it wrong. what went wrong went wrong on the front end? many of the times it is the practices, the lack of standardization, you leave it to the discretion of officers where there is no , checks and balances. and we looked at a case here in new york. it is political pressure. when someone says do something. the system responds in some way, and it may not be the right way. when the police officers started locking people up and not doing
it by due process or through checks and balances then it goes to the attorney, no offense, and they get the same pressure and push it through because their thoseause you don't have checks and balances or you go back and audit yourself, to make sure you got it right so , a part of the paper that we drafted tells the police department to have standardized mechanisms and to audit itself. also for the district attorneys and prosecutors, have systems that go back and question whether you have the right person. i just made an arrest in. i am going to shut up. we have 60 seconds. we had a three -year-old little girl who got shot as a result of a drive-by. and that human cry out there came, do something. so i stepped up and said we will do everything we can. we put a lot of pressure and arrested a guy. there was a guy who took a look
at it, and i said, and i put it into my command staff, go back and audit. go back and double check. could it be somebody outside the scope of what we are thinking? sure enough we popped up with another candidate because we took time away from the pressure to go, let's look outside of the way we are thinking, and let's go back and double check our -- check and double check to make sure we got it right. system and if we are going to put someone in jail, we wanted to be the right one. [applauding] >> the body language that matters is nicole's, and she has told us we have one minute. >> from the prosecutor's point of view, we, in our office proudly say that we are one of the best prosecutors offices in the country, but if you are going to say that you have to yourself be a leader in affecting fair prosecution practices, and there is no issue that is more concerning to prosecutors than wrongful convictions and the reality that
we have come to understand that people have gone to jail who are not, in fact, guilty. so for our office in 2010 when i got elected i created a conviction integrity program within our office. i looked at dallas, the only other office out there that had one at the time, and they are doing great work on reinvestigation using dna, but to me, and i think i'm saying this just as tony, i was not satisfied with just having a reinvestigation unit, which we have. to me a conviction integrity unit in the prosecutor's office has to work with training and decisions on the front end of the case on making sure as we do now with checklists. when we have a case, there is a checklist, the young men and women can go through with supervisors to make sure that we -- make sure that before a charging decision is final, we
make sure we have asked the right questions before it goes forward. we have standard protocols on when someone becomes a ci you can't have someone in our office because you want one. there are things that we no now -- things that we know now that cause wrongful convictions that we now train our assistance and have protocols in our office to minimize the chance that we make a mistake in judgment, and i to end it, above all things, i think, i think prosecutors and perhaps police officers have to understand with all the anonymous power there must be a humility that goes along with exercising it and an understanding that we want to make sure that we have tried to consider all the facts and do not conclude simply because we believe something firmly at the beginning that that should not be questioned. i think that that kind of attitude, self-awareness and self analysis and all of us is going to make us to better had conviction integrity.