tv Local Law Enforcement CSPAN December 1, 2014 4:40am-6:01am EST
>> in this proceeds from the premise that we really do not have one criminal justice system. this goes beyond federal concerns. each state has its own system. we have really worked hard to make sure we have people that are actually -- actively involved in law enforcement. chief was pulled off this morning to deal with pending issues.
we have with us, moving from the left to the right geographically otherwise --erhaps [laughter] lurk, the attorney maryland, the former state's attorney in montgomery county, former president of the national association of attorney generals. next to him is jeff. assistant for camara harris of california. jeff oversees criminal law as a special assistant in california. next to jeff is cyrus vance, the district attorney. those of us in manhattan know him well. next to him as anthony, the commissioner of the baltimore
police department. has joined us today. finally, to my immediate left we have david keene who is a founding member. former president of the national association. former chair of the american conservative union and a board member of the constitution project. morning's next events will proceed is as follows. each member of the panel will have a view minutes to discuss issues of key importance to them and then will move through some significant things. attribute personal that is relevant, and that is not the fact that i was the u.s. district attorney or served in law enforcement. i am the grandson of a pentecostal preacher and i have a very good sense of when people start to warm to their text,
which means they could go a little bit longer. i will exercise those instincts as we move forward. each panelist will have a few minutes and then will talk about community engagement. will discuss issues related to return and reentry. will discuss issues of fairness through the operation of the criminal justice system and how many of the panelists have strategies to root out bias and put in systems to ensure that is clearly administered firmly but also fairly. with that, i will start with mr. kean. >> ok. thank you, i like the idea that after he talked about he would have a panel of the first person in called on has no background whatever.
i found the first panel to be a really relevant introduction to this panel because it hit upon the kind of problems that we all face in trying to deal with criminal justice issues in the public sphere. is jim indicated, i am on the -- organization that works on issues of this sort as well as a founding member of right on crime. he put together bright on crime, a number of conservatives were meeting problemy to discuss the of reform. it was our feeling that in the 60's and 70's in particular, the public discussion of criminal justice issues rescued by the fact that you have
misrepresentative strawmen arguing with each other. you had politicians who claimed that since crime was a problem, but had to walk them up, throw the key, and punish the more severely. then there were others who tended to speak for the criminals, and that was the debate that appeared. that was the wrong question. the question i should approach criminal justice issues was stated by our freshmen in the year a panel. he said the system is to provide -- the question is not whether there are too many people in prison or not it enough or rather the laws are to tougher tooling, the real question is what works. got into a conversation about what works, and the mission that that paul discussed this morning became subsidiary to the smaller
mission of constituencies involved. right on crime because we felt it was time for people, regardless of our stance, to start looking at these problems realistically because the system clearly is not working when the united states becomes the premier jailer of the entire world. where one in 100 adults are serving time or have served time in 8 p.m. institution. peanuted time in a lnstitution -- pena, institution. where the mission that the prison and jail system cannot be fulfilled because it is dysfunctional. where people are being locked up for things they need it be locked up for. be locked up for.
today, we lock people up because we're mad at them. what should be receiving prison and jail people we are afraid of. there are obviously people have committed crimes and they are dangerous enough that they need to be kept away from the rest of society. but when you have done is we have a loud our dedication to locking people up for political reasons to overwhelm the political system. -- the prison system. the bird event planned money into prison construction, like they suddenly felt of germs, build it and then come. the ability prisons and prosecutors probe them up. to try to get where person realm -- to try to get
prison reform passed, we have been working with liberals, the way thend systems are working is not working. it works just about as well as the education system, but may be a reallocation of resources is in order. historic constituency still exists. it is amazing to me. this is a great group of prosecutors and internees in the first group, but i hate to think they are representative. in every state, even in dealing with federal reform, the the prosecutor-- --ealed prosecutorial team
they want all of the sentence is so they can force people to not go to trial. as you know, most people do not go to trial. lord knows how many of those people have accepted dealers because of the inadequate defense available to them rulese of the sentencing they could be subjected to. suret involved to make that the question of what works is what does not work, what humane and what is not humane, had to be discussed in terms of that rather than where one stands in the political spectrum or want one can do to advance their career as a prosecutor or politician or whatever. because you quit can see me getting warmed to the subject, and it is dangerous. [laughter] mise,e referred to add
who has been very concerned about over criminalization, where there is thousands of ways you can end up in prison if somebody wants to put you there. i remember our first meeting. hasi said, everything become a federal crime. the poster child for that is carjacking. carjacking is illegal anyway. why does that need to be a separate federal crime? the guy shook his head and said, it made a great press release. that is why so many things are federal crimes the states. they make great press releases. we need to look at everybody from all sides of the spectrum, those from the prosecutor to need to look not at punishing people or freeing people or this or that, but we need to look at what works.
over incarceration does not work. sioner keane, you can pick that up. interesting.ry i think my good friend but i will for allowing me to come into his territory without a visa. i appreciate that. i also think my other good as the onlyeft me official to answer these questions, so i'm going to reach out to both of them. i think the theme that is correct is, what works? i wondered what i can offer to this panel. i have been in policing for close to 35 years. i started in the early 1980's and i saw a lot of different things happen. i always ask, why? the why projects us into
future. when crime increases, and right now we're seeing a decrease of relevant cities who have the united states. when crime increases, much like we had terrorism that to the city, the public does respond. i am going to talk a little bit about that in how it plays together because as we walk forward as a civilized nation and we have these conversations, i am going to get pressure one day when the crime rate goes up and someone is going to say do something about it, do something about it now. if you do not, i will place you. then seminars will step into that position to resolve that issue and when things calm down, civil and have an academic conversation. in the city of baltimore, we continue to focus on -- and it is the third city i am in charge of, i come from the west coast. i was born in washington dc, we
moved to the west coast. i am sure now with you because i grew up in breast los angeles. games started in my neighborhoods. gangs started in the neighborhoods where i grew up. crips and theey bloods. that was my time that i grew up. asked people, and i asked my mother at the age of eight if anybody gave a dmf i lived or died. did anybody care if i survived as a little black kid growing up in south central los angeles. care about my hopes,
my dreams, and my aspirations? i tried to push people toward having academic information come in and focusing on what works. not the flavor of the day. not with the mythology is, and based on best practices in those things that work for release agencies. in baltimore today, we have programs like sea's fire. i had dinner with david kennedy last night and we were talking about cease fire. oversimplified, but we do is focus on groups and gangs, or crews. into a room, we bring them from behind a curtain, and we tell that we know they are. in that room, we have all of our partners and we come with a hammer and a velvet glove
approach. we tell them, we know who you are. he comes in your group violent, and to crush the whole group. but we want you to do is step over to the velvet glove, get out of the life, move on it and have a fruitful environment. that is oversimplifying but sees fire is. -- cease fire is. it is working in different places. baltimore, oakland. we're also focusing on violent repeat offenders. we are not arresting in neighborhoods. about cease fire is it is focusing on the most violent. people who are exasperating violence through problems. focuses onr program
the individual. not the community. not the minority kids out there. those kids we know for a fact are killing others and we're trying to take them out of our communities. we're focusing on groups, gangs, and close. thes as a definition can be bloods, etc.. they come together from neighborhoods to do criminal acts. then you have crews. they are coming together to sell drugs. we're focusing on all of these -- pieces. thatld throw on the table most in the united states have a history of incarceration. we're 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 in 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. 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 -- it was the only 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 empirical data.
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 a 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 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 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 like, but for this purpose i'm
going to leave the hardcharging 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 and 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 realized some of our gyms 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." 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 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 reason da's 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 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 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 we in state government are actually the people who are having to deal with this issue
of over incarceration or over-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 is the 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 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 feeling we need to be more 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
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 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 n maryland and almost half of people who go into jail go back in three years. it is an important discussion that we are having. i am not going to talk about that. i'm what you talk about a solution from the prosecutorial perspective that does work. it takes off from the district attorney and things he said. there are the actions of the state and the federal crimes.
when someone is prosecuted by the federal system, they are in a place where they should be prosecuted and it is harder to figure out what to do with that person because they are further down a line of crimes. we had the opportunity in montgomery county with 35,000 cases. montgomery county maryland has over one million people there. and, i am going to talk about an issue that the district attorney brought up. when you start talking about that, you are talking about keeping gymnasts open. that is part of the solution. it is something that i first
learned about because it is coming from eric holder. we have community prosecution. on.unity prosecution is and it putsken many andecutors in neighborhoods the recognition is that we make prevent crimes and intervene in potential crimes. sometimes, that means putting people in jail for the rest of their lives and, sometimes it means hitting them back on the streets. have one of the police districts in northeast washington.
for two years, everything stayed the same. everything stayed the same except for community prosecutors. the calls for the crimes and the the second-most. i came in montgomery county and it was the first fully implemented prosecution office in the country. i watched it work. at that. we look at all the television and the narcotic section and all these different sections that arbitrarily fight crime.
as opposed to taking the entire office and dividing it by jurisdiction and neighborhood. we have five different police districts. have your germantown, yurok bill, your silver springs. you think about it and you have a ballistics expert or a medical examiner. you want to have them. expertise is takes sex offenses. within those, you have people doing that. is fieldf that community prosecutors. they are in the rockville district and going to meetings. they are hearing from the people
on the streets, instead of some office somewhere. i am a little older. where there were payphones. there was a lot of them. situation athave a a movie theater in bethesda. community andhe removed the phone. it was that simple. we removed the phones and the drug crime went down. prosecution.ue is it works well. the police were reluctant to have us implement it. you are working with the police. the rockville prosecutors are working with the rockville police. new cases and you are working with them on training.
, you time you get a case are working with police officers. quirky. you get to know who the good ones are and who are the ones who need some 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 the sudan, ethiopia, cambodia, we 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. 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
there are prisons, and they in most casesthere are prisons, and they depend upon wardens. the federal system in the state they needthe 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. he goes into treatment and 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]
>> in 2010 when i got elected, i created a program within our office. i looked at dallas, which had one that i know about. they are getting -- they are doing good work. i was not satisfied with just having a real investigative unit . for me, it has to work with training the assistance in support on decisions at the front end of a case. when aaving checklists, case comes into the complaint room there is a checklist the young men and women can go through with their supervisors to make sure we have asked the right questions. you have standard protocols on now. just can't have someone that is a cia and in office because you want one. there are things now that we know cost run for convictions.
we now have protocols in our office to minimize the chance we make a mistake in our judgment. i think that is the right way to go. to end it, above all things, i think prosecutors and perhaps police officers have to understand that with all the powers we have -- and it is enormous, there has to be a humility that goes along with understanding. we have to make sure we have tried to consider all of the facts and to not conclude simply because we believe something finally at the beginning that should not be questioned. kind of attitude, self-awareness and self analysis in all of us in our office is going to make us do better at convictions. >> i think will end with a note of humility and to thank the panel. [applause]
>> coming up next, q and a with james rison, arthur -- author and reporter. in after that, washington journal. >> tonight, final debate for louisiana senate seat. the runoff election is slated for saturday, december 6. here is a look at some of the political ads currently running in that race. 31, bill cassidy gave a speech that was nearly incoherent. as crystal,d clearer. he will cut social security benefits. he will pay for a tax break for
millionaires like yourself. >> or will it be a senate -- a senate thank you! >> before the end of the year, we are going to take whatever lawful actions i can fix us -- that is president barack obama promising amnesty and illegally. >> as your senator, i will fight his amnesty plan. your tax dollars should benefit you, not those here illegally. stand up to obama. i am bill cassidy and i approve that this message. ofevery morning i say part for my kids, i just want them to be happy and do their best. bill cassidy is a doctor, but he still voted for congress to cut schoolsfrom louisiana
to pay for tax breaks for doctors like them selves. i do not know what kind of a doctor will do that to my kids. >> louisiana should never pay for a tax cut for millionaires. words from mary landrieu on obamacare. obama andwith barack 90 7% of the time. >> i am very happy to see the president defend what i think is an extraordinary record. >> if you don't disagree with her -- >> if they don't like it they can unelected hats, because i am up for reelection right now. live coverage tonight for louisiana's senate seat from democratic incumbent mary landrieu and republican challenger bill cassidy. beginning at it :00 p.m. on c-span-two.
>> this week on "q&a," our guest is new york times reporter, pulitzer prize winner, and author james risen, out with his newest book, "pay any price: greed, power, and endless war," which exposes some of our hidden costs on the war on terror since 9/11, both around the world and here at home. james risen is an investigative reporter with the "new york times." he has been pursued by the bush and obama administrations as part of a six-year-old leak investiation related to his previous book,"state of war." the government's case against him is still pending. he has stated he will go to jail rather than cooperate. >> jim risen, author of "pay any price: greed, power and endless war." who was damien corsetti? >> damien corsetti was an army interrogator, an enlisted man, sent to afghanistan to be an
interrogator at the collection point which was the name for the detention center that the u.s. was running at the air force base and later he was an interrogator at abu ghraib for the army in iraq. and i have -- i tell a story in my book about how he came back from iraq and afghanistan after being involved in harsh interrogations with ptsd based on having conducted a lot of interrogations. and it is a story that i think is very important because it shows and he said this to me, virtually everyone he knew from his unit involved in interrogations came home with ptsd from conducting harsh