WWL>Topics>>3-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on pretrial services

3-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on pretrial services

Mar 24, 2014|

Angela discusses pretrial services with Ginny Lee of the Vera Institute, City Councilmember Susan Guidry, developer Pres Kabacoff, and Pastor Antoine Barriere of Faith Family Worship Church International.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

While happy Monday everyone and it isn't happy Monday I hope your weekend was great -- and rest that you enjoy -- some pretty weather. And certainly there was one more prayed. I think now we're finished with a parade at. One more parade. We have three I think very important shows that the first one in particular. It's one we touched on before and it's one we need to touch on frequently because it's. Truly vital I think to the the needed change in our criminal justice system. Were also going to be talking about something very uplifting that the downtown development district is doing. They have put out calls for. Entrepreneur Norris with an artistic bent to. Want to open a business in the downtown. And they are going to do a special contest. And the winner of the contest has to commit to moving downtown. With his his or her business. But the gonna get a lot of help and that's the big and our third. Stay with me because we did this one of the time we were inundated it's all about allergies. And this is the season and we are of the city and if you need any help we're gonna have a doctor in the house. But we begin with. We are all aware that we have lots of problems in Orleans parish jail. We -- under federal consent decree to make major changes for the handling of prisoners and the safety of prisoners. It was recently stated by the city CAC. -- and a nationally known jail expert. The best and fastest way to achieve -- jail is to reduce that inmate population. Because of a program called pretrial services. But prison population has been cut from 3000 inmates to just under 2000. That still three times higher than the national average for cities our size. This isn't our on pretrial services what it is what difference it is making beyond lowering the number of inmates. And what else needs to be done to clean up our prison system. Our guest council members Susan victory who heads up the council's criminal justice committee. Jenny Lee co director of the beer institute. Pastor Antoine. Is Barry Barry Barry and very good Angel. Pastor household of faith family worship international. With three church locations. And 5000 parishioners. He has a board member of the -- project on interfaith grassroots community organization. Which -- spent the last three years fighting mass incarceration. At the state and local level. And real estate developer press can't -- one of New Orleans business leaders -- is part of a coalition called Smart on crime. Trying to change the laws that made Louisiana. The incarceration. Capital of the world. I want to thank each and every one of you for seniors certainly for those that come back. This is a subject that is going to be ongoing and yet the good thing is I think we're getting a little headway here. I'd like to talk in general first. About your thoughts on how we became this incarceration. Capital of the world. Altogether and. I'm well into. Seizing get to -- and it. There was a time. Some time ago when a cross country. There was a wave you know be tough on crime. And incarceration. Rates went up. Measurably during that time period. Louisiana just seems to have take unit to another level and you know by. And being able to. You know win when someone is committed. X number of offenses to multiple bill than men and to increase significantly. The prison time that they serve. That is one of the ways to wind up with people rotting in jail. There are a number of them and under. Sheriff bode. And we get a two or 7000. Inmates. Our cities in this state to -- at 7000 people. Right right right so and clean when this counsel in this mayor Kaman in 2010. We were just at a point where the sheriff was coming to the council for conditional uses aren't the new jail. And we realized that they look he was gonna again built to jail. That can house like 5000 plus inmates and that's when we put the brakes on the mayor. Formed the -- criminal justice working group to talk about jail size. And we've been trying to manage it and push policy. That would result in a more. You know -- jail population that is what should be. You know -- in the days when there were six and 7000. Prisoners. It isn't because our area is more violent or or has more criminals it was we were incarcerating people for. Traffic tickets and those kinds of things. That's correct. And and by doing that we were actually creating. Criminals and mean did the wind -- once you put people. Into the criminal justice system. You have changed their lives. And then you know out of their way I Buick and say it is that. At that point to daily these young people they begin to see. Being in the criminal justice system as a part of the possibility of their future and their lives. And and it's it's critically important that we. Work to keep people. Who shouldn't be in jail out of jail. And I think you've got it right we made. The default strategy for every societal probably have put in jail and it's sort of like the shower analogy you know you go. You go into the shower in the water not -- enough -- yet. Turn up and then you -- -- to hot we we just forgot to turn it down we over. Over incarcerated. Two proportions beyond any place in the world which upset be -- moment when I read it. I guess I was coming from a liberal point of view wrote a letter to the -- with says this. They have -- the grace of god go -- the Dow was not born a poor black boy in the city and incarcerate more people than any place in the world. And then the business community that that it came on board and says this is an example of government run amok. We're not getting a return for investment accounts of person -- -- says. You become more hardened criminal if you go in for a nonviolent crime spend some time in jail. You get educated by real criminals and you come out a potential violent offender. And so we've got to find a way to change the rules of the game in the business communities. All across the state committee 100. Blueprint of Louisiana which is the policy arm of the of the business community our business council the chambers -- -- Commerce from the five parishes in this area. Have all come together with the business council of New Orleans with religious organizations you have members here today from both a humanist. And a pure business point of view were out of whack we've got to change the rules. Angela and things it's very very important to recognize. This massive cost to -- story as the Warren drugstore. And we we started fighting drugs started fighting drugs but that really turned into a war all young Black America. That all levels drug laws. As pressed is say if he was a black. Young man you know it is handled different and our communities and so we really need to see that. The war on drugs was a war against young black Americans. It locks us up. Everyone's. Under the drug uses the same in light in black communities yet. The majority of the drug offenses the majority of people locked up for those offenses. Or young black -- I've had several. Legislators who said you know we know that there is selling drugs in. -- we know that using drugs in -- but it is easy to pick him up is through very. And so it becomes. A situation where. As -- -- community. We wanna take a look and see. That is really causing a problem and we are making better criminals I heard the mayor say. You know this murder rate is yes you know unnatural and I agree but what's happened when you take a whole group of hopeless people. And put him in the same batch. Then. They they they don't have hope so now or Bob bump into you. The answer is an issue that you you where we're we're where we don't see any hope we don't see anything to grow from this. I went up to Baton Rouge in they were having. Sentencing. You know reform in and they said that -- And conviction. Or just being convicted of a felony. Is -- worst in the actual sentence. So if you never served the time. Just when you get a felon he can't get a job you got it checked the box to say that. You know you walk felon so you'd you don't get any public housing -- all of these you can't get any educational monies or anything like this. So it changes the whole dynamic. And then we have all of these people. In the same pool -- getting arrested because -- easy pickings it's as we begin said you know is harbors Singapore. If you'll white young man and you get picked up he treated different for. Drug usage or just marijuana. Whereas as we say who he get picked up. Okay you -- -- line ups in Baghdad pretrial. Can't get a turn to get you out so. You know went out the pretrial services program you can sit back there Jenny can tell you you know 23 -- if you had a decent job. Forewarned marijuana possession you lose your job now you find yourself. Angry upset whereas in Colorado do you smoke all you want and people pat -- on the back so it's a culture and we wanna make sure that we get its. In the culture goes beyond just the individual. In our African American neighborhoods. One out of three of this. And so it becomes so predominant that the children growing up they're seeing that as the future it. It twisted it to hire neighborhood and its future and so it's it's an overwhelming problem the city. Stay with us everyone we have a lot to talk about pretrial services some answers. Coming up financial on WW well. We are back were talking about pretrial services with some. Council woman -- Susan give drink. Jenny Lee co director of the very institute pastor and Juan -- a pastor of household of faith family worship international. And real estate developer press cannot cough. I'd like to ask Jenny Lee with the beer institute. The pastor. In essence was saying a lot of people just sit there right what are the figures. But right now the most recent snapshot we had was taken in January of this year. At that time 70%. Detainees were awaiting trial when you account for. That's sort of an orthodox practice New Orleans for the housing to receive. Prisoners. He did that population. And bring it down to what normal jail is in the communities means that 70% of the people in there aren't sitting there waiting for the disposition of their cases. And that. Is down from last year's rate of three -- four times the national average -- over twice the national average -- Urban areas so one more talking about pretrial services were talking about the process by which. People will be thinned out from that. It's about making decisions based on risk as opposed to whether or not you have money. So that promise of pretrial services is to look at an individual's risk they but failing to appear in court. In beaver re arrested other cases are pending. And it's it's it's an actuarial instrument you know just like your insurance company assesses whether your risk to -- -- driver. And it's a risk assessment that looks at whether or not he pose a risk if you are released on financially -- it's it's about making Smart decisions. And an. Let me try to make this even simple okay. You got 19100 people -- Orleans -- right. The biggest issue and all and end of that 19100. Fourteen or fifteen under haven't been convicted. There awaiting disposition. Of their case. And if they're non violent. Sadako. Demonstrate commit another crime and or are likely to return. Which Vera figures out Erica innocent does this and nonviolent person. But they likely to return. And if the answer is yes they tell the judge. Judge you don't let this -- go we don't need -- this person. In to jail while the waiting for the this decision because they're not a danger to community and they're expected to come back that's what this is all. How long is that weight normally. If you read -- corrections report came on average pretrial. Period of incarceration. Is forty days and for more -- that and where being held pretrial. Low risk defendant is a matter fact we're going on more than fifty days waiting for the disposition okay. Encourage openness there right there that. When we did the study without planning for the -- -- Austin came back conceded that. For the same crime. Same arrests a black person spends twice as much time in jail. So again. It is specific. It is dealing with a certain population. Which is causing the same and so he and if one person has picked up for marijuana black one person picked up why. We're gonna spend twice as well in the jail. Because again pretrial services if it they're not functioning in -- on the release issue. Realizing OK and again I wanna make sure we understand. This is not violent criminal correct I'm for it ought we not talking about being soft on crime we're talking about being Smart on Chrysler. In these individuals need to be released you don't need to sit back there -- a job. And I think if everybody everybody I know does talks about where our tax dollars are going what does it cost to house somebody for forty days or fifty days. That could be home. Right the the city -- Somewhere in the range of about 34 hours. A day it's -- it's much smaller figure that they say. When you add the medical on to it -- it -- Iraq. It's about 34 hours a day and then when you look at all of the costs of operating a prison that the city. Deals with to fuel. Electricity it -- center -- the inspector general has. Again a report where he estimates it's in the fifty something dollar range today. So when you. -- decision that might that be the most serious talks. And Colin but Thomas the set it set it pretty well who could have been if you know bear the city had it not cross the line. Spent some time and in jail. Studied that made plays about it and alert and that these nonviolent people while there in jail spend time with the pilot people and they come out. More hardened criminals who you gotta consider the cost of converting someone from a densely non dangerous person to a dangerous person won't turn. You know intellectually understand everything you're saying and yet I can hear some listeners not all but some saying. You tell me not just to lock -- -- and there is that mentality exactly what birthed this. Ten years ago. You know there a problem get a mount a site. -- angry that. We're telling them it's not in your interest just to block the -- Could you create more hardened criminals you spend more money than you get a return for an investment you may have a visceral reaction just a lot about. But it's not working it's costing you with that reaction that money time and that in a -- community. And John Arnold. And -- much as a foundation based attacks. And on huge. Research they expect -- collecting research from different jurisdictions across the country. And before the end of the year there in a published reports that they've released a preliminary findings. You take two dependents -- -- -- by pretrial services program as low risk which means they'll come back to court and they are not gonna get in trouble other cases pending. And within. One person can be released right away after being arrested the other person staying in more than 24 hours. You're gonna start seeing that person become more likely to the Democrat the recidivism rate kicks in 24 hours pretrial detention. That's how fast. That. You know and incarceration affects human -- And then what are things that we -- incarceration count two of the world or arresting people made us safer. We should be the safest city. It is all definition of insanity incentive to. It is insanity it is not insanity what we're talking about them stay with us every one we have to go to the newsroom. So we're gonna talk about pretrial services. And -- -- impact impact all of our lines right after -- we are backward talking about pretrial services and again much is clear flock. What it is pretrial services. Susan Kendry is. It's very simply put it's giving the judges more information. On which to base a decision. Of whether to release a pretrial defendant or whether to release at keeping in jail because he's a high risk. And so it's just they DV pretrial services people. Do a risk assessment tool. They interviewed did defendant right after his book. And they give that information to the judge with categories of risk low medium high. And the judge then decides on how to use that information. They've been to obstacles of this war and the bail bond business. Like. You know that's their businesses. It is representing and getting bonds put up and that's a very fine living so they have a natural inclination not to step behind this. And then this is a major change and so judges that it had the sort of the culture. Lock them up. Whether they're dangerous or not. Are resisting full implementation but it works so well it's it's saved a couple of million bucks for us and has the potential to save three of four million dollars. Annually so you have to overcome those natural. Economic objections have been the cultural. Objections to really have it to be as robust as potential. Now Coleman get for you get your hand. National institutes of corrections did a study. -- right and the mayor and I decided. That. -- -- there was some controversy about the program. We had. Researcher we had looked into it we had helped it. Come together. And we knew that it was a good program. But we wanted it to be evaluated by an objective third party so we asked the national institute of corrections. To come in and they did that and in September of last year. They came. And they interviewed a lot of the different people involved in the criminal justice system. They gave preliminary findings at an October 3 22013. Criminal justice committee meeting. And they published their final report and -- Just this past month this month. -- key findings. Where that the pretrial services program has developed extensive clearly defined interview. Investigation and verification policies and procedures. That are consistent with national standards. And that the program staff are knowledgeable and are very passionate about their work. They also. Determined that the program has developed well defined performance and outcome measures. For the purpose of evaluating the eternal in effectiveness of the program. And that they report this. They said that. Have 3664. Defendants who were assessed. By the program between July of 2012 in May of 2000 her thirteen. 29%. And -- should take only 29%. Were released at their first appearance on. Their own recognizance. Our third party signature -- on both of those they don't have to pay any money. Or cash bond of less than 2500. And of those defendants who were released pretrial. 95%. Appeared in court. Followed up in appeared in court as ordered and 96%. -- not charged with a new criminal offense. And the national institute of correction said that that's very high figures. So the bottom on as the people that your letting Al with a pretrial services are coming back for trial right coming back. And they are not causing any in any of -- that's correct that's correct what is the issue with the judiciary -- it there's a couple of things what is being said the but. Report points out and actually win the people who did the report did site inspection and came here. When they came to see me they said this. Basing your judiciary. -- What we call a presumption of detention. Win a defendant is brought before the judge for the first time and by the commissioner's. The defense attorney has -- argue why they should not be detained. And that is not the way -- is -- the rest of the country it is. There is a right to release. And it's constitutional right the US Supreme Court -- has interpreted the constitution over and over. That pretrial a defendant should not be kept there should be kept with the least amount of restraint like. For instance with a thigh under with. Electronic monitoring and whatever. If they are not a flight risk and they are not a risk to public safety. And those of the determine owners and says the presumption is supposed to be a seven to -- And that -- out New -- -- for right now are waiting for trial but let me get a point on the -- Not to throw the month of the bus. They're elected. And this is an easy issue to demagogue. It even though they have an -- -- 6% success rate they'll be a couple of people to slip through -- commit a crime. In that you demagogue that so the whole system doesn't work in the judges always concerned about being reelected that's why your program is so important. You need to educate the populist populist so that the judges safe. To take a appropriate. And cost benefit in human position on these questions and it doesn't mean that you lose the job so you're doing a great job in this respect. Susan or injury have you has the judiciary -- talked to -- you know mayor. You know come on organized. This as a way of thinking and ES in of course say they've gotten to the national institute corrections report. And you know they will say much like pressed just talked about they will say you know. If we let someone out and they guard committed crime it's going to be asked who blamed not the pretrial services program. Because we -- their assessment. Well you know that is part of the job. That is in deduct job description you have to make decisions on release defendants. Day in and day out nobody can do that perfectly. But you can't say that being given more information. Is a -- Coming information is power right. And so if the pretrial services program can give you more information on which to base and released decision. That can only be a good thing. And it's independent. It is that which is not the plane -- the the victims of -- -- the prosecutor. Or the attorney for the defendant. Making the claim this is an independent person looking at a without a horse in the race and again it is not for violent. Offenders or will the vaccine judgments they make it states if the pretrial looks that you've got a pilot problem somebody's gonna repeat here they'll recommend that the judge. Don't let them. -- stay with the second one we'll be right. We're talking about the concept of priest trial services and and really what it means is. Getting people who've been arrested for nonviolent offenses. Out rather than sitting in jail for 10203040. Days. While waiting whether to go to a trial or not what it's costing us what is costing them. We've got a caller minister of Washington from the North Shore. Erica hollow feeling it thank you. Our you watched. I would -- -- -- it. Quality patient. Maria Packers do that in India is. -- our system. And I -- -- it it's all there. It is so big problem people prostitution -- is in his little constitutional right it is we applaud. People. And this is what we call me so I'll be in form in on the optical store at all. This is something that they won't. Do it was -- as you walk. It. We. Did. Is Ronald is not about. You know public -- one -- and you along the -- via. We're actually in. -- -- -- -- -- out trying. When he talks but it V. -- act court is he black white. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So. Our organizational -- Go to trial he worked to trial if you're a compact not difficult it would be the law. We must only be used is system ought to -- -- -- -- -- -- saw he got -- -- It ought to put out this you've got -- -- -- probable but action. Well I really appreciate your comments on this very much. Just keep calling -- we're gonna go to another caller very quickly but thank you reverend. Let's go to -- in non GA yes. Yeah. I'm sure it is important for parole in other purchase pursue -- -- bond conditions like drug testing. And that letter which was jailed for if you -- in and jailed -- the court ticket or terrorist. And let the people in the world constitutional this year what you what you -- for -- wonderful record which. Everybody in your drug court in which there's a lot about helping people more about. Providing additional launched -- bigger government show -- -- yesterday -- Chanting yes. You know I think that it's. There's a practice just a practice here. Likes isn't it interesting as the NIC reports that there's a presumption of so and that's patently backwards from the constitution. Requires there's a presumption that you should be released and lets you pose a risk to public safety. Are not likely to come back to court. And a judge is required to use the least restrictive means possible to ensure that here she is meeting that risk so what happens here is that it works the opposite. So if you're low risk they're still uncomfortable letting letting you he furry by your case is pending. And they do create. They placed conditions. On somebody's freedom the way things that you see a lot of drug testing -- Orleans -- As a metal half -- drug treatment assessments. Required to report and Colin certain places. And you know that those sorts of things have been found effective for defendants -- are falling into a moderate risk greens. The problem is here you're applying to be able. -- there oh rats. This is not a direct the interview questions that haven't impact. It before the legislature. This session in the -- in Baton Rouge. Is an attempt to make -- wanna reduce it from a felony. To say to a misdemeanor. Where. Drug testing for that. Offense. Which many many people or in jail some of them for very long terms for for marijuana use. Will no longer be an issue. I think opening Angela has a separate she'll inevitably that issue at least the first hearing comes up but next Tuesday. In Baton Rouge. Thank you very much for your call. Let's go back to something Susan intricate were running out of time -- -- wanna talk about if everything is after two years of having pretrial services here. You have an independent group come in and test out the system and it comes back very positive. And essentially saying 95% of the people who. We let altitude pretrial show up and the center of -- I think that 95 is very high right yes what. They're saying it's a couple can slip through but 95% is very high. Vineyard at the wall of the judges. What can be done. To encourage the judges to participate. In what's working. Well. We are trying to get their agreement on a couple of issues one is at the risk assessment tool. That has all the information on it debt to pretrial services program people get from the defendant. That that tool be placed in the record. Because it when your first -- it's at first appearance it's before either the magistrate -- the commissioners and they make that first released decision. They are being given a copy of the risk assessment tool -- group the report. And they use it or don't use it to the extent that they -- are right and but then the report is just handed back to -- -- -- his program. The judges do not want the report to be put in the court records show when the judge ceased. Dissection judge ceased defendant for the first time. There's no report no record to the judge cannot use that report. At the at the arraignment when another bail decision is made. And so we are trying to get their agreement to used to report and and mean to really simple. And it into what makes this same -- they really adequate but look if the judge the magistrate. Doesn't put it in the record. Can the defendant's attorney. When he goes before the judge saying by the way we have the pretrial. Information. Sure they could but it's not the magistrate in the commissioner's deciding not to put it in -- record that that decision is being made by the judge it's. That they're saying we don't want in the record and end. The you know that would that was the decision was made in the working group but it's not how it's done across the country and set in New York's. -- -- criminal court and watched the judge the DA. Defender all have the report and all discuss it. Four fort point and what that means to a decision on release. And that's how it should be. Stay with -- be right the bottom line is we're gonna hear much more about pretrial services and and Susan get 31 more time something Elsevier is working on right in this was also in the national institute correction to report is. Having a second aren't hearing from low -- defendants who remain in jail after seven days. He got a -- aren't but they still couldn't pay that bring him back after seven days. And and let's look at them again we're gonna continue discussions thanked each and every one of do you now let's go to the newsroom.