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WWL>Topics>>7-8 3pm Angela, New

7-8 3pm Angela, New

Jul 8, 2014|

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Trying to lower -- and judge orleans' -- mr. -- help create a program three years ago and offers a second chance. Selected prisoners. Chance to be educated to learn a trade I -- a new beginning. It was such a six cents or seven other parishes have adopted the program. As we all tire of hearing of the revolving door of those going to prison. The re entry program offers a way to stop that. And just as judge why believes there are those who can't read purpose their lives. She believes. I love this over 500 bicycles but have been sitting in an evidence and property room taking up space can also be repurchased. She is our guest for the next hour to talk about both programs we're gonna start with the bikes. Which is such a great idea so there sitting in this room for how long. 500 some -- bikes. Some since 2007. Just sitting there because they were picked up from various -- picked up four. Prosecutorial interest let's say they're picked up as may be evidence in the case but they don't use. Bicycles have been a lawyer 25 or more years of nursing a bicycle rolled into court if he wouldn't. You know if someone was on a bicycle. And that the good news is. Come this whole event has spawned a change and NO PD and how they pick up the guy -- they're now. Com photographing bicycles when they can putting them into property rather than putting them into evidence of the bike seized. And then come the state law requires that the property be -- for a length of time and but she notify the victim of the proper excuse me the owner of the property for them to come and collect or claim their property. So these were all bikes in which has gone through their own legal process and no one had claimed them. And they are of no value in prosecution or any case. So these -- items that were sitting mayor. I'm needing to do something else they needed to be disposed off like evidence does when you don't need the evidence anymore so you had sort of eureka moment -- Let's get these fixed up and music actually saw them over at central evidence of property room and ask him what's going on with all these and and started working with -- tennis -- clinically. With CMP and we were on -- Board together where we were working to get. Evidence that criminal court. Our old evidence. Term in rape cases and you may have heard this programs the post conviction relief DNA testing and it was so national. Grant that came in with all multi agencies and I was a member of that group for criminal district court and so what. That group was doing was looking at evidence collection and storage and all the problems we have post-Katrina. And so in essence when we went to look at this evidence. Our evidence rim and we have so little effort answering a realist would be huge space that was an asset in congress want. We currently have the inmates. Since we have so many inmates and in jail and only have them fix bikes. And so ultimately it's taken three years and today -- the day. Today we got all the bicycles loaded up consent to lingo so Angola inmates come help you load up camps and they loaded up 530 bicycles today. In 218 wheelers. And it was pretty cool and they're gonna take him out there and they're gonna have the toy shop. Mom manage those overhaul in in their free time inmates in the reentry program and other inmates. Will contribute their time and effort to making these bicycles new and beautiful looking again some of them look terrible that we loaded into the -- some of them look really good. And so they'll come back -- what will happen but I'm gonna put together and bicycle giveaway for people that. I can't afford a bicycle either for playing or for transportation to get to work I have a couple of people out of free entry. I'm back in my court under supervision and they can't get to work. And senior bicycle her so this city is becoming more bicycle friendly absolutely and I thought it was just a great way T. Reuse things and not throw things away and nothing would make Berle -- happier. Pet projects for his guys he always needs another project and he was kind enough to send peace send these two tracks. With armed security of course and with mentors from the program. And we -- to -- Any date you think -- arrive back. I think they were up their -- got a little big found 130 bicycles are a lot and met so we had. Two trucks eighteen wheelers filled up to the top. And it visually that's something to -- and it you're welcome to go on and look at a picture. I'm I have not. In Graham where we took pictures -- and it's called reelect tent law. And we took pictures of it to show all the bikes and -- she don't think about how many -- that is but it's a lot and they may be a few more that are coming. Which is the police the DA's office the city everybody signed off on it and then -- signed the order to have these items. Com disposed -- and this disposal is not a full time disposal is just a temporary bring moving up. Love the legal language. And so. All of a sudden the evidence property room must have huge amounts of spent exactly and they need the space for an ongoing cases you because the city pace to rent the space that the evidence is sent. And so it saves the city money. Every reason to sign on with that what she's really talking about is refurbishing that in that is a wonderful thing and they're going to be 530 on people who will now have bikes in the near future exactly brother than sitting there while we're renting them space. It is about repurchasing but but really your program is what I wanna talk about is the refurbishing if people think -- and I remember. Before I retired from television the night when the last resented was with Burl Cain and your program. You and judge Conner and Burl Cain started the reentry it made such sense. Exactly so we're gonna take a break and we're gonna come back. And you can update on what is happened since the first one's winning okay and what is happening. I know it's expanded yes we'll talk with judge Laurie white right after this financial under the W. I just Lari white with criminal district court in New Orleans. We just saved 530 dikes that hurt bicycles are so that we're sitting in the evidence room that -- needed to move on they've moved into Angola. And the prisoners are gonna fix them up they're gonna come back and then they're going to be given out to people who need them. Makes wonderful sense and I keep saying that because she also started a program with judge Arthur harder -- three years ago. 20102010. Working with Burl Cain and a Angolan. Ordinance. That's -- simplified this that you please expound and correct me if I'm wrong. You decide. When somebody is sentenced. You know there's hope for this person. And so we're gonna send it to Angola and you're gonna pay your time. But we're gonna put you in this recovery program where you are going to be monitored. Almost in the minutes. But actually all of them were lifers who were great who had been trained. To teach you life. And there were gonna teach you skilled it is marketable a real scale. Where when you come out you'll be certified in something in the in the profile I did was on the ones that we're doing on -- A mechanics and I let me tell you that's a national test and strengthen national test so you really have a skill that can make you good money. They're getting national certifications. Which are testing and at least two levels of certification before their release from. The Angola portion of the program and then there returned back to judge hunter and I and we -- provides them with a probation officer for up to five years. And then we're working with our community. To -- com business owners to hire some of our returning citizens. Com to put -- in the jobs with the skills that they have learned didn't hit while I'm at the prison. It's my position meant if you give that person job they don't have to commit crime mini camps. And if you give -- treatment for. Com what might be ailing them whenever it's there. Com drug problems -- their addictions and then we have social -- touring we have educational maturing we have moral or religious mentors. So they're getting a full gamut of parenting is really what's going on in teaching them things that. You know how to get their life strain and it's very profound to hear that he -- that -- the new inmate in reentry when you're hearing from someone has a life sentence and they have no. Bias no benefit in essence they these guys are doing it because there and showing him. Working with the younger people and trying to make better citizens so it's such a great. Way to win win he helped the guys in prison maybe to do some parenting skills and to learn these trades and everybody that comes out of our program. -- judgment or nine they get their ged I think Tyson now. But they get their high school diploma and they get certification. In 122. The levels of the job that they have chosen so then they come back and work with us. I'll tell you the one of the teachers. And actually headed up the program for -- -- Was a man who had murdered somebody had been in prison for thirty odd years. And finally finally. Got the break and that was from this area and now I understand is making like nine in grand working in Lafayette. Experts mechanic. You're talking about one of the line for mentors yeah he was actually pardon pardon him right that's Shelby Shelby yes and I can't additional these last night. But he was pardon and I think he went to a different area -- Lafayette he may have been from the Lafayette area I can remember him being from customers I thought he was a slight hill but -- -- the crime was the -- -- -- he was an amazing story because. He got a pardon based on all of his good works in prison. But she was truly rehabilitated human beings exactly and she was I think -- Looking into the camera saying. I made the worst decision of my life I took a life. This is the hope most horrible thing I think there was truly what. When I citizens wanna hear I'm sorry this is horrible I spent thirtieth it was almost 35 years 32 years. She was asked by Burl Cain because he knew -- the discover is very Smart you can teach this I mean I watched them. And it was and I could barely understand the language of what they were teaching. And every one of the young men who were sitting there spellbound. -- hanging on every word I hand. Because I was a criminal defense lawyer as well as a prosecutor before that was elected not to service a judge. And I had been at the prison to see these people in and worked with people they've gotten out of prison. And I knew that they had a lot to offer and that that's in in my mind that's the key to make. Com crime stop by giving them. This different training and it's training in discussion. And moral. Com issue. Dialing and you know building. And the people that go into our program. Are sentenced to eighteen years or less. For a nonviolent crimes so the user and when he -- I think that the person is talking I was in reentry and that person was saying mentor. To the people in reentry so our people learn. Charged with something that's not a sex offense not a crime of violence and they're not multiple build. And their sentences ten years or less and they go into the program and then they are supervised buying not only. The warden and all of those people their son of the program but the inmates the that have chosen to common work in this program and it's 24 hour program for them. And that interesting part is we have absolutely no funding. Compound that is what's interest and doesn't cost the taxpayer -- -- now. We have I'm not that proud of them I'd like to have funding but it but it's still a good thing to see that. When you put your mind to it you can spend your time doing. Things differently can think out of the box you can do things just like these -- for inmates have no reason to do this. But they are and so that's what this is sort all about people can make a difference with what with little to no effort. Well some of the lifers I interviewed literally said it in essence it's too late for Maine. But I'm gonna change somebody's life the trend that's a tremendous. Tremendous motivation if we reduce. I'm victimization now one person within minutes on the north and yeah. No that's actually and since then it's gone to other -- it has it's really excited -- -- that we. Got this past that the legislature in 2010 for New Orleans. And and bad arrangement that Irish did not pick it up the judges appeared did not. Since that time it's now gone to saint Tammany parish where it just resting ninth it's got a very active program it's now in. Com Jefferson Parish. Hand hits and second federation is thinking about reopening there's a parish -- Where a judge and has taken it and just this session it's gone to Lafayette. Pumps the JP and two -- though and some of the surrounding parishes but what. What everybody's interest in sometimes they don't realize how much work it is for the court you know because that I don't have funding and I don't have staffing. And needed to stretch -- but we have a probation officer that's assigned to each of us from the department of probation parole which does a wonderful job but they're also on. We're doing much closer monitoring what these people once they're released to make sure that they are doing well so it's it's it's quite an effort. Absolutely. An effort but as we all talk about and we are talking more and more about. What we've got to stop. You know that the rotation and we can't do something with -- just something I mean a killer lock up everybody no. If these are nonviolent people these are people that. You must and -- -- must see. There is open them exactly and so a country integrate and a desire tip to proven to change their lives and and come. It it's just it's something -- that when we're screening to people. You know I'm also learning I'm not willing to take -- mind that thinks they wanna go they have to really wanted to. Because I'm not gonna take people they just how I'll check it out of I don't like it. You know there have been any who have failed -- absolutely their pin if sensed about a 130. And I have about film -- from a numbers. Com I have forty. People that I'm supervising now that are on the outside of the program in other words they completed apportioned Lotta the times we lose them in the program. Because down there kicked out and and it's interesting because I've been out there and to work with the life first and with the cards and say. I tell them if you don't think this person is making progress can come out. We don't you know we don't mean unless they wanna do it not going to babysit now and that I have found. Two people -- three people during this past quarter net or released then I'm monitoring him. What's interesting is the department correction since -- entire folder on the person with a letter of recommendation. And I look through the folder chose either test scores it shows us. They've written a -- many different letter they have information from -- namely where there can only Catholic Church they're going to attend or be sponsored by. And if they have a promise of some type of job. Once they released they come. To my -- and their setup with a probation officer. And then from then on we trying to keep them on the straight and -- whether they need further drug treatment. Whether they need help with housing. You know some of these people have never held a full time job in which they've got a salary. And then many of your own demons may kick up with your drug problem. So then we have to monitor them to make sure that your drug treatment. Com is provided so. And we have it you and I have a lot of problems a lot of these people don't realize that we have problems too so these are new problems for them. Of trying to deal with all the things you do to stay on the right path. Well. Stay with us everyone we're gonna continue our top with the judge might. About reentry and what is like to be judged. In criminal district court stay with this -- Angela on WW well like criminal district court our guest today we're talking about a reentry -- I think she started to 2010. Where people go to Angola they're trained to their mentors and into the hills and they are meant toward and then they have a shot coming out. Under her guidance in the probation officer. And then they have a real skill the whole goal is not to end up back in prison. That's the whole thing. We have talked many times in this program. And an image in your thoughts on this even though I do want you don't tell me which can tell me here. We're the most incarcerating our state not only in the union of the world it's costing us a fortune. I'm not talking about violent offenders were talking about nonviolent offenders. Goes before the legislature an eclectic group of people fighting to change the laws so that people who are the second time on marijuana. Don't go to prison so they don't starts and didn't have a record they can't get the job to cycle begins I mean on and on and -- it doesn't pass. It doesn't pass that the sheriffs are against it. And I think some of this understand that the motivation might be because that's where they get their money and so but we need to break that because as taxpayers we're tired of panic. -- the reentry program to -- is a wonderful idea because it is helping people want to giving them a second chance. In the nation I believe we should get second chances and three it will help solve some of this. Having to pay. For a prison system that is output could soon. Exactly and it's also. Reestablishing a workforce and our community -- our workforce is. Is Tom theory crippled I don't think we have enough people with skills and that's what we're trying to. Train people live it's okay to work hard and make a good wage and look how good you feel about yourself well it's a great thing coming up I'll put people in jail every day. So it's nice to think that there might be some common -- better. It is with the car mechanics but what else they train they have Bonnie offender. Welding carpentry culinary arts electric shock. They have H back. And then they have an eyeglass clinic a love distant -- on every person of Penn and older. Tom couple of people that have gone into I -- clinic small engine -- -- nobody actually repairs those anymore. Horticulture. Plumbing generator she brought containing Concord grape creek finishing -- silk screening. And metal fabrication. Real jobs can't -- real real job real skill -- a make a real living. And not have to do -- exactly and you were saying in the break which is impressive to me. Is it a 130 -- 140 yes that I have put into the program you put into the program. The first group that's come out you know overseeing ranked. And only seven have gone back -- said -- -- yes yes and I requiring minimum from the program. You know the numbers are usually RI if you if you get anywhere 50%. Or even above you know anywhere under about eighty -- 90% everybody feels like it's a success rate. I am I mean to get AM. University and to keep up with the numbers. Because I'm doing the best we can't come and again this is me doing this with the com department corrections just honor and I. But of the hunt 110. Thirty that I have -- put -- -- there's 278. In the program so I have a 130 of them and I now have. About 40 that I -- monitoring and it's interesting have a mom. Com thirty that have been released that 24 those touchy gays and the reason that number is not 30% are all third a 100% all thirty of them is the 'cause. Those others would authority had. Graduated or have advanced degrees I had several with a couple of college degrees and one with a masters that went into the program. So sixteen on everything these 130 have earned the patients certificates in these common different programs. And then the next problem is trying to get the job he and so I'm I'm Josh turner and I have both been busy talking to the community. And we invite. Different business owners to go up to the prison as the warden is very. Open about letting people visit this program because it's exciting it's different. And we also line a national awards hitting. American Correctional Association. And. And I just -- because I got this of today and this was bizarre. You're coming in today and then I got in my email yes that you're just been named -- -- get this right. -- winded. Reentry service award ya can't just turn on both just doesn't work with the state yet it's some it's that and Louisiana justice hall of -- So we're on fire and so we're trying to make a difference this is either going to be a huge success are big fat failure it's not gonna I'm willing to to try it. Well we've got to try everything that's really what we're doing is not functioning correct right so let's do something new and let's just do something. Let me as you would mention in his only because our two previous shows we talk so much about crime and family. And you clearly put it in the words of teaching skills and and having a family feeling. Why is it do you think in because you've been on both sides. And now you're judge. Do you think that two things one. People don't have a life skills they shouldn't. Whether they go to jail or not. And then we have to teach them at that stage of life there in prison number gonna -- life skills. And why do you think we have such a high crime rate here. Com I think it's just that I think it's a breakdown of the family and the families are so different and in our city we've got a lot of different looks a family. -- sometimes and a mother that may be young and doesn't have. Her own training or her own. The basic life skills that have been developed and then they don't pass those onto their children. And then I think the community has become such a band educator of each other. You know they see these things not occurring in their neighborhoods from. The crime that goes on and people that think it's okay because maybe. The persons committing the crimes have more than others and we have a very poor city it's very poor and very rich. And I'm. Have the pleasure and sadness too -- between them both and I think that we need more. Life skills taught if they're not being taught in the school and the churches aren't able to reach them because they're -- not brought into church. But people mean to know that they can learn to get a job. And that they can make a way and they can get out of what they were doing because the majority of people that I deal with only see a future of crime. Stay with us everyone were gonna continue our talk with judge Laurie wide and -- under the W well that's -- white criminal district court in New Orleans. And over talking about the reentry program it started all we were talking about over 500 bicycles that are going to Angola to be fixed up and then brought back to up. To help 500 lucky people. With their transportation. That a program mud she saw we needed we need to unload these bikes but it's all about refurbishing and I think it goes back to. Her program she started four years ago about refurbishing people's lives. And taking some people and emphasized nonviolent but people who have made a mistake they're gonna go pay the piper and Angola. But they do need a second chance and there's something that you saw in. Your review of them that gave you the thought this person could be helped -- and change I just -- reenter and we have. I did do something different. And -- -- or not pitch this idea because I thought the real key to this reentry program. Was to work with -- with people that don't have a chance to get out because a lot of these young people don't realize. A life sentence means life when you're gonna sit there for as long as you can -- And so that's it's good to it it's quite a different aspect. And and then the next big hurdle that we can't. Is when people come out. And their ex cons now you know you you can call on returning citizens you can column whenever but an employer sees that person perhaps as an ex -- Because if they do have a box on the employment application that says have you been convicted of a crime and they have to check yes. They're all very sad right off to pull back because they think they're never coming -- contact so at least with training. Com they're getting more job opportunities and what we're hoping which you know judge hunter and I standing behind these people that are coming out of our program. That business owners will step up and seeing that. These people have done more than an average person that's just been to jail or that may be take the time to learn -- People that do have. Nonviolent. Non sex offense. Crimes do go to prison in Louisiana and that they still should be able to make a living and support their fame when when they come out. Once they've done their prison term let's put into work. Come employers can get up to six I think it's 6000 dollars in tax credits. And we have. Different businesses were finding a lot of smaller businesses will put an ex offender to work a returning citizen. But we're trying to be more involved in and I'm so thrilled that the business council. But so many different groups the chamber of commerce. The US attorney can -- with his 32 into all of these programs the city's. Com. No love for life every the sheriff's programs sheriff marlin -- and everybody's doing some level of reentry because. We should have it in Louisiana because of our high incarceration right. But many of those groups that I just talked about our emphasis is to educate. And inform and assist in placing the right trained employee he with the right employer. Because -- fact it happened in maybe they'll hire another. Returning citizen with the skill. So if they see the success second -- than it opens it up into us you know we've also done when you mentioned some of the business groups thought. Business council lobbyists that are very concerned about the need for a workforce. Because of all of these new plan to -- up. And many of disclosure talking about are there. In fact some of the local businesses. Are warning to partner with our program. To go to Angola for example for the type of welding they may need in their business for the type of really tailor it to Taylor admin and the warden in the department of corrections through. Secretary LeBlanc is thrilled with these ideas so we're trying to. Com educate and train so that they will be at labor ready labor ready I mean this is. This is a great opportunity initially said not every single person's gonna make it now but if -- -- life that is life. But by golly if you give somebody an opportunity maybe for the first time in your life right. And they take it granite run with -- I think it reduces what can happen to their children. It prevents another victim. From that person so it it's so. It's a process that it has a built on itself but I mean it's it's. Considered safe stuff coming from. This is not something that you do if your frame that you're going to be. Put out of office because I mean -- Anthony -- -- criticism absolutely. These are the things you do because you wanna make a difference -- serve your community. Well from what to do on the bench listening day in day out to a -- and very sad things. This is as pro active. As you -- -- moments and money on DNA attorney not to be true this is not enough on the idea because other people think it was a great idea it's a I really meant that I was very moved when I went up to Angola is -- singer faces it wasn't just -- this is a good thing this is life changing. Really life changing and it's really Maine Monday much better car. So I'm glad we did it well I'll tell you what we're gonna get you back and we're gonna talk insights into. What it's like to be a judge on the district courts and what needs to happen over there. So we will invite you back when they -- until the always hypocritical if we start with water there but thank you very much. Judge -- want to thank you so much. And looking back just a second stay with its financial under the anyway.

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