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9-2 10am Garland, Louisiana prison reform

Sep 2, 2014|

: Should Louisiana implement prison reform like the other 49 states, or continue on the path as the leader in incarceration? The Vera Institute is working with New Orleans to improve our prison and legal system. Garland was joined by Jon Wool, Vera Institute and Pam Metzger, Associate Professor of Law at Tulane University.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

A walk back busy day in the big -- a new poll Susan Blumenthal and Republican parting. To be stuck in the packed house in tolerant and lacking in compassion. And the polled were commissioned by two major. Republican groups. Call -- probe Taka about the findings of a couple of authors. They think the world of the future driver loose -- 3-D pruning nano technology. Well not always cherish most of the world but like mini keyboard are concerned. That all of this technology you won't render pure draw and they think just the opposite. That is completely prosperity billions. People. This hour -- talk about something that I have done a number of troops on recently prison's prison system legal system. And one of the institute's that I hear over and over and in experts would bring on the show soon. The blood talked to all the record. Better working very hard behind the scenes and making real progress is the -- -- institute. Where John Wall with -- us with the very institute John appreciated each governor and going to be here first of all Gibson do quite used severest institute what you. Well there is a national not for profit organization. That has a presence here in New Orleans since just a year or so after the storm and we opened an office here in early 2008 and we. As you say we. Work quietly mostly quietly with government leaders. As well as with community that's interested in re envisioning our local criminal justice system. That we help. Identify and develop and in some cases implement policies and practices that. Achieve more justice. And more effectiveness. Oftentimes for less money those are those articles and that's how we're. Working its business in new institute that got started elsewhere. There's been at this for a very long time -- what's the history. The history is seldom takes us back to 1961. Where. -- founders were. Touring the jail in New York City in Manhattan. And were had him when they asked to these people were they were being held in together basically to of the Acer is a poor people. And the system back in 1961 in New York City looked a lot like. The system here in New Orleans when we came down after the storm large numbers of people held in jail now. Essentially because there are unable to buy their way out and not because they posed a particular risk to the community and that's what Vieira started. Its first project was the Manhattan -- project which led to a national reexamination of why we hold people what's appropriate. And the development of a science. Risk based. Pretrial detention. Decision making that is. Well across the country down today and the basis for the pretrial services program. That the city and -- developed here in New Orleans and Netgear operates for the city. To do your expert -- They're doing a very interesting very helpful jawbone and seen when it comes to. Our our crime rate when it comes to prison comes to how people were created in the criminal justice system. It's called the jury -- -- -- we have John warm up through witness would be institute. John award to go to the sustainment Tom talk about two years. Ago and law and let's talk about someone's verses reps you explain to -- that -- Sure of that before we get into the specifics all of their work that you described. Are virtually all of it has. In its Cold War. The effort to. Reduce our overuse of detention -- met local detention in the jail all of these things. Whether it's the goal of the work or the effect. Brick reduces our reliance on detention that's really important and it goes back to something you're talking about earlier so summons -- arrest. Was an effort with the no violence police department. And the City Council which undertook to write an ordinance encouraging. Greater use of some senses. Rather than a custodial arrest taking someone into custody. For minor offenses generally municipal nonviolent municipal offenses and this is one that early successes of our collaboration with. Government leaders. Particularly in this case the police department and they went from something like two when he 21%. Summons used to. About 70% and has sustained that. Up through today for municipal offenses and that's very important these people don't have to stepped foot in the jail in order to have. Their day in court and it's just one example of good practices that can be brought to bear that. Have not been tried here in -- that. Limit our reliance. Jailing people. You -- have a response of this. Often head coach here when we had problems in education. Police border Brittany be law enforcement. Always wonder why we don't grow to where things work in simply adopt and did anybody explain to you as to why we didn't and do this before because it seems common sense goal. -- it frees up please for violent crime. It takes prisoners I mean people out of our prison system which costs of those left. Did anybody defenders in the beginning or was it just something look like nobody thought. Well I think in general -- it's hard to change that culture in which all of these practices are embedded. There's there's different it's structural difficulties we have many different. Elected and appointed officials responsible for pieces of the criminal justice system and no. Systemic way of getting them to the table. And and it almost every change requires collaboration amongst agencies there's also. Entrenched interest often. Financial interest in financial interest lead to political power that get in the way of making changes that would. Be obvious and fundamental and other jurisdictions that we we have all of those problems to overcome. And that's why change it needs to be more about changing how people think about the goals and practices and values. Rather than just changing pieces of this system for us that's how to make changed last. You move nonviolent. Misdemeanors. From. -- -- district court to municipal court big change there. Read and just to be clear the U in your question is not just that they -- institute that we helped. Identify and facilitate these sorts of changes this was largely the work of the district attorney's office. And this is really important especially in conjunction with the settlements -- because you had high volume arrest types of charges like simple possession of marijuana. In which people were coming to the criminal district court and wading. Two days. Usually weeks to get arranged to get formally charged even. Under the best of circumstances and they were -- they were waiting in jail before there actually charged with a crime in a way the court could deal with that. So the district attorney move those cases over to municipal court where. The practices happen much quicker there's an arraignment within 24 hours and much less than that. Of the arrest and importantly. For the first time these cases would be amenable. To a -- So with the leadership of the criminal justice committee and and chairwoman Susan kitrey. They've been they enacted ordinances municipal ordinances -- making marijuana a local offense and the police department. Worked and training its officers to use that municipal ordinance rather than the state offense marijuana charge and now they give Simon Says in roughly 50% of all marijuana possession cases. And one of the things I think you've been working with the authors and as you point out. A decision decision making regarding who must be kept in jail pre trot -- But this is extremely important because Justin is Louisiana's leads the nation in its use of incarceration as that sentence after conviction New Orleans has for many many years led the nation. In its use of local detention. Principally for pretrial detainees that has the highest per capita detention rate at any city in the United States. And says. As I said all of these practices. End up reducing the use of detention. The fundamental way that you control. That you EU ensure that we only hold people in -- pretrial. And often -- charge. Is to have a pretrial services system that uses a risk assessment model. To determine who needs to be kept in jail preacher and who can be safely maintained in the in the community. Rather than using the fact of whether or not they can pay for their release because that doesn't protect public safety. And it leads to. Many many poor people who don't pose a risk being held in many many months in jail. Usually only to end up not being sentenced to incarceration at the very end of their case that there. Free only when they're convicted of a car. And there are blocked out during the period in which there not charged or not convicted of the crime because their four. Dubow true -- conception no -- to reduce local views of detention. Putting people injured. Relates to this it starts on the front end with police practices. Encouraging. Using summonses and not bringing people into the system who don't pose a risk. And -- principally turns on the pretrial detention decision but. Any -- -- any number of other things that are. Feeling our jails. -- people who are at risk so they have practices where we. Don't two a dress. Who warrants from traffic cases are municipal cases until the end December and -- somebody makes -- on some other charts that we. Do you sort of piecemeal and in -- rather than concurrently with cases and that holds people and for longer. Are we GO people on the back in because. They were given probation. For a minor offense or a non serious offense. They have to pay. Huge amounts in science and most of the people coming into the system can't afford that. And they end up going back to -- simply because there unable to pay. The fines and fees. The many parts of assistant thrive on. You you you mentioned really do work on -- mall -- Can give me a good reports from you know I have law enforced from appear -- And we were talking about me. The fact that at least per capita that a lot of sports see. We're considered to be -- prison population. Of the world. More than some countries. And certainly. Nobody even -- capital of the biggest. Locking up of people in the country. And and reachable -- woody didn't do was somebody comes -- with the fourth. A roach on. Cocaine. And -- our response one will come on what taxes and Mississippi's and column porn you while meeting in New York. And so many others are doing our thing moving more toward treatment is that the risk model year -- and. It's that's one aspect of it for sure. In determining what sorts of risks who -- -- willing to tolerate and what the best approaches to the risk that present themselves but if you don't examine the risk presented by an individual. Then you will. Have a sort of one size fits all approach which for the most part has been using incarceration here in Louisiana and norms so. When I talk about risky it's about. Determining who. Has to be held in -- because they pose a demonstrated objective risk and there's fifty years. Science. It and across the country in jurisdictions that have been doing this to. Help us selector risks tool for New Orleans which is what the -- group of leaders did in developing New Orleans pretrial services. But as you say we often need to think about what the best approach on the back and you have somebody convicted of a series of drug offense. Their greatest risk they pose is that they will be untreated and commit more drug offenses. Incarceration is not going to address that risk and to the extent we use our scarce dollars. To pay for both prison and jail incarceration at a rate beyond its effectiveness we will have. Fewer if any dollars to help people address there mental health and substance abuse -- that's getting them into trouble in the first place. And your thoughts and our. Witnesses. 14138. Person you prison. -- a good idea should be. Bigger. It seems -- that gave you were looking at that the the jail and remember it's a jailed though it's called the prison it's our local jail that's not part of the state prison system. Is that the the new facility which would have 14138. Beds or as the City Council resolution from August when he first had it. So much fewer because they've. Asked that that be retrofit to allowed to detention of everybody who. Needs to be in jail that is people with mental illness who were planned for in the jail. That phase two building a 14100 beds plus the for 500 beds in the temporary detention center that would be allowed to stay open for eighteen months. Are more than adequate to meet the needs of this community if we. Make the changes and we don't need even make all of them or make them overnight but if we make the changes that other communities have made. And break -- guys are used to detention. We will not have to build. Any additional beds and we will have a much greater chance of being able to meet the terms of the consent decrees that the -- -- under. And afford. Other sorts of approaches to crime besides incarceration. And one final question of them and on. For those that Buick in law enforcement and tell me. Look at all and their -- briefing you want and others are in favor of reducing prison. Populations. Here is the path. We've -- to a good job crime is now. And as soon as crime goes up you're going to be screaming bloody murder put him back block block -- throw away the -- How to and a body respond. I think it's just it's not the case and and that locking more people up. Reduces crime there's. -- point but beyond which it has the contrary effect and if New Orleans who was. Had a crime rate consistent with that theory that the more people he locked up the last Crimea have we would have a very different city. In fact I think. One of the reasons we have more crime and then we ought to have is that we have a -- -- 11. Size fits saw. Reflexive. Punitive approach that locks up too many people who are not risky and become. More risky because the lengthy periods in which we hold them in jail. You know and I appreciated that time preacher would trigger -- doing your beer institute. Love to have you back a later time give more details absolutely importance. Thank you don't -- we're doing another show and we're probably you can do you sideshow. On our prison system our legal system and and risen quite pro gram per listener in dark now give a lot of group and doctors and law enforcement Garber hopes. I think -- the people without political power. The people about money you know the people. That live in the wrong demographic. -- Or. Paul Martin's in an all wore huge prison. Mark caller. On the for Josie is it's a gigantic organization the benefits a lot of people there awful lot of money moved back in -- over. And a -- funded just. -- action. That states like Texas Mississippi Alabama Florida. Have come to the conclusion -- from everything I've read. Is that this this isn't a good thing. It cost office a lot of money. Those who benefit from the orb or a small number compared what caused the brush the problems. And again but we do have Gregory and student appear. The way we've always done it doesn't work or doesn't seem to. And was holding this conversation. And a associate professor of law and within expertise in the Orleans parish criminal injustices and chooses to in your numbers. Holding their conversation last week and we barely had time talk when we had to break at all. And thankfully a professor Pam Metzger has slowed -- who's given professor I appreciated very much my. And to be about -- overall all. Added to beliefs of some concept in this state. What what is it -- keeps office on track. As the biggest supplier of human beings from prison. In the country. And per capita perhaps in the world from prompt some of the media media sober. I think reality is it that we created governmental structures that facilitate. -- had a constitution. And Louisiana political structure unlike any other country in that we required share. And to be keepers of detail on the -- culture -- -- charge of keeping in making the jail. But the people who hate her battered city government should -- government so he got out right now and Arlene. With the city New Orleans all conflicts. With the sheriff because this year it is being cold. Kid that amount of money we're going to keep Iran chairmanships and our -- while -- -- howling direct. Until we disconnected the money from the responsibility. Of running jail. And the consequence what we have the picture. Court in the -- -- from the tactic here ran a fabulous theory I think you are. We share a little bit -- -- to be up their hunt for prisoners to all the bad. Keep the light on their -- helped keep their deputy important. Backcourt right we should have a system which shares are free the responsibility. Of trying to kind of increase the money they're getting from from the city. So that they can fill their. REE picture quality with the master Akron Akron trying to -- it was chair general and -- president. We just passed in nineteen typical constitution which created the possibility. And -- and -- land from the -- -- an 800 people he took over. More than 111000 and most of those were sentenced -- struggle prisoners prisoners like the parent should -- -- the money come from. And that's -- And quite frankly. Not fair share -- -- it's important taxpayer -- for the present. Not -- the population could and should the court just when the good lie and forced -- keeping the lights on in the courthouse he liked on jail. Introducing here it's it's out of intrudes on scientific double dubbed Leo -- jaguar opinion polls. Should always -- implement -- of form like so many of the states or continue on the path is a leader in in courts to ration. In second only 6% of you say implement prudent before and what you think as a little little change in -- they we have an expert to talk to propose your pin met her. In regard to leading university her expertise. Is in New Orleans parish criminal justice system. Professor at. The the power of share -- when I've talked these subjects in particular. Off the record. Politician businesspeople and tell me it -- and over the of their bitter Sobel the most powerful people in this state why. Is that true number wanton. And so one. It to its unique. System we set up part of conscience state constitutions are they actually cheered failing teacher. Why is it they share are responsible for keeping EJ. Each parent is responsible preparing expense of running. Which means to bear the art market early little correlation between the public money you're gonna spend. How the money spent. All the nations sheriffs are going to go out and read other revenue for the jail but there's also been directed it. Share studies do you assure that they they run on making an actor Robert. Did -- -- -- doesn't get to all. But required to pay the upkeep but again I get stopped paying for the upkeep of the jail. Even richer and the independent are progressing rapidly take for example housing prisoners mother corrections -- from the federal government which case it how. The other thing that really important undersea sheriff Lee are not class size is double or equally I actually. Would that mean to share can actually send their employees out. Lawfully. To participate drinking -- and political activity or contributions. Are in the management of the gears and handed it. And so what that means is a civil servant simply. Went out by the government local. Care and in fact many direction and certainly true. In -- -- lecture current share SharePoint Lawrence power over optical optical caucuses. But it didn't work force can go out and campaign. Go there really appropriate and quite frankly unfair court to get this year job should be. To armchair looking -- -- -- allocated to camera car. And not be in the big trying to read my. And you wouldn't have to fight here between city and share -- -- -- -- In center at the legislature want -- -- There increasingly important. And share lobby that it's important. Political -- -- inherently. -- would what you just said there. -- and an -- of this probably overly simplistic. Texas and in so many of the states that have implemented. Backing all for prison population. Reducing the power of the of pursues prison facilities. Have. Almost accidentally. Learned that there's saving tens of millions of dollars. If if that occurred here or couldn't we give the money to the sheriff's department and rural or those whose. Economy depends on the period -- Should or shouldn't we give -- that money based on how many people. They kept from coming back. Other words creating. Reducing recidivism. Sure Garland I think you've hit on it and in fact that the current partner in the market closed at shift a little -- there -- What we are war cheer went chronic cheater and police department. We're decreasing reform and the problem and institutionally and stay away trying -- aren't we given. Do the weight of law works right now there are -- -- trying to. The kind of government that would enable us to do that they would have to be perish I perish they. Each parish are responsible. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But aren't there are there are the ones that depend on be sure of being able mark fooled people you and I couldn't get elected. Arnold. If they solve the problem. Their share of sludge and help. You got to re patched -- there. -- don't wanna be understood I think they're locked in locked sheriff put together great work release program. They're really interested in trying to improve community safety and improve what goes on in your check out the problem. It and they gotta go look for someone else to fill their act. And so that's actually keep it business the people trying to bring it federal prisoners brilliance that there -- other parishes. I'm Scott -- bad. Can make sure they got their budget. If you want if you wanna you know keeping an action last year believing in a legislature. On. With dealing with deals. On heroin related crime and who would get the sport and are in right handed or chew your present. -- heroin possession. The executive director believing that your sister is at -- for the year. People understand you do apparel and you're -- time they're advocating a true that your mandatory. And for heroin production. Quite the opposite track every other state. And hard to imagine that there aren't and I can't financial attempt at consciously or unconsciously. Driving we share Iraq are mandatory. It is the monetary product of this poor people. Well that kind of iron in the that our system runs on the support people and if you look at what happened here after Katrina might partly the entire criminal justice and collapsed. What -- doing a poor people who were being behind. Indians virtual nickel -- dime -- probation he's their conviction trying to enter the pay the salaries of the public defender. To contribute to share on to contribute to the district attorney aren't contribute to Kucera judicial. We learned our criminal justice system and user base hit -- and actually make a large contribution elected because. People who like on and they'll. And -- that support people and the one who can least afford. Became older he interpreted their money money -- -- do you want to be spending and getting much ancient. -- sure that he can -- bucks to get to work on. Putting a little extra money into the will be getting their kids to a doctor or getting -- You know truth because if you called -- background when we have had a pair aren't quite life structure let's move all these marijuana. I'll be district clerk Colleen marijuana first look and look at a municipal court where they were illegal -- There will be a he had violent crime problem for -- -- partner. -- -- -- -- judge ordering -- court have to. -- -- -- We blew it -- our -- -- court. Those -- -- unfortunately. Once again a rule not the time that drug to Long Island. And that no no no look -- do we you you're educating us. And hopefully I'll be able to get through -- and we've we've. We'd love to keep doing these interviews and -- feel like. We understand what the situation is and they appears in the hope and change appreciated time more than just have a good -- are. Double up.