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tv   Campaign 2020 Virtual Public Forum on Justice Reform with Massachusetts...  CSPAN  August 11, 2020 7:06am-9:01am EDT

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the contenders about the men who ran man who ran for the presidency and lost but changed political history all week at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the 1884 presidential campaign james blake. edward markey and his primary challenger take part in separate town hall forums. the advocacy groups organized the event. the primary is on september 1. good evening. welcome to this evening's program. executive director at sussex university. i'm divided -- delighted that
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you have joined us. was democratic with democratic candidates for the united states senate. senator ed markey. it is the oldest continuously operating free lecture series in america this evening sussex university continues to honor the storied legacy of the forum by preventing programs. that illuminate key issues facing our country and the world today i wish to thank joe kennedy and ed markey for participating in this important exchange on justice reform also think you to the justice reform coalition in the member organizations for your impactful advocacy around justice reform. and for inviting sussex
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university to participate in these important public forums. thank you to sussex university social apology. the assistance and wisdom that made this evening's program possible. to the lowell institute for the generous support that makes programs like this possible into our longtime partner is now my pleasure to introduce jennifer love williams. she serves as the cochair of the working group formally incarcerated people for black and pink national. also the creator and founder of the love project. they recently released lgbt queue people in massachusetts, new york and new jersey.
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>> a warm welcome to all. this town meeting is no accident. it is the result of a community-based organization that has a community to serve us all. we witness our neighbors gobbled up by the same system. each day we fight to create the kind of community that we will all want to live in one that is resourced with housing, education and transportation. one allows trauma and neglect
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that we enjoy at the hands of the government. we want them to be accountable to us. inclusive to black people. people of color transgender people. workers. citizens for juvenile justice disability action families for justice into killing. sisters unchanged. this is a special organization and i have the pleasure of introducing you to him tonight. it is a historic event. it was organized by the formerly incarcerated people.
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and marks an important step of centering the voices of those directly affected by those affected by incarceration in the legal system. many organizations that had worked very hard and many individuals to organize this event. many of them who are calling for significant and meaningful change. as well as the voices of people who are calling for abolition. to take a moment to do a little bit of housekeeping. it is also historic for us because it is opening the door and beginning to build the platform of what we refer to as the people's assembly process which is important in that it creates an opportunity for people who are elected to office that a representing our communities particularly are
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black and brown communities that have been most directly affected. the way forward in terms of carrying our concerns and her messages inner voices. again, thank you very much little but housekeeping i want to touch upon. by now you have probably attended several of these virtual events folks that are on here that are also listening. your microphones are muted your video is turned off and we cannot take your comments in the chat box however we will share relative information with you there. we do want to hear from you we have the question some of you sent in earlier and our producers are minor routine the q&a box you can open with a button at the bottom of the screen add questions i will
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come up for you during this event. finally, this talk is being recorded by wgbh network and will be published on their website are called mission and organizations will also had access to this recording and will share it with you when it is published. a big thank you again to the forum network and also the form at sussex university for sponsoring this event. without further ado we will dump -- jump right to it and we will introduce our congressmen joe kennedy the third he is serving his fourth term representing massachusetts district and it is currently a u.s. senate candidate. the former peace corps member. legal aid volunteer and assistant district attorney. he serves on the house energy
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and commerce committee. on the issues of healthcare in economics and civil rights. and a politics that are inclusive. representative and fear. thank you. for joining us and welcome. in the folks that will participate in this discussion. i think it's critically important you and all of the folks that came together to make this possible.
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jennifer love i think you as well. i do want to check on this. i jumped in to a democratic primary against the tenant. i believe that in order for massachusetts in our country to see the change that we need work in a need stronger leadership. the fact is nine months or ten months or ten months ago when i got in this race there were 500,000 people that were homeless and 37 million that were going hungry. one of the largest providers of healthcare in the nation. i believe that even more so now. over the course of the past several months we have seen hundred 50,000 people die largely from a virus that affects disproportionately
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black and brown and immigrant communities. we have seen over 4 million get sick we have seen a country that allows george floyd to die. and we've a criminal justice system. those were some of the lessons that i learned. they worked in the boston housing court. back in 2008 and 2009. i was there every thursday. trying to keep families in their homes. the justice system through their eyes. for those head it in contact
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with our justice system before. for those that were scared of what that might be. the bullying and the intimidation. the fact that someone would just dangle a few bucks in front of them and threaten them. this to spite the despite the fact that the rights of those tenants that i would've had head that been there. would've been the same. it was a justice denied day after day. that's what got us interested in the justice system. as an entry-level prosecutor for two and half years or so i sought every thought every single day the compounding impact of health and addiction. every single day it is what has led me to champion the cause to fund our legal aid system.
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it led me to author of numerous pieces of legislation. any given night 80 to 90% of the incarcerated individuals in our jail suffer from mental illness. thank you congressman. the panelists that are asking questions. pushing forward. a mother of two and a director
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of programs at families for justice thank you. congressman joe cannot t in april 2020 serving a 26 month federal system. died as a result of covid-19. twenty-eight days after giving birth. while on a ventilator in addition to the newborn daughter. for 26 month drug sentence turned into a death sentence. states including massachusetts have passed sentencing or alternatives. in giving those incarceration. it was a program that will benefit them in their family. we heard that after the august congressional research. it will be introduced by representatives have you
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supported that for states working on parents. thank you ma'am. for the question. the story you tell is hard lined. under no circumstances should the 26 month sentence or any of that nature. in depth behind bars. i had supported that appropriation. yes i support as described. i will certainly take a look at it i have not seen the text of at this point. our system needs to do more to recognize the lived reality and experiences of families
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that are subject to criminal justice system. it means not just a system it means a broken family and means children in foster care or living somewhere else. that should not be the intent of our system. to the extent that is what is happening. i worked very closely on a number of issues. i will look forward to engaging with her tomorrow about this piece of legislation. >> next step we have jerome. and a survivor of solitary confinement who focuses on
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implementing to interpersonal harm outside of police impressions. after the passage of the first setback. we have the trump administration aggressively prosecute and sentence individuals for drugs. while slow walking the exercise the authority to grant home confinement individuals for covid-19. with the pin tenmac. there is increased funding. no meaningful investment for the black and brown community. they are produced proposing a new 15 million-dollar women's present in a proposal for a new jail in sussex county. you had stated that the need to consider the need for
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incarceration. the need to restructure law enforcement to assist people who are struggling. where do you stand on the reallocation of resources to communities and do you support the campaign. until we first determine what else as possible. with that building budget with the community led initiatives. as i stated in partial response to that last question what we have seen over the course of our nation's history. the underinvestment in community color across our nation. what we need to do at this moment is not to continue to invest money and incarceration. make sure we had designated
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money. and then programs that can assist with that. from issues around the health care. it has been one of my major areas of focus to education the costs of early cost of early child care in the state. in 18 years to save for one. study after show you while show you some of the best knowledge. rather than building new jails in punitive treatment. we should be investing in structures to ensure that every single child has a chance to compete in this. i would support that campaign to ensure that we are making the investments in our community besides building another jail.
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was or any part that i didn't get to. was or any part that i didn't get to. thank you congressman. next up we have a former incarcerated mother who lost her daughter to gun violence while she was incarcerated inside a federal prison. you publicly stated that you support ending life without parole in massachusetts and on the federal level on minors only. they were killed by violence. they do not believe in locking people up and turn away the key. from experience i know that prisons do not equate to individual accountability and
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public safety. would you call for massachusetts and family to end with life without parole sentences for everyone this is an issue i've thought an awful lot about. the violence has touched far too many american families. and this one candidly has been one that i had had to wrestle with. a man who has killed a member of my own family. but he was given the option for parole.
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i've thought about this a lot of late. i recently came out in favor of ending life without parole sentences. i do think it's important to make sure that voices of victims in the victim's families are heard are in those parole hearings. i think it's important that those voices are given the audience that they need. i also think for folks that have been for those head been incarcerated for 50 or 60 years or longer. they should be given the chance to make the chance for
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their liberty. i want to make sure those victims voices are heard in the process. next we have quentin who is a survivor of incest he was in the trade at 15. he is now an organizer with outreach project of boston. quinn, your question. congressman. i come to you. hidden because of the criminalization of me and my fellow workers make it dangerous to show my face. i come to you hated because i've never been voiceless. in 2018 thousand my fellow workers prevent the passage.
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they claim to hold online platforms accountable. for that protection and will being of the trafficking workers. as a coalition we opposed the bill as it resulted in workers being what we relied on for safety and security. workers became more vulnerable. with more of us in poverty more of us living on the streets. and even some of us killed. now it is law and causing further harm from the perspective of those that they need to attempt. so they can continue to be
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concerned about. though current work. i have heard from advocates and activists and voices like yours that have helped me to understand that perhaps the best of intentions across the debate it has led to a more dangerous reality for workers. and has put their safety at risk. that's obviously the last thing in the world we want to do. if there is an example of an
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industry that is going to process it might be that kind of work. i've done my best to study this issue. i do believe that the time has come to decriminalize. i do think that we need to and i would welcome your feedback on how to do this right how do we make sure there is adequate protections and in all likelihood the criminal penalties. i want to make sure that we get people are going to be able to operate safely securely while also protecting
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those that might be subject to exploitation. and i think there's a way to do that. i would welcome your feedback quinn. >> next step we had harold adams who is incarcerated person and the founder of the boston community of friends and relatives of prisoners harold, your question. congressman candy i became a jailhouse lawyer in prison i was able to get seven people out of prison through studying the law. no other politically unpopular group has have the access to the courts in the way that incarcerated people have.
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to ensure that all incarcerated persons can pursue legal remedies. would you also a cosponsor for legislation to repeal the present litigation act to ensure that all incarcerated persons can pursue legal remedies through unjust conditions. without question. first off. it's an honor to be with you. thank you for sharing that story. enter your incredible work. to use a lot to actually bring about justice particularly for those when injustice was done. the fact is that our system has strategically and deliberately limited the rights of incarcerated individuals.
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as i was learning more about this. it's a bit baffling that we put greater protections on civil rights like habeas corpus rather than actually expand them to make sure that someone incarcerated does have it increased to those rights. if there is evidence of such a thing we should have a system that encourages that. absolutely. i'm working with my staff now for a couple months on legislation that should look at that. i do think it is critically important. thank you sir. next we have cassandra who is
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the coordinator for massachusetts against solitary. and the organizer for the unitary universalist. and a member of the families for justice act. who has been working on criminal reform for 11 plus years. cassandra, your question. >> think you. solitary confinement has been in practice in jails and prisons such as the segregated housing unit, the special management union. administrative segregation and restrictive housing. solitary confinement is disproportionately used against black and brown people people with disabilities lgbt q plus individuals and people
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with mental illness and icy detainees. regardless of what is called short and long-term isolation causes lasting harm to men, women and children on top of that drama of being incarcerated. it is a courtship by the united nations. would you author or cosponsor legislation to end the torturous practice of solitary confinement. >> i think you had stated beautifully. this is a practice that has been recognized by international bodies as torture. the idea that we would take someone who was physically or
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intellectually disabled or somehow different and think of the appropriate way of keeping them was going to leave them alone locked up is for extended periods of time on end. the appropriate way to treat a human being is ludicrous. the short answer. is yes. thank you for your work. thank you very much congressman. we are going to introduce mr. derek washington. susan baranowski prison in massachusetts serving a life without parole sentence and working to restore the voting rights of incarcerated people. you may remember that until very recently incarcerated people in massachusetts have the right to vote.
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and derek is doing a lot of work leaving the campaign. let's hear from derek. >> my name is derek watson. it is indeed just a pleasure to have this opportunity to share my thoughts and provide some insight about incarcerated suffrage. these conditions are horrible and it is beyond punishment. the continuous torture to say the least. i believe the conditions are the way they are because we don't have representation just been able to pick the people up. because we can't do that we
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don't had representatives or legislation are public officials coming in their looking at the full food we eat or the brown water we drink. as not being able to see our mothers and our kids in our families for months on end. we are locked down 30 plus hours from others. there is camera phones a capture of the bs that they do. i'm sure voting and having that representation will be away to snuff that behavior out and i think society is only as good as those at the bottom of it. so to invest into society is
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to invest into those incarcerated by providing them the vote. teaching them to value their society by allowing them to engage in civic duties teaching them and educating them so my position as where do you all stand on incarcerated suffrage because without suffrage we are suffering. grateful that you made the time mister washington to speak with me tonight. thank you for your advocacy. i agree. it has long not made sense to me that the remedy for someone breaking the law is that they would lose their ability to cast what was defined by our founders of our country and the god-given right which is the right to vote.
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i agree that incarcerated individuals should have that right and we will work to make sure that that is the case. thank you for your work sir. think human congressmen. we are moving from the panelist questions now and we are going to open up the questions from our audience and the start with the first question you have emphasized the urgent need for change during your campaign but just two years ago when there were multiple opportunities to support reform and change in candidates especially in the area of justice including racial wrongs. in each and every case used it with the status quote
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candidates. and against the reform and change candidates. how do you reconcile that. mister holman, thank you for that question. i'm proud of my record campaigning that they've start thought about stuck thought about change across the country. many others across our nation. that helped us. actually hold this administration accountable through impeachment. pass the legislation like tacking down on gun violence. with the democracy reform. ending political gerrymandering. with regards to the specifics that you mentioned the races
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that i mentioned. michael capuano was mentor. the first job in office was for my father. it was a very tough choice. and ultimately i made a decision to support him. i thought that leadership was important. i never doubted what they would bring to massachusetts. and she has done that and more. and part of the record that i had put forth. i had put that up against anybody else in this race. the important in this race. thank you.
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our next question is from registration. it was sent and at the time of registration. congressman, you are a cosponsor of the more act. the bill has not moved because you asked for a second hearing directly directly affected people are asking if you would waive jurisdiction on the bill. so could be voted on in september. like advocates have been fighting for. will you commit to waving jurisdiction. i had been pushing for the bill to actually move through. it is held up in the energy committee. i'm not the one that is able to claim the wave of jurisdiction. however i can push to move that however i can push to
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move that if there is some confusion over that. i'm happy to clear that up with anybody off-line afterwards. i called for that hearing with advocates not to try to prevent the movie of the legislation. but to enhance the pace to which we could actually get the bill passed. just to be clear i think the person that is asking the question. they were clear about understanding that you don't sit on that it is not in the committee. there are the understanding is that you had requested a second hearing prior to a belt
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being voted on. they were asking if you are going to move for that bill to be heard. my point was. i'm happy to engage with whoever is there about this question. the intent was to actually move the bill not delayed. it would actually accelerate the passages of the bill but not put up barriers to it. i'm happy to engage with it. not the chairman of the committee i'm not sure whether we get to decide or not. i'm happy to engage in that conversation. i will do whatever he can to help move that bill.
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i just wanted to present the question as it was asked. the next question from the question and answers. some of the highest rates of sexual violence while in custody. they were meant to protect incarcerated people. a weapon against the people. it is meant to protect. will you work with them and to file legislation to make this lot better and with a focus on protecting lgbt q plus. the bill does not go far enough to protect this. and the incarcerated individuals. there need to be additional protections put in place.
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i'm happy to work with any of our organizations to make sure that we are able to do so. the next question do you support providing undocumented immigrants. this is an issue of basic dignity. i had supported drivers license for undocumented immigrants for long time now. just recently i met with a woman in boston. she got up every morning. she got up every morning to go to be a driver. every morning when they were still sleeping they kiss them goodbye and didn't know if she would come but at night to be
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there with them because of the risk that she got pulled over. she broke down in tears wondering who she would call to tell her children and try to care for her kids. yes we needed to provide drivers licenses for the undocumented. and enter our our economy. the members and what we have. if they're gonna be driving they may have been licensed appropriately. 100% support. i met with advocates outside the state house that they were protesting. in demanding that they actually moved that
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legislation and i called a number of legislators there to try to push that bill forward as well. i continue to support those efforts. there would be many bills that would increase that. in an act again to improve the parole board reform. what efforts have you take it to support these efforts do you think the bells are important and how much energy had you put into these bills. i think they are important. most of them the federal format is critical and important. but obviously more needs to be done.
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i do support those efforts that you talked about. i think massachusetts has a chance with state-level reforms. for that humane criminal you mean criminal justice system going forward. i am very happy to try to engage in do more. >> our next question. what is the position on the decriminalization of drugs. what will you do to address the legacy of the racist war on drugs. great question. i've come out for the legalization of marijuana.
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because of my work with an addiction community. it gave me some of the potentials. some of the issues around medicinal use of certain things that show some promise. it allows to address the issues. i think more study there is needed but the initial research out of at is actually quite promising which is wonderful news for folks suffering from those conditions and others. we have seen an enormous desperate impact.
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every means re-examining art federal criminal justice system. and addressing the ways it has led to the some static injustice for families that had lost a father or mother to incarceration. i'm happy to engage more obviously. i do think there is a lesson from the past several years. it was one of the reasons why i was focused on mental health addiction. i saw the every day. you will not prosecute your way out of this. can access with the care that they need.
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the consequence of that. is that we arrest people. that is not humane. that is not right or just. that is the reason why it was dropping in the first place. we have a few more minutes to get in a couple more questions. >> i'm doing my best also to try to go back and forth. how do you reconcile being a former prosecutor and having a cop as your criminal justice advisor. in a political climate that calls for alternatives to the judicial system. and i have a cop of the criminal justice advisor. i had one of the highest
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african-american elected officials in boston. who has been a champion in criminal justice reform. i think insight here it is valuable. not the only person that i go to. the positions i've taken here tonight should be a reflection about the ways in which the reforms are necessary in order to create a more justice system. and the fact that i ran for office in the first place because i saw the ways in which a system was feeling our people. we were locking people up who were sick and poor. i remember being there one day and the judge called out the defendant by name and asked them what he was doing back in court so quickly.
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i think his swords out of us were. they asked him if he was actually looking to be incarcerated so that he could spend the winter behind bars with a warm place to go to bed. if that's our criminal justice system we have failed. i ran for office because i felt the way in which we were that is not right and it's not just. >> i would like to take a little bit of privilege here. to bear down a little bit on that question. it is coming from a community with a people led assembly process. what is my community going to
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on this. it was a people assembly process. what they're asking particularly as an addition to whatever else you are centering the advisors. do you think it is important and what you commit to having people as advisors to your campaign particularly around the issue of criminal legal reform. and reauthorization of funding. forgive me for not wanting to address it that way. a form that you are probably aware of. at south bay. at the house correction.
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i have engaged through community activists. to actually discuss reforms from folks who are currently incarcerated. there are ideas for import reform. they do hear from incarcerated individuals about their experience. let me do a check in. we are coming down to the last two minutes of our time. and that question will be dealing it's possible to create meaningful reform during this political climate. not only possible in the midst
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of this political climate. i gave up my seat for the house of representatives to jump in to a race for senate. i believe in our people and our home. i believe they are so much better than the government and country that we are seen. i will be brief here. i know not i know how much time. with any of his colleagues the most optimistic member of congress by far was john lewis. i dear friend of mine. a man who have been arrested over 44 times. through it all, the fact that
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mister lewis could still seek goodness and everybody and he could still see his way to fight the change. he said the human capacity to change. they tried to do that part. i hope to earn their support. thank you very much for the time that you had spent with us this evening. we look for to watching how things will unfold. .. ..
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tonight our parents will ask you questions. closest to the heart. we have lived the racist and abusive policing and the prison system itself. we have witnessed our family and neighbors -- tonight we will ask him to ask questions or set the stage to relevant these all policies and craft new and life-sustaining ones. each day would fight to great the kind of community we all want to live in. resources with housing, education, and transportation. one that allows for transformation and genuine healing from the traumas and the collective we enter at the hands of the government. we want our government to be accountable to us. inclusive of black people, first
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nation people, people of color, transgender people, sex workers, drug users and the unsheltered. our coalition includes the schmidt black and pink, the charles hamilton institute for race and justice, citizens for juvenile justice, disability action, families for justice and healing, sisters unchained, swap boston, the professional network of the urban league of massachusetts and the national council for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls. >> thank you for those extraordinarily powerful words. beginning. i'm susan spurlock, executive director at suffolk university. i'm delighted that your joint does for the second part of our back-to-back forums on justice reform with the democratic candidates for the united states
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senate, congressman joe kennedy and senator ed markey here we just wrapped up a really illuminating conversation with congressman kennedy, and we're looking forward to welcoming senator ed markey shortly. i weigh background we are the oldest continuously operating pre-lecture series in america. this evening suffolk university continues to honor the stories legacy of the form by presenting programs such as this evening that illuminate key issues facing our country in the world today. i wish to thank congressman kennedy and senator markey for participating in this important exchange on justice reform. also thank you to the justice reform coalition. and its member organizations for your impactful and powerful advocacy around justice reform,
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and for inviting suffolk university to participate in these important public forums. thank you to suffolk university sociology professors susan for her infallible wisdom that made this evening possible for the role institute, the lowell institute, for your generous support for programming and are longtime partner wgbh forum network. you've already spoken. i want to share a little bit about you, , jen. i think it's important for our audience to know the power of your place in this movement. jen is a form incarcerated transgender -- trans-woman of color who serves as the coach of the working group formerly incarcerated people for black and pink nationals pictures also the creator and founder of the jennifer love project which provides care packages to
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recently released and soon to be released lgbtq plus people in massachusetts, new york and new jersey. thank you so much, jen. thank you, susan. before jen comes on and begins to go to the line of questions we want to say welcome to senator markey for joining us this evening on this historic event. i am andrea james, and we do need to start the event. it's the first massachusetts senate debate organized by formerly incarcerated people. it makes an important -- that marks an important step toward sintering the voices of those directly impacted by the criminal legal system and my incarceration. for those of you who are just joining us and were not with us during the first round, a couple of housekeeping points just so you are aware. your microphones are muted.
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your video is turned off and we cannot take your comments in the chat box. however, we will share relevant information with you there. we do not want -- we do want to hear from you. we have the questions, some of you sent in earlier when you registered and are producers are monitoring the q&a box. you can open with the button at the bottom of your screen. please add questions that come up for you during this event. the talk is being recorded by wgbh forum network and we will, and it will be published on the website here are coalition and organization will also have access to this recording and we will share with you when it is published. hankie to wgbh forum networks and ford call for him at suffolk university for this historic event. without further ado, senator, i would like to welcome you. senator markey assert in the united states senate since 2013 and is consistently delivered
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for the people of massachusetts throughout his career. senator markey has worked towards much-needed criminal justice reform recognizing that the justice system disproportionally incarcerates black americans and people of color. he cosponsored senator booker is next step and working to great comprehensive reform the sentencing guidelines. prison conditions, law enforcement training and increased funding for prisoner reentry. senator markey a supportive of reinstating the right to vote in federal elections for formerly incarcerate individuals and expunging the records for those or unfairly incarcerate a result of the failed war on drugs. senator, thank you for joining us, and welcome. i am going to turn over now to jennifer who will begin the question and answers.
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>> first up, we have -- who's a form incarcerated boston president, mother of two michael director programs at families for justice and healing. romilda. >> i'm going to back up a little bit as a matter fact, because it's my fault, senator, i would more than be happy to provide you with the opportunity for your opening remarks. please, senator. >> thank you so much, and thank you for all of your great work and for organizing this -- i agree with you -- very important, timely forum on these issues. we are at a a turning point inr country's history. it's not just the buildings that are smoldering. it's the very soul of our country, which is on fire. and we know that we have to do
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something about the conditions in our country. we can see who the most vulnerable people are. they are poor, black, brown, immigrates, they are essential workers who have been hit the hardest. we have to make sure in the light of the murder of george floyd that families have the ability to make the police accountable, and that's legislation which we have introduced. we know right now that we're 5% of the world's population in the united states but with 25% of the prisoners in the world. that is absolutely unacceptable. we're 5% of the world's population, when the three women in the world are behind bars in the united states. that's just unacceptable. you can tell a lot about a nation by who it imprisons. some countries it is political prisoners, journalistic in the united states we disproportionally imprisoned those who are black, brown, are
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poor, have mental illnesses, who have addiction issues, and they wind up in prison. we just have to change this system because disproportionate numbers we can see who gets put in. people all across the country are marching, praying, raising their voices. that's why senator cory booker and and i have introduced the next step act. it will do this. it will reduce harsh minimums for not violent drug offenses and limit the disparity between crack and cocaine powder cocaine senses. it will in the prohibition on marijuana, expunge records and reinvest in communities most time by the war on drugs. it will ban the box by prohibiting federal employees and contractors from asking a
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job applicant about the criminal history until the very final stages of the interview process so the form incarcerated prisoners get a more fair more objective shot at finding meaningful employment. it removes the barriers to people with criminal convictions to receiving an occupational license for jobs such as hairdressers and taxi drivers. reinstates the right to vote in federal elections for formerly incarcerated prisoners. it creates a federal pathway for sealing the records of nonviolent drug offenses for adults to automatically sealing and in some cases expunging juvenile records and ensures that anyone released from federal prison receive meaningful assistance in obtaining a photo id, versatility, social security card, a work authorization document. it provides better training for law enforcement officers in implicit racial bias de-escalation and use of force and advanced racial and
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religious profiling and it improves the reporting of police use of force instances. so cory booker die half introduces legislation, and cargo will be once we get rid of donald trump, once we fumigate the sin of republican control, that that's the agenda for next year to ensure that our criminal justice system actually deserves the word justice being attached to it. so i thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity to be here with you this evening, and really looking forward to the conversation. >> thank you so much, senator, and now we will move to jennifer who will be asking, presenting the pedals who will be asking questions. >> okay. first up we have romilda pereira who is a form incarcerated boston resident, mother of two and a director of programs at families for justice and
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healing. romilda, your question. >> nikki. good evening, con marquee. in april 2020 -- serbia 26 month federal service for drugs died result of covid-19 come just 20 days after giving birth via c-section while on a ventilator. in addition to her newborn daughter she left behind five other children, her 26 month drug since turned turned into a death sentence leaving her children without their mother. states included messages passed alternative to diverse parents and caregivers from incarceration into programs that would better service them and their families. we hear after the august congressional recess, an alternative bill will be introduced by representative john paul and senator wyden. when you support that bill and also have you supported the current four appropriations for states working on alternative?
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>> yes, yes, i will. i will support that legislation. children and families must be kept together at all costs. we need to ensure that we deal with the reality that, especially in this case that you're talking about, with women, that it many times has a profound impact upon children in the same family. that's why the whole policy right now should just be compassion and release. if there's any risk is a danger to be exposed to covid that could lead to illness, , that could lead to death, ripple effect negative consequences are absolutely massive. my belief is that we have to ensure that we use compassionate
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release and that's what i'm going to be supporting senator wyden spill which is the senate version of this bill so that we support the children come that we support the parents of the children so that they can do the absolute best to make sure there isn't a catastrophic consequence that results from incarceration. >> thank you. >> thank you. next up we have jurrell laronal now, a form incarcerated organizer at families for justice and using come at a survivor of solitary confinement focuses on alternative responses to interpersonal harm outside of police and prisons. jurrell, your question. >> thank you, jennifer. how are you doing, senator? >> how're you doing?
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great. >> two years after the passage of the first step act we continue to see the trump administration aggressively prosecute and sentence individuals for drugs and slow walk or fail to exercise its authorities to grant home confinement individuals at high risk for covid-19. even here in massachusetts during a pandemic when the economy has been flatlined there is increased funding for the department of corrections and no money for investments in brown and black committees. in addition massachusetts governor baker is proposing to fill the new $52 million women prison and there's proposal for new jail in suffolk county. congressman markey, your stated that one of your criminal justice priorities is to reinvest in communities. specifically, what are you doing about this as a priority, and do you support the campaign to stop the new women's prison in massachusetts and that we first
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determine what else is possible to d incarcerated women and shift the 52 my dollars prison building budget into a community led initiative? >> thank you, and as you heard in my opening when us talking about the fact that one in three women in prison and the women are imprisoned in the united states, it's just absolutely wrong. so we don't need any new jails. we need to move incarceration education. we need to focus upon prevention and alternatives to incarceration. so from my perspective you put your finger right on it, especially with regard to new jail cells for women in the state of massachusetts. we have to find a way to reduce the number of women who are
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being put behind bars in the commonwealth. that's why i target with rachel wallace, the district attorney of suffolk county, in working to find better ways of dealing with this issue but building a new jail is not a good way to solve that problem. so i agree with you, trammell. thank you. >> thank you. >> next up we have leslie credle, form incarcerated mother who lost her daughter to gun violence while she was incarcerated inside a federal prison. leslie, your question. >> good evening, senator markey. >> good eating. >> i said before you as a surviving mom was incarcerated when my 22-year-old daughter was killed by violence. i am also a person who does not believe in locking people up and
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throwing away the key. from experience, i know that prisons did not equate to individual accountability and public safety. would you, senator, publicly call for massachusetts and federally to end life without parole sentences? >> yes, i don't believe that in massachusetts we should have life without parole. we have to create a world where everyone has a chance to redeem themselves, to show that they can reenter into society. and i think that that is the only way in which we should be thinking about these issues, and from my perspective we should be first in line in the country in thinking in this way.
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again, we have an overincarceration problem in our country. it is absolutely imperative that we take your advice and we move, leslie come in that direction. so sorry about your loss to violence. we should be thinking of better and smarter ways of preventing violence, preventing the need for incarceration. but if people are incarcerated has to be a hope for parole. there has to be some reason to live and ultimately i believe that we should be the model for creating that the kind of a syn massachusetts. >> great, thank you. >> thank you. >> next up we have quinn who is a survivor of incest who entered the sex trade at the age of 15
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effort in her own and is now an organizer with the sex workers outreach project in boston. quinn, your question hi, senator. i come to you hidden because of criminalization of me and my fellow workers makes it dangerous to show my face. i come to you hidden but i have never been voiceless. in 2018 i and thousands of fellow workers lobbied calls to organized to prevent the passage of the spec a bill that claimed jeweled online platforms accountable for the role in sex trafficking. without consideration for the necessity of these platforms while being a consensual sex worker and trafficking victim. as a coalition we opposed the bill a result of the sex workers been systematically removed from these platforms. our ability to how we control work and destroyed networks that we relied on her safety and
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security. workers who became more fun as we lost our income and greece without a lot of us it with an protect one another. leading to more of us in public, more of us on the street, mortising traffic and even some of us being killed. now that it's a law, and causing further harm to those who it was intended to protect and light of the advancing new federal bill, the protect act, we continue to be concerned about come to support the full dickens agent of sex work of the state and federal level? >> yes, i do. yes, i do. there is a spectrum of sex work that ranges from trafficking to consensual sex work, and the most marginalized members of the lgbtq community including transgender individuals, people
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of color, lgbtq youths are just partially represented in sex work, and we know that it has negatively impacted people once worked online to seek safe sex work conditions. this is an error here were in my opinion it's necessary to ensure that this argument for eliminating trafficking which was compelling but now it's our responsibility to listen to sex workers and advocates to work together on how to move forward and i support that effort to decriminalize so that we are able to deal more justly with the individuals who are in the sex work sector.
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>> thank you, senator. >> next up we have harold adams who is a form incarcerated person and founder of boston community -- relatives of present. harold, your question. >> hello, senator i served 31 years in prison in massachusetts. i became a jailhouse lawyer during that time. i was able to get seven people out of prison through studying the law. the constitution affords the right of access to the court. no other politically unpopular group has had their access to the courts restricted in the way that incarcerated persons have. to ensure that all incarcerated persons can pursue legal
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remedies to unjust conditions, would you author or cosponsored legislation to repeal the prison litigation act to ensure that all incarcerated persons can pursue legal remedies to unjust conditions? >> absolutely. there has to be a are right for people who are incarcerated to be able to exercise their constitutional rights. they have to have an ability to be able to have legal recourse. and for somebody who like you who, 41 years, has been playing that role, you know that the system is one that should allow for those incarcerated to raise issues that otherwise would never be raised. so yes, , yes, i agree with you. that should be something that we
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provide in our country for everyone, including those who are incarcerated so that they may exercise their constitutional rights. so my answer is yes. thank you, bill. and thank you for raising this. thank you for 41 years. >> yes, actually 31 years. >> thirty-one years. and you you said you were able to free how many people? >> seven. >> seven people. >> yes. >> thank you for that. and it only goes to show that the rights of the incarcerated should be given the full protection of anyone who is not incarcerated, and you are living proof that if given the opportunity there's a lot of injustice which is built into the criminal justice system in our country. so thank thank you so much, had come for all your great work. >> thank you, senator. >> okay. next up we have cassondra who is
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the coordinator of massachusetts against solitary and the senior organizer for unitary, unitarian universalist mass action network, a form incarcerated mother and a number of families for justice at healing us in working on criminal justice reform for 11 years. your question. >> thank you, jennifer. senator markey, solitary confinement has been in practice in jails and prisons under various names such as sh you, segregated housing units, smu, special management units, ddu, the department disciplinary unit, administrative segregation of restrictive housing. solitary confinement is disproportionately used against black and brown people, people with disabilities, lgbtq plus
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individuals, religious minorities, and people with mental illnesses and ice detainees. studies have shown that regardless of what it's called, short and long-term isolation causes long-lasting physical and psychological harm to men, women, and children on top of the trauma of being incarcerated. solitary confinement has been recognized as a form of torture by the united nations. senator markey would you author or cosponsored legislation to end the tortures practice of solitary confinement? >> yes, i would, cassandra. thank you for that i think ask a question. because as you point out, for the rest of the world, they consider solitary confinement to
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be torture. here in the united states it's just a matter of practice, and so, so what we should be doing is dealing with these issues, healthcare perspective, a mental healthcare perspective. when people are put in solitary confinement, in many instances because they have issues that need treatments. and that's what we should be funding. we should be funding the healthcare side of this issue. we know that 85% of the people who are incarcerated at some relationship with substance abuse. that's almost always correlated with mental health issues. what happens operationally, however, is the prison system
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then looks at them and says well, they are black, brown, they are lgbtq, they have disabilities, they are eyes pressures, they are immigrants, we will just put them in solitary. that's not realistic, you know? my wife is a psychiatrist. my wife was a chief of behavioral medicine at the national institutes of health. what we need to do is ensure that we are providing they care for prisoners. and i will just say this. it's one of the reasons why i've introduced legislation to make sure that people who don't, who can't make bail, they keep their medical treatment. people who are in prison, they keep their medical treatment. and once people leave, they did it immediately. so that they're able to stay inside the medical system the hallway. so my answer to you is, yes, i
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will sponsor legislation to abolish solitary confinement. it's wrong. the rest of the world has that conclusion already. but again it just keeps coming back to the fact that in our country we believe as a philosophy in incarceration, and it is a proven pathway to failure in our society. solitary confinement is just a natural extension of this misguided thinking in our society so my answer to you is yes, absolutely it should be abolished, and i will support legislation to accomplish that goal. it is the only humane way of to be treating pressures, so thank you so much. it causes more problems come in my opinion, than it solves. the whole problem then just
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accelerates, gets exasperated. it is even worse after solitary confinement so let's just -- will do everything we can to abolish solitary confinement. thank you so much. >> thank you, congressman, and thank you. we are proud of this event as we've already commented earlier because of the historic significance. and because this is part of a demonstration of what peoples assembly process looks like, that includes the people speaking to those who are the elected. and that includes also if our organizing work, senator, the voices of our people who are inside of prisons come up incarcerated people. i would like to introduce to you, senator, derrick washington. derek is incarcerated at susan baranowski in massachusetts. he is serving a life without parole sentence, and working to
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restore the voting rights of incarcerated people in massachusetts. here is derrick washington, senator. >> my name is derek washington and this is indeed a pleasure just to have this opportunity to say my thoughts and provide some insight about incarcerated suffrage. at susan baranowski these conditions are horrible. it's the on punishment. it's continuous torture, to say the least. i believe the conditions are the way they are because we don't have representation. representation simply just being able to pick the people who make the laws that govern our everyday environments, because we can't do that, we don't have represented the we don't have legislators. we don't have public officials coming in here looking at the
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food we eat, the brown water we drink, ask not able to see our mothers, our kids, our families, our siblings for months on end. we are locked down 30 plus hours in day-to-day recreation. we have races cfos, openly racist who come to work and expressed their hate towards black and brown people that they can express in society because the camera phones capture or the voice, the bs that they do. but i think, in fact, i'm sure -- having that representation would be a way to snuff that behavior out. and i think a society is only as good as of those at the bottom of it. so to invest in society is to invest into those incarcerated by providing them the vote. teaching them to value their society by allowing them to
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engage in civic duties. teaching them, educating them. so my position is where do you stand on incarcerated suffrage? >> thank you, thank you, derrich for that question. yeah, absolutely i am committed to ending mass incarceration in our country. so many people are there because we conducted this war on drugs, and we owe an apology to an entire generation of african-american young men. we owe an apology. one of the ways in which we should begin to rectify that, that's what i talked about earlier with regard to the legislation that i've introduced with cory booker, it's that we just in this racist felony
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disenfranchisement that we have in our country. there are 6.1 million people who have lost their right to vote in our country, and it's because of felony charges and it threatens our democracy, it threatens who we are as a society. and i know that those felony disenfranchisement decisions are all very directly related to efforts to criminalize being black in the united states. we just have to end it. we just have to say that black lives matter, black voices matter, black votes matter. and because of an out-of-control criminal system, 6 million
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people have lost their right to vote. and we just have to end of this. we have to restore the right to vote. we have to make it possible for people to be able to register their views in a democracy. on criminal justice issues and other issues, but on criminal justice issues because who is an expert or more than someone whs been a part of the system? and i believe ultimately in human rights, indignity, in equity and i support strongly abolishing felony disenfranchisement in our country, and i will work to accomplish that goal and it is something to give that cory booker and i speak about and that we want to make a part of the fabric of our society that we have to begin to construct beginning on january 20, 2021. we have to move from being at incarceration society to one
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that deals with these issues in the criminal justice system in a much more humane and fairer way and restoring peoples rights to vote should be at the top of the list. >> thank you, congressman markey. we have reached the end of our panelist questions, and we are moving now into our phase of questions from the audience. our first question to you, senator, is, senator markey, how will you include formal incarcerated people in your process thing forward and in decision-making in your office? how would you engage with your constituents who are most impacted by incarceration,
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including residence of the most incarcerated corridor in the commonwealth of massachusetts that spans from nubian square to franklin hill, franklin field? >> thank you so much. well, i would begin by partnering with district attorney rachel who is, i would call her the pioneer in the united states of america in trying to have the complete reevaluation made of the defects in our criminal justice system here and then partnering with her, to listen to those who have been formerly incarcerated or are incarcerated right now. i was over at suffolk county jail just about three weeks ago talking to 25 or 30 prisoners in
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an effort to hear their views on the criminal justice system and what needs to be done. and i think that we need more forums like this. i think that, i think it's going to be imperative for me and anyone who is interested in overhauling the system to listen to the voices of the people who are the experts, and those are the people who have been incarcerated, so that we can change our system for the better probably move of the fort and s my commitment to you, that i will come to the community so i can hear what, in fact, should be changed in the system. i look forward to those for it in the future so that we can to get the partner to overhaul our criminal justice system. >> thank you, senator.
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our next question from the question box is, senator markey, i have yet to hear you give a reason to why you voted for the 1994 crime bill. that bill caused so much pain for thousands in our country. incarcerating more people for longer sentences. why did you vote for it? what we do now to address that? >> well, the entire massachusetts congressional delegation voted for that bill, including senator kennedy. joe biden voted for. nancy pelosi voted for it. and the reason that our entire delegation voted for it was that for the first time there was of violence against women's act provision built into the law. there's also a man on assault weapons that was built into that law. but yes, without question those sentencing provisions were
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wrong, and that's what i said we owe an apology to the entire generation of african-american young men, because of that overincarceration that has occurred. and it's also why, again, coming back to my work cory booker, senator cory booker, that we've introduced the next step act. one of the earlier questioners talked about how, under the first step act, trump is still out there arresting and incarcerating people in an indiscriminate way. and trusting trump, trusting republican prosecutors, especially across this country, is a fool's errand. so for my perspective that's why we need the next step act, which i've already referred to, where
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we have to go back in and as i said earlier, there is an 18 to one sentencing guideline differential between crack cocaine and powdered cocaine, and we know why. because powdered cocaine is a a white suburban drug, and crack cocaine is punished 18 times higher. so we have got to start right there because so much of the incarceration is a drug-related. and that's what cory booker and i are absolutely committed to doing. but then as i i went through al the provisions earlier emmett opening, i will not repeat them all, we have to think comprehensively about what we do to make sure that everyone gets the opportunities which they need in our society, and that's changing the licensing rules that we have come it's making sure that we once and for all
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look at the bail issues and make sure our poor people can't make bail are not almost automatically put into the prison system. we should be abolishing cash bail in our country. we shouldn't be taking away medical benefits for people who can't put up the cash bail. that's what happens right now in our criminal justice system. we just have to look at this in an entirety, and make sure that we once and for all just admit that there's something wrong, again, when 25% of the prisoners in the world are behind bars in the united states. >> thank you, congressman. want to just get you a couple more question before our time is up. senator markey, you are a congressman at the time that an african-american man dj henry was murdered by a police
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officer. the henry family felt dismissed by your inaction and his levels continue to seek justice for dj. what would your done differently to law enforcement accountable for his murder and what we do now? >> well, i strongly support the families effort to reopen the case of the murder of their beloved son, d. j. henry. i cannot fathom the pain and must be sitting watching all the people lost loved ones murdered by the police. they have expressed something that should never have to express, the loss of a child. i joined with the other members of the massachusetts delegation in 2014 and calling of the department of justice, eric
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holder to open a federal investigation into dj henry's murder, and i'm again calling on the attorney general to do his job and offer justice to the henry family and opened this long overdue investigation. i've reached out to the henry family to offer my sincerest apologies and to place event my complete support to take action on this case, and i'm fully at their disposal, and i hope to work with them in the future. >> thank you, congressman. what is your position on reinstating federal parole? >> on reinstating -- they elaborate a little bit? >> federal parole, we have now supervise relief. we have probation, federal parole was eradicated and the question is, would you support the reinstatement of federal
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parole? >> the answer to that question is yes. yes, absolutely. >> okay. senator markey, massachusetts is home to one of the largest southeast asian communities and the united states. after facing violence and genocide in southeast asia many of these individuals resettled in the u.s. into underfunded neighborhoods with a lack of structural support, systemic violence, which many southeast asians to commit crimes of varying degrees. after rebuilding their lives, these community members are now being funneled into the prison to deportation pipeline. facing deportation as a result of past criminal record. what actions are you taking to respond to the south east asian community members impacted by continued detention and deportations during the pandemic? >> well, i was the first to call
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-- i was the first senator to call for no deportations during the coronavirus pandemic. and and i also believe, by the , that people should be released from detention during the coronavirus, where there are no major crimes having been committed. it's dangerous there are people who are imprisoned during this time and we definitely should not have people who are being deported at this time as well. so i was the first senator in both instances, both in indigene and with regard to deportation, to stand up and to say that those practices have to end. and it's true for the southeast asian community but it should be true across the board for in the
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immigrant population in the united states of america. i just believe that we have to have a more humane -- that we are using and so that is something that i call for now five but to go in terms of deportation. >> congressman, will you advocate for ending qualified immunity for all police officers and prison guards in the united states immediately? >> well, you know, elizabeth warren and i introduced the legislation in the united states senate to abolish qualified immunity, and we are intent in seeing that become the law. ayanna pressley introduced similar legislation in the united states house of representatives. so it's our goal to take this
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now distorted policy and to eliminate it in our country. you know, back in 1871 in that brief period of time were civil rights laws were, in fact, past and put on the books, there was a statute that allowed for suing a public officials if they did something wrong. and what happened over the years, as you know, is that the supreme court of the united states slowly but surely shift away -- chip away at the rights of families to be able to sue, to be able to hold these police officers, prison guards accountable for what they had done. so from my perspective it is absolutely imperative that we provide justice for families in our country, that we give them
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the inability to be able to make these officials accountable to them since they are the ones who lost their loved one, who has a loved one who was hard. they should be able to super they should be able to make them accountable. so elizabeth elizabeth warren e the two cosponsors. originally it was, harris and cory booker and i who introduce legislation -- kamala harris -- as a revolution to be able to accomplish that, and from my perspective i think that that's what we have to do. next january we need to have a new agenda for our country, and it's got to be justice. it's got to be criminal justice reform in our country. it's got to be qualified immunity, which is removed. it's got to be healthcare justice, educational justice,
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economic justice, environmental justice. justice on the ballot this november which is why we have to get rid of this racist, criminally negligent president, and next january at noon on january 20 we have to begin a process of putting justice into law in our country. and the repeal of qualified immunity is a big part of this but we just have to keep going down the list in order to make sure that we take each and every part of these issues and we have our own moment. this is a moment of reckoning in our country. the qualified immunity is part of that, and elizabeth and i are committed, as is ayanna, to repeal leak it. but have to go further than that to make sure that we look at every single place where structural racism is built into our system.
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and we know that the criminal justice system is the best example of how black and brown people do not receive full justice in our country. and that has to be our goal next year. >> tank your congressman. we have time for just one more question -- thank you, congressman. i have so many questions that we were not able to get you, and i'm looking through to find a question we can as in a short period of time, but what are your plans, congressman, to help youth of color in this country, particularly in communities that have been most directly affected by the criminal legal system, the war on drugs? what are your plans for creating opportunities for youth of color? >> i'll begin with this right
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now. as the lead democratic author of the telecommunications laws, i create a program in 1996 called the earache, the internet rate, which is a $54 billion program which puts the internet on the desk of every child in america that's my program, $54 billion, roxbury, dorchester, chelsea, poor kids got the technology at the same rate as rich kids. right now is the 12 main kids at in our country without the internet. that's going to lead to homework gap, it's going to lead to a learning gap. it's going to lead to an opportunity gap for all of these kids. so right now i'm down here in washington and i'm going to be battling for $4 billion to make sure that every young person, especially black, brown, poor immigrant kids get access to it. otherwise we are going to create a catastrophe in this country.
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the asian people are going to get left further and further behind. it's going to impair their ability to take advantage of opportunities in their lives, and i have right now all 47 47 democrats signed up with me and we are drawing the line behind my deal to make sure that we get that help to kids. not only on the school desk, but there's no guarantee kids will be in school full-time, it's got to be at home. we can't leave 12 mean kids behind. we know who they are. we can see them now. then we have to intentionally make sure that community college is free, that public colleges in america are free, that we have the job training programs that are free. and i have one bill called dual enrollment or if you're at madison park and your interest in some subject that you can take a course at community college for free, roxbury come
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in to college but we want get these kids in rolled -- enrolled so that you would respect them and they know that we believe in them. my father drove it truck. it wasn't on the school board -- i know the same thing is true for every kid out there. and so it begins with education. it begins with ensuring that we are able to take care of you one of them. i went back to 88 bill st. or my father grew up when i announced for the senator up on the first floor of a triple-decker and i rang the doorbell to see lives there now. my fathers son is a kind senator and out on the porch came a dominican family with their children. the accents are different, but the aspiration is clear the same for that family as my family. we have to ensure that we have a democratization of access opportunity to healthcare, for
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education, for breaking the discriminatory barriers so that every child has what they need and that we stop the future and repair the repression of the country. that is my promisee and people in boston and all across the commonwealth and our country. >> thank you, congressman, and thank you for coming and spending this time with us come for answering the questions, and we appreciate your presence here. we also want to say to everybody who has joined us this evening for this historic event here in massachusetts. we want to thank all of our organizations that have worked so tirelessly to pull this together, citizens for juvenile justice, family for justice as early, disability act, the national council incarcerated and for men incarcerated women and girls, the child institute
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come black and pink boston, sisters unchained, the urban league and, of course, our sponsors at wgbh forum network and the ford fall forum at suffolk university. this was a most important event this evening. we thank all of you for joining us. we thank our audience. thank you for all of your brilliant and provocative questions. and we want to say to everybody, let's stay tuned, stay engaged, and let's see how things play out. thank you again, senator, for joining us, and thank you to everyone. >> thank you. >> later today snort and markey of massachusetts and democratic primary challenger representative joe kennedy faced each other in their final scheduled debate ahead of the september 1 primary. watch live at 7 p.m. eastern on
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c-span. >> c-span has covered every minute of every political convention since 1984 and we are not stopping now. this month pventn would be like none other in history with the coronavirus pandemic still living, plans for both gatherings are being all depict the democrats meet denominate joe biden as the president candidate on monday, president trump will accept his parties nomination the next week. watch c-span at 9 p.m. eastern for live coverage of the democratic convention starting on monday and the republican convention starting next monday august 24. live streaming and on-demand at or listen with the free c-span radio app. c-span, your unfiltered view of politics.
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>> the contenders about the men who ran for the presidency and lost but change political history, all we get 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. .. >> welcome, going to take it quickly. as was laid out. we've got tent poles for the-- setting the scene for


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