tv Private Prisons CSPAN August 28, 2017 3:05pm-4:21pm EDT
foundation for how we got there. i'm not finished with it yet. i think it should be required reading as we move towards policy to deal with this opioid epidemic. >> book tv wants to know what you are reading. send us your summer reading list instagram @booktv, on @book_tv, or on facebook.com/booktv. television for serious readers. next, a conversation about private prisons. toher jones sent a reporter -- this took place at the commonwealth club of california. evening, i am a news anchor and the friday host of
forum. i am glad that marissa is not my editor. if i had to keep my questions to 15 words -- welcome to tonight's forum with the commonwealth club. tonight tackles the question of surrounding for-profit punishment and whether private prisons help or harm the functioning of our criminal antice system, and this is important question because private prisons have been making a comeback under president trump. they are poised to grow under his lawn order pro -- law and order approach to things. the trump administration reversed last years of obama administration directive to phase out privately run federal prisons. twostock prices for the biggest prison companies have just about doubled since election day. those companies are the geo group and course of it -- and -- and core civic.
he's also the author of sliver of light about his imprisonment in iran. [applause] -- she is alsos former undersecretary from the california department of corrections and rehabilitation and a strong opponent of the death penalty. jeannie woodford, thanks for coming. [applause] and a leasee a santos flew in from new york for this. she is an investigative .ournalist she recently wrote an expensive piece on the business of private some of theport and
literally horrific conditions as they are being driven thousands of miles. coming all the way from new york for this. [applause] i want to give the audience some context about the u.s. private prison population. the total population is about 2 million, is that right? what proportion of that is private prisoners? -- 600 thousand people. you have 1.5 million people in state or federal prison. so based on,000 or 2015 numbers held in a private facility. that is a federal private facility or a facility operated by the states that operate the state prisons. it is about 8% of the total prison population. don't include the number
of people held in private immigration detention facilities. around 30,000are people total with two thirds held in private facilities. >> d you know what the figures are in california in terms of california listeners >> we private prisons? had a cap in-state of 4500. and then as a result of the , had to reduce the number of inmates being held in california prisons. contracted -- that number has been coming down but i believe there is still a couple thousand or maybe a little bit more house in private prisons and other states. >> what is the appeal for private prisons and states and
local entities? what do they promise? they sayay argue states money. generally they are cheaper, although there was a federal study by the department of justice. the cause is comparable. some say they cause more in the end. issues like california where private prison companies don't take prisoners with serious medical issues. there's a lot of hidden costs like this. >> that's why they say something when they save $70 per inmate he day, it's a little funds -- little fuzzy.
>> they are cutting a lot of corners and staffing is the main cost of running a prison. >> you know that firsthand from working in a private prison. i did want to flesh out a little bit how prize it -- how private prisons get paid. is it true they get paid per and they haveuse occupancy requirements that they put on states or governments? >> as far as i'm aware it's a per prisoner per contract -- per bed contract. so obviously that can lead to lobbying for certain types of would keep that level the same, such as not reducing mandatory minimums. you are going to have a more steady population of people or
lowering certain criminal penalties. that's how they often have been structured. >> what happens if governments don't meet the occupancy >> the contract at the prison i worked at guaranteed a 95% occupancy rate. rateovernment will pay the were in there. quick so essentially taxpayers. >> what you are describing is an industry that is incentivized to have as many people or the demand for inmates, to keep the and itfor inmates high sounds like you are fighting against laws that would reduce that prison population, such as fighting against reducing
sentencinginimums or reform or leniency or things like that. included in their annual report is exactly those statements. sentences, a change in drug enforcement laws, in immigration status. would actually affect their bottom line and you have to put that in your annual report because you need to let the people who buy their stock know what the risk is. any progressive policy is a risk to their bottom line. >> how powerful are they of a lobby? >> incredibly powerful. they give lots of donations to candidates for office. storiesve been lots of during the presidential campaign that the private prisons were giving money.
their influence is pretty great. >> publicly run prisons operate incentives where i was a reporter in upstate new york and during the time i was reporting their there was a huge effort to close prisons and private prisons aren't allowed in new york state. that didn't stop it from being a difficult thing to do. the unions were fighting against it. so i want to point out that those types of things exist in public risen sectors. same type of horrific conditions exist in those prisons. >> which then raises the question would state-run institutions run it better than private institutions? >> it
depends on your state. governor who cares about public safety. there is an emphasis on rehabilitation. i know you mentioned earlier you had been in san quentin and saw the many programs there. with our current governor and legislature, those are being put into prisons all over california. so they are a lot better than other states. it depends on the public getting involved and interested in what happens inside our prison -- prisons. >> what do the interests of a private prison? what impact do you think they have on the rehabilitative >> i think prisons?
their bottom line is profit and i had been in some private prisons and they only do what is so if they are contracted to provide certain services that is all they are going to provide. they are not looking to improve public i'll see or eve off the system to make it better for the individuals in it, which makes it better for public safety in general. as amy point of view public servant, spending 30 years as a servant of the criminal justice system in california, i always thought of it as more broadly and i thought of what we done -- what we have -- iinside our prisons also believe we need to follow the science and data, and that is why i implemented data driven decision making through a program. that is what public policy should be about, evolving to follow the science of criminal justice.
as a result of california's attitude toward that, we have seen some really vast improvements in our sentencing laws here in the state. as an example, keeping nonserious, nonviolent, nonsex offenders out of prison and keeping them at a local level. we have a lot to do, but that was a huge, huge step in california toward a better system. >> also, we shouldn't totally create that dichotomy between the state and the private, because the states run -- the states are contracted and these private companies oversee -- from what i have seen, it's not even an issue of companies doing what the contract requires. they don't even do that a lot of the time. the states don't have much of a means to enforce these contracts. i don't know of them writing example ofknow an them writing into the contract penalties for contract -- they will say they can revoke contracts, but they don't do
that. it's still the responsibility of the state that these prisoners are running this way, ultimately. >> there was an inspector general report that basically sound that in private -- basically found that in private prisons there was a higher rate of assault, on prison staff and between inmates, and you were in a prison, you were in the correctional facility in louisiana, medium security. did that play out in your experience? were they unsafe? >> it did, yeah. the prison i was in was very violent. there were stabbings every week. i witnessed stabbings, and there are stabbings and all prisons, there is violence in all
prisons, but when i left and looked at the data, there was -- not just more violence, but more use of force, and it comes down to the issue that it was way understaffed, for one. there were very minimal education programs. a lot of times i didn't get to go outside. >> when you say understaffed, what was the ratio? >> i would come in to work and there would be days where there were 25 guards for 1500 inmates. i worked in the unit with 350 prisoners with one other guard. we just had radios. were not really doing much. and the medical is a lot worse. all this stuff adds up to this frustration for people living there, living in a dorm of 44 then all day long, and people fight. fights break out. there are a lot of drugs and contraband in prison, guards that make nine dollars per hour, try to make ends meet selling drugs. on top of that, when i was
there, i was noting whenever there was a stabbing, i would write it down, the date. when i left, i texted the department of corrections to see how many of the m the company reported. they are required to report all of them. in a two-month period, i knew about ten or so, and in that ten-month period, they reported five. and this is -- >> they weren't all been reported. >> right.and as journalists , we look for these documents, but the people writing the documents are lying so they are worthless. we can't know that unless they are there. >> so a few things. part of the reason the staffing level is so low is why? >> because it's nine dollars per hour. >> you got paid nine dollars per hour to be a prison guard. >> yeah.
and it was in a very poor town in louisiana, really rundown. but still, even though it was so poor, there were not a lot of people willing to work there for nine dollars per hour. the people that did work there, many of them were single moms that needed insurance for their kids, needed a job. it paid $.50 more than mcdonald's and walmart. >> this was a prison run by core civic? >> yeah. >> what you are saying is that they paid you very little and kept staffing levels low to maximize their profit? >> so the prison itself, they wanted to hire more people, but they don't get to set the pay. that is all done at the corporate office in nashville. it kind of create this culture where everybody who works there is frustrated with the corporation. everyone i met, other than the top level staff, inmates and staff, hated the company. they felt like they were all being used in some way so that
these people they never meet can make money. the warden was trying to get a raise. there was a one dollar raise when i was there, but people come in, and the turnover is so great because people just -- it's just not worth it. it is such a dangerous job. >> give an example. what did you have to do on a nine dollar per hour wage? what was the scariest thing that happened? >> we work 12 hour shifts, sometimes those turned into 14, 16 hour shifts, because there weren't enough people to work, or we come in extra days. my job was basically to work in a unit and deal with the 350 prisoners. let them out to eat, let them back in, lock them up. when they need something, they call for me, and i have to tell whoever it is, and we were
supposed to count them multiple times per day. we're also supposed to, every half hour, go through these dorms and check on people. but that didn't happen, nobody did that. >> you mean they didn't follow through? >> no, no. they are making nine dollars per hour, they won't get fired unless they do something really egregious. the attitude is like, there's no incentive to do this work. why bother? and they will write it down in a book that it was done. it will look at the book, the books are in order, so it's just perpetuated. >> alicia, is what shane bauer's describing a unique experience? or do you think it's fairly representative of what happens in private prisons? >> it is hard to say.
unfortunately i didn't have the experience shane had. it's hard to say. i would guess it is probably quite typical. when we wrote about christen press -- about prison transport companies, people are severely underpaid, taking these jobs out of desperation, pushed to their limits, and a lot of bad things happen. as you report more and more, you have the sympathy for everybody involved, the people working in the people being held in custody. >> talk about prison transportation. what is it and why is it privatized, and why is that so appealing to states? >> so let's say you live in florida, and you fell behind on your child support in ohio, for example, and the district attorney wants to bring you back to face a charge on that. to get you all the way and go back would be quite a large venture that somebody who works for the law enforcement would have to do, so instead they
contract it out to a private company that does it for a very low rate. the way it works, the companies drive all around the country,'s exact all across, picking up people. sometimes they drive for weeks on end and nobody gets out of the van except to go to the bathroom the entire time. that leads to not surprisingly really, really horrible things happening to people. medical crises, sexual assault, multiple deaths. the guards are driving, they hardly ever get to stop. they are very tired. we documented over 50 crashes, 12 of them where people died. we saw that there were many times women housed right next to men, even though under federal regulations they are supposed to be separate. so many escapes. we found at least 60 escapes since 2000, 18 went on to commit new crimes, so if you don't feel sympathy for the people in the
van, maybe would concern you that people are getting out and committing new crimes once they escape the van. it was a big undertaking to figure this all out, because unlike private prisons which you can see and know exist, these drive across state lines, which makes it really hard to find, to pin who's liable -- is it the company, the pickup? like shane was saying, that people -- the government agencies that hire these people, they are not saying that we want any sort of standard about how these people are brought back to our custody. they hire the cheapest company and the company doesn't the cheapest way possible, and nobody is at fault for it. so yeah, it' similars in a lot of ways. >> can you describe one of these suspicious deaths on the
transport vehicle? >> yeah. one of the people, stephen galec, a father of three, he owned a home remodeling business. he succumbed to an opiate addiction for some time, and he fell behind on child support payments, and they locked him up. that's the kind of person who might end up on the van. he was -- >> he was arrested for not paying child support. >> that's right. he died under mysterious circumstances in the sense that there are multiple inmates on the van who say he died from a beating from the two guards driving the van, and others being held. by the medical examiner came back with inconclusive autopsy, and they are currently -- i believe the litigation is ongoing. he was one of our main stories because we had so much detail about what had happened, we could figure out the entire route and see how they crisscrossed all over. he had been begging for help for quite a long time before he actually died.
>> there were multiple people you wrote about who would say they were experiencing stomach pain, some kind of medical issue, that the people who are driving the vans thought they were faking it. >> sometimes, or there was one woman, denise isaacs, a woman in her 40's, a mother who had been complaining for a long time about having -- she was -- basically a lot of people are on medication and then their medication stops. it is not uncommon people start having a lot of medical distress while they are on the van. so yeah, that is the kind of thing where, in that case, the guards actually wanted to bring her to the hospital. under their company policy, they had to call and ask for permission. the company said no. so they kept driving.
i did this story with my coworker -- it took us eight months, two full-time reporters, to figure this out. that is how much research it can take to figure out this information, and these two guards, we finally found them, they were really upset that this had happened, that they didn't want it to happen. you could say they should have gone to a hospital anyway and that would have been a valid argument, but we talked to over 50 people that work for these companies, it is people in desperate situations, taking a job that pays eight dollars or nine dollars per hour to drive for two weeks on end. no one would want to do that. >> and they are discouraged -- there's been some reform. >> supposedly. the biggest obstacle is that they have to find a jail to bring all the people on the van to, and they are not going to pay the jail. they need to jail to volunteer to take all the people, which is hard to come by.
>> what kind of training to the drivers receive? >> they said they beefed up their training, so maybe they have, but at the time we were hearing from people who are saying that they had anywhere from two days to two weeks. >> when you described your training, you wrote about being tear gassed. people bring up the tear gassing thing. i think that was more reasonable. the idea is that if tear gas is used, they wanted to know what it is like so you don't freak out. the first on your experiencing it, you're into the present. a lot of the training was watching videotapes.
we had maybe two days of -- ical there were no instructors. they would sit all day long. most days, there would be thou two hours and the rest we would sit around. >> did you feel equipped to handle? >> now. you started a job and the guards are like you will have to learn to do this. will try, a new guard to follow the rules and you don't have enough people to do that. you can't do all of the things you're supposed to do, you have to make do. that often means that you have to use prisoners to supplement. there is one prisoner that we would let out of his dorm and he could go to the dorms and see
what other prisoners needed. kickback from them, potato chips and it made our lives easier. -- youuse you are social were so shortstaffed. >> right. i would mention the medical stuff. it is this really similar issue in the private prisons. medical costs a lot of money. has a serious issue that the prison and primary can take care of, we send them out. by the contracts, at this prison, the company figured at the cost. -- they were very reluctant to do that. it was a thousand dollars to go to the hospital. there was one man i met who was -- they had gangrene. he was making repeated
complaints, he was going to the infirmary over and over. andrecords are reviewed they were telling him that he was lying. it wasn't until they could sleep and they have a mad at him and said they would be him up if he didn't go to sleep. that was a conflict corrupted. he was taken to the hospital and got his legs abdicated. when i met him he had nothing is a legs. stories, so many, there are so many people in those situations. people with heart failure would go to the infirmary, they kept coming back up and they will go to the hospital. >> you wrote about how corrections officers experienced much higher rates of job-related stress. >> yes.
what effect does that have on a guard? how does a high stress position what effect does that have on the treatment of prisoners? >> you were describing your academy and i started with the department in 1978 when there weren't many standards. i academy was nine days long. we have come a long way since then. it is now 16 weeks and there are stepping standards and there has to be a good staffing ratio, it is approved through union negotiations and all of those things. that really brought down the violence level within our prisons. that is what you need. if you don't have enough staff, everyone is scared. the inmates are scared, everybody overreacts. they are hypervigilant. are you're at home, they down here. your relationship with your family, your children, your
neighbors, they become destroyed over time. officers have the highest suicide rate of any occupation. study i read not too long ago, correctional officers had a higher post somatic stress that is really from being in the kind of situations that you mentioned. this is not only in private prisons but in public presence. the courts have been in every aspect of california. in terms of how that level of stress transfers to how the inmates are treated. i was there for four months,
i experienced it. i was going in as a journalist. i had this reason i was there. i decided i would try to be a nice guy. that didn't last very long. fastt got one down really and i have desk started having a much shorter temper. i was shouting at people sometimes unintentionally. everybody on the job loses it at different times. i have this experience where i easy-going, you have these complex -- conflicts that evolved.
it is hard to not see yourself surrounded by these people who are out to get you even though they are just wanting to get what they need. you can't give it to all of them, you just get one down. you found it had a psychological effect. >> absolutely. >> did you ever find that, ?oming back # that thefound experience as a guard was so present all the time. i was not thinking consciously about my experience before. -- there isyself
one example where i had been in prison. my friend josh and i would take extra food and when they tested out we would get some extra, this one guard did not want to see that and he really went off. and when i wasme a guard, the prison was locked down. that was often because of the violent incidents or because they were not enough cards to write it. you have to bring prison food to the unit. they don't go to the cafeteria. this on top of it and given a trade back. it just hit me right well, here i am. you do not have enough staff and just intensifies the anger that they have toward the staff. they are not thinking it is the corporation possible.
--'s fault. shane: i did think it was the corporation's fault. they would say that we know this is not your fault. thate same time, you know it is the way i think of it, soldiers that are in a war, they are still there. they sent to fight each other. even if they recognize that maybe those people on the other side are not the enemy. like ofis the oversight private entities? my prison transportation systems ? >> they are extradition companies. prison transportation services, that is the largest prison transportation company in the country. >> what is the oversight like
with these corporations? >> they're supposed to be a lot of oversight. it is pretty vague. it was meant to give the federal government some authority to prosecute for particular types of mistreatment but mostly to prevent escape. this is after somebody escaped from a private prison van in north dakota. he had murdered a young girl and he was found in texas. this may people very upset. found that the investigation had been enforced one time in the 16 years. since our story, it was brought up by attorney general letter wrench -- loretta lynch was brought -- it was brought to her. they promised to investigate. is good news and bad news.
great, they will investigate. then i got a call -- a phone call from a woman who was on a van led by a subsidiary of prison transportation services and she told me that she watched a man die on the van and that hadand everybody on the bus taken a birth -- burger king andper and passed it around put their names and contact info. they did it before the guy died. they were able to get us the list and we were able to call every single person. we all verify that this was real. it is tragic. this was supposed to be something that was being looked into. mi they went right back to the way thatna they had been operated -- operating. people had been on a bus for two
weeks. we verify that that is actually true, they are not just saying it. we do know that some people have been arrested really recently. by the department of justice. alysia: it does appear they are being looked at. they're not a prosecuted under the law. more for criminal reasons, the for recent being -- sexually assaulting a female, that was on the vehicle. >> these services are increasingly being used to shuttle immigrants to tension centers. >> we did look into that. those types of transports are different. they are usually from one facility to another. they are usually more direct. the problem with this is that it is such a crisscross. they get another call and they will drive over to georgia. now they are back to tennessee. it is different where the immigration transports are sometimes private.
they have their own transport part of their business. -- : just because it is so alysia: it is another thing they can charge for. mina: we are seeing a lot more demand from private prison governors. do you have any sense of where we are in that ramp up? i don't have the current numbers. another projection of the number of detainees will double over the next few years. i don't know if it is occurring or not. >> and is also -- it has also
been going up. shane: this went up through obama's presidency. that has been the frontier of these companies for a wild. expansionot a lot of in the state and federal prison world. mina: you have been enduring this conversation and talking about how california has much better policies. doesn't the california rate have aeight -- return to prison rape summer in rate somewhere in
65-70s? >> it started to come down. it took us almost 40 years to get to where we were with the present problems in the state. it will take a long time to unwind that. not only whatbout happens at the state level but also what happens at the local level. you're probably all familiar with realignment where inmates go to the nonserious, nonviolent local levels. that is a big chunk of people. they are still considered state prisoners but they are held locally. realizing that they have to change what they do at the local level to provide rehabilitative programs. san francisco is doing a really good job and some other counties as well.
it would take a while for us to see a dramatic change in recidivism. think recidivism to be improved, shane bauer? if they got payments for the visitors they have held. a prisonere was simulation video that came out a couple of years ago. it was like this is not as what -- what happens in real life. prisons, when we talk about prisons, the prisons are the end of the line of a long chain. the reason people are ending up in their doesn't have much to do with them.
issue is alsog beyond the prison themselves. these are state issues. the programming in public prisons are a whole lot better. it seems better than the ones in the private prisons. it is just so minimal. the prison i was in, they were cage rageasses like and there was this treaty -- ged class that nobody could fit into. california has gone way back since the 70's. we had this time where a lot of rehabilitative programs were being cut. we were building his presence for long time -- long-term solitary confinement. approach forh in how to do it the prison
population. >> do you know of any innovative ways to incentivize private prison companies to improve outcomes? >> it would be really great if they tried it. it seems obvious, you are a government agency and you are contracting out something that is for the public, you are using taxpayer money pay for it and you set of almost nothing within your contract to ensure just basic human dignity. even with the present transfer companies, even if there was something like if you can bring our prisoners, this is the most basic thing, all it would require is that you be brought alive at some point. shane: i would think that these kinds of incentives will happen. the margin of savings that leaves 2 -- leads to these properties is relatively small.
they are not saving any money anymore and the whole point of them is if the system is based on the bottom line -- it is the most important thing. it is always going to for any company. if they are not making money, they are not going to exist. mina: why do you want to be a prison guard? why did you want to do that story? it is hard to get prison access. it has gotten harder and harder over decades. you have a toy for three hours and that is it. inmates, interview there is a lot of walls and with private prisons, it is even more difficult.
they don't have a lot of the public assess -- access. the public assess -- access laws do not apply to them. these companies have existed for like 30 years and we haven't really had a good look inside of them. that is the only way could think up to do that, to see what level is like in his presence. a for-profitk prison -- the private prisons have a role in our criminal justice system? do they have a beneficial role to play? shane: no. the difference -- there is nothing they are adding. .ther than cost savings
behind this question is the eyes of ourhe present postulation. it is so big. our prison population is the largest in the world by far. as long as this is inflated, there will be ways to try and save money. it is just so expensive. it will really be that. mina: i want to remind the audience that we will be taking questions from you. there is a microphone in the back corner of the room. please feel free to line up if you have questions. >> recidivism is somewhat more complicated than that. you have to look at the whole system to address recidivism.
it starts with what happens when they are on probation. it is every aspects, who gets out on bail, who does not. who are you arresting and who are you not arresting? it is part of a whole. you can't take one piece of it and say let's contract you to bring down recidivism. jeanne: you have to bring down the whole system. everybody's goal has to be public safety. you have to be concerned about everybody that is in that system, the inmates, the policy, the victims. it is that holistic approach that will bring down recidivism. do you think that a for-profit correctional facility can play a beneficial role in our kernel justice system?
>> i really don't. having been a public servant, i really believe in public service and i believe that when you are a public servant, it is the your judicious withbe taxpayer money and to have clear missions and try to seek policies that made that mission. information is profit, i don't know how that fits in to good public policy. alicia -- onsia, where do you stand this? alysia: i don't think private prisons are worse than some of our public resins. it is just so offputting that that is how we are running our system. >> some of the worst doors i
have reported on -- nobody was making a profit all. the prophet is not going to fix our problem and all. -- etat all. ini think the difference is a public system, every time you have a pelican bay, things changed. courts get involved, policies change, staffing training, the tools that people utilize, better medical care, better psychiatric care, all this happened in a public system as it evolves. that't see how you make any better because their motive is profit. they building is that with
them in there for 30 years. >> they also created a work on drugs, they created mandatory minimums, a lot of things that inflated our prison populations significantly, in the 80's, that is where we hear about these private prisons becoming much more appealing. but you are writing a book about you are finding that this model went back before the 80's. >> we had for-profit prisons throughout american history. at different periods of time, the first prison in this country was a for-profit prison in philadelphia. penitentiaries were essentially factories. they were making textiles, prisoners making textiles for companies and it was really about 40 years into the time that we start building
they wereries where entirely privatized. after the civil war, companies were using prisoners as labor, working cotton fields, working in mines, this went up to the earlier 20th century. and then the stage took over. there has been a profit aspect to the whole system up until very recently. mina: let me open it up to the audience. keep your questions as short and with? . be brave so we can get to as many people as possible. i see someone at the microphone, what is your question. ? >> you think there is a
connection to the belief that this has become a modern system of slavery? shane: the thing i would say is i am deep in the history now and it is a line. duringslavery and slavery, prisons were basically subsidizing the slavery system by making clothes for slaves cheaper than the north could make them. it was very tied into the system. slaveowners were learning from the present system for a while. i'm talking to the 1970's, there were prisoners picking cotton in fields.
it is not just a profit issue, it is before the civil war, was prisoners were white, immediately after, most were black and they have been ever since. of dealing a method with diffuse gap of wealth in the country. social control in some ways. think you can't separate it, it is not the same but it is part of the same trajectory. >> that you for the question. >> next question. is there any relation between private prisons, the internal prison economy and the promise ofgs within the authority
prisons? alysia: i am confused by the question. -- here a type of authority in was ae prison i was little strange because there were not present games at there was in most of the country. they were not racially segregated, that is strange, coming from california. you have the idea of the deep south and really racist. california prisons are sympathetic -- segregated. they were guys from other presidents who were saying that he liked his prison better because the gains were really strong there. louisiana,ent in the i'll think they were people calling the shots.
it maintains a lot of order. this from several people, i have heard losses about this. ofcomes back to the issue understaffing and things like that. >> i am kimberly and i am on the board of importance. peggy for putting yourself in the peril to do so. i was hoping you could talk about risk and reward in terms of the backlash you received from the articles you wrote and perhaps ms. woodford could comment on what it feels like
even the receiving end of seeing what happens in someone else's present? alysia: interestingly, when i write stories, there is more of a backlash. the only people that did not like it were seeing the people that owned the actual companies. they saw some of the changes they had made that they realize were not real. a lot of times, you do get a stream -- that one, a lot of people think is. that was an interesting reaction because a lot do write about prisons and white guys have done and they are very mad. this one, we do try to make sure
to point out the difficulties they were facing. they really appreciated that. you advocate for the interest of prisoners, do you hear from victims of prisoners --crimes who feel the trade betrayed? i would never say i am advocating. that has definitely happen, where people say you ruined my life or my husband's life about letting about this particular thing people do say that too. i try to have a phone conversation with someone. emailing back and forth on that is not going to work. we are going to get nowhere with that. i will usually try to get them out.
i want to think about the next time, it is really sensitive subject matter. you want to be aware of everyone you are impacting. your impacting a lot of people. >> i am mike. in looking at models for theoving the situation, public trust doctrine has been part of our law since before statehood. most of my work is with the .ublic utilities commission they are doing amazingly dumb things with respect to climate change. prison is anook, public sphere. was i providing resources for
water and drinking. to use some of the public trust doctrine as guideposts for heard forward, have you of any citation of that particular strand in our law? it is based on public interest. that is its application interactions. >> i am not sure that i understand the question. in terms of how to auction in the public interest. is that a stated objective? how to make these institutionsiw -- what is the mission?
shane: it is related in this idea of how profit is impacting people. i was recently at a shareholder and he gets paid $150 per year just on the board. in the pamphlet, he increased diversity of the board. i tried to ask him why he does it. he will never answer me. he gets a lot of money to do it. the people system in california defined the purpose of prisons and for a long time,
the purpose was punishment. in four or five years ago, in 2006, we added rehabilitation back into the department of corrections. i think adding that back in such the department toward the mission that would improve public safety by providing the ability of services to inmates. is that getting to a point was? >>'s sound like what you are saying is the closest you have seen to a corporation getting there is to have relative marshals on their board. we have three more questions. california's prisons were privately owned for a wow. governor well it literally broke
down the gates to take the keys back. they were held by the state until relatively recently. prisoners a number of , about 6000 located outside of california and some inside of california. do you think that there are more people currently held in private residence in california? do think i will be a trend that continues in the states? will private prisons gain more power? >> i don't think that will happen in california at all. the only reason that california is having this state is because of the cap on the number of inmates is within our vision system. the state has been doing everything they can to try to eliminate those out-of-state
that's because they are expensive. those private beds out-of-state will come to an end. >> my name is jason. one question i had with my friends and my youth is that all was going to ask what more can we do in our communities to help this keep going in progress? >> thank you for the question, i was going to ask a potentially concluding question. what should we be watching for to try to keep it in check if that gets to the rest of your question. what can we do?
would have to be involved at the local level in terms of what happens with your criminal justice system. the state gave every county a lot of money to bring rehabilitative programs to individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system as a result of realignment. some counties have used that money for things other than youramming and so i think have to pay attention to what your counties are doing and when they are spending the money and making sure that they are putting them into drug treatment, mental health treatment, providing homes and medical care and the things that we know work to bring on recidivism and key people from being involved in the criminal justice system. i think it is really important. fighting against private prisons thing as important
well. >> most people had never been inside of a prison. if there was some way in some you had toario that know what felt like to be inside of a prison, he will be so enlightening for people. it is out of sight and out of mind. you think that will never affect me or anybody i love. even if you believe that and see what it is like and feel what it is like, i don't think you can walk away the same. person, just young spreading awareness as much as you can and being has knowledgeable as you can. the biggest obstacle is that people don't know and they don't care. making people care however you can is a really powerful thing. being so close to san quentin, their doors are open to the prison quite a bit.
has anybody been inside? >> is a unique prison because they let people in. i think we have time for one final question. .> have a combo statement my comment is i don't know how you go to sleep at night doing what you do and saying these things, that it is in my to go into prison and having to realize that even you don't have havingntality yourself, this mentality. to say that it is enlightening and that it won't happen to you and that you don't have to worry about it and you can be the advocate for them, it is kind of love for you guys. i don't understand how you guys are doing this right now.
that is my comment. that -- weuestion on have had several states including california and oregon where we came from legalized racial marijuana that under federal and of that, you have our attorney general jeff sessions who wants to draw it is -- in between recreational marijuana and the use of heroin, do you also decriminalize certain amounts of drugs? my question is do you anticipate a budding of the heads between our federal government that we have right now and our trade general in states over incarcerating? >> as for the question. if you want to respond to the previous statement as well, i think it is a strong statement and with a response if you have one. >> i will respond to it, i don't mean it to be hurtful.
i think that people should care but i know from the work that i do that a lot of people don't. i believe that if people saw it and experienced it, it would be moving to them, not everybody has the experience of being a loved one and they are fortunate to not have that experience, knowing what it is like to have a loved one incarcerated, i was people could understand what that would be like. i can't interpret that any other way, that would give my response. -- that would be my response. i figured trying to absolve the problem, not help the problem. >> if people want to be able to respond, i think they should be able to respond. that was the opportunity they were being given. if you want to have more of a conversation about it, please do so.
we are very close to concluding this conversation. --hink part of the reason they are large segment of our study that have not been touched by our system -- our criminal justice system. those who are in it are not reflective of our population has a whole. they are disproportionately. -- black, brown, populations that are much smaller in proportion to what they are. there must work abortion in our population as to how they are represented in our population. >> i don't know any family that has not been impacted by incarceration i did at the local level or state prison. i also think it is so important to go inside prisons dehumanize people there. people think that inmates are what you see on tv. it is just not so, they are people and they have kids and families and we need to care about what happens to them.
for me, that is why i am so about making changes to our public policy. we don't incarcerate people and they don't need to be incarcerated. that it is not the length of the prison sentence that makes us safer, it is what we do with people, the treatment we provide for them that makes us safer. that is why i do what i do. i'm sorry for the person who asked the last question, we will be able to get to it. i encourage you to come up and ask it again. that is because there is a tradition of asking as we include our program. speaker what is the 62nd i do to make the world a better place and i will start with you shane bauer. shane: i don't have an easy innovation.
honestly, i think when we look back on this time, the. of time we are living in, in recent decades, with a mass incarceration -- i think we have to let a lot of people out of prison. a lot. people 2.2 or 3 million behind bars, more than any country in the world. doing that takes a lot of things. change the power prosecutors, changing how laws, much we punish violent criminals because most of the people in prison are therefore violent crimes. policing, there are so many things, racism in society, this is deep. the prison system is the kind of all of that stuff mash-up into that and. that is the end.
it symbolizes our bigger social problems. expandingr me, it is that a decision taking. was that our policy comes from emotion and politicians trying to win elections. i really think that it is about expanding that decision-making in every law and every statute that is passed should have the data behind it to show why we are doing. we need to know why we are doing what we are doing. it is pie in the sky but i would say if there is any way to loosen the laws around the records of presence, one of the most difficult things is it is so hard to figure out what is actually going on, the records are kept in a way that is a security threat for anybody to know something that is a blanket denial. transparency is a really important thing, more cameras,