Mar 6, 2017|
Tommy talks to Kevin in Metairie about his wife's need for medication to cope with constant, chronic pain.
Tommy talks to WWL-TV reporter Meg Farris about a new report that New Orleans had more drug-related deaths than homicides.
Tommy talks to State Representative Cameron Henry about the current state and the future of TOPS.
Tommy talks to David Howard, Professor in the Dept. of Health Policy and Management at Emory University, about the state of Obamacare going forward.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
All legit. Louisiana State represented joins us right now and he and the Tom Florian talk about something very very serious morning malt. Good morning bombing or I'm OK would you take a dog in a cruise. I absolutely not seek. A great. It sure absolutely not think it I think you're right the crew out from New Orleans to the top of the Mississippi would be. Fantastic and you are respected legislator. Well a legislator anyway. When I met before talked enemy. Kate's tummy seriously what. What is the problem as it stands now before we talk about. Efforts to fix it what are we looking at wind. Prison populations. Violent crime etc. You've seen the reports puncher over the years probably we we continue to outpace. Our our the other states in our region and in the country. By a great deal not just as it relates to our prison population but also as relates. And so. What would that means what it adds up to me is about 700 million dollars a year our budget that we're spending. And mostly in state general fund dollars. Two how inmates and large proportion of which over 70% are not and urged. And so as we continue to have these ongoing struggles in and banners with our budget. Al with our tax code and what are the revenue that's coming in. This is one of those areas where we have to really it's and yet look around shall specially like like Texas and Mississippi Alabama. Florida South Carolina Arkansas. And Oklahoma and say. There are 33 states in the country don't who have done significant. Since 2007. Saving hundreds of millions of dollars and we need to get. You know we need to find a way to get to that place so that we can. Make investments in wanna make and things like higher education and pops and and healthcare and and they're bankers make our state of the. 700 million net Walters for everybody here that is for the nonviolent offenders. Now that's forever on the total cost organist Morgan where we're gonna spent a lot of money on this regardless. But we could be spending it at 75 million dollars. Over the course of time. On an annual basis that I think would clearly pill hole and things like tops and and other priorities we have because report really do and it was. (%expletive) that. What the other states have figured out is that when you make investments. In things like mental health substance abuse treatment reentry. That it's less likely that the folks that are going in. Coming out. And that it will go back again. Other states have kind of have done that that's why we call this task force that was created a couple of years which criminal justice reinvestment act sports book has. We wanted to save the dollars but we also want to reinvest some of those dollars. In ways that make a real impact in the long term and that is. That is making sure that people that come out of jail don't end up back in jail. Those are repeat offenders. The cycle especially at least at like nonviolent simple drug possession charges Merrill on our. Or crack cocaine or otherwise those are the things that add up over time. And end up caught in the state a great deal without any real benefit. And so we've we undertake in this major task force treatment. You know hours and hours and hours you make a public meetings Supreme Court just it's several public meeting. We have a great the first task force. People from the Asian shares to. Community leaders are paid based liters. And we've got to. A pretty Paris Centre recommendations are becoming out marks the sixteenth and that a package to be put together for consideration by the legislature and the upcoming session. Is it. An oversimplification. To say what's a budget for tops out for ago Walt and you know. It stated it was about 300 million dollars last year and I think we came up on nine inch or. Or all right so that's fifty is 75 million end and just in you know everybody wants. That's 57 Sami I get that for whatever but you know words would you you can look at it as you're paying. For nonviolent prisoners to house these closed them and taken the money away from top stake in a money away from whatever program. Well and and essentially just grown and hit a that you're not offering any and a drug treatment. Or mental health counseling or otherwise and they come out after you know a year or couple of years. And go right back to the same kind of problem with what we've seen some really startling statistic when you do these types or forms since 2007 and Texas. Imprisonment rate is down 16% of the crime rates down thirty course. In South Carolina as Tony and interest generate about 60%. And the crime rates down 16%. North Carolina has 3% decrease and imprisonment and a 20% decrease in crime and Georgia's got a decreased. It's 7% and in imprisonment rate and crime is down 11% so you might like to limit what they call. Implementing implementing these types of reforms that this is something that's been kind of sweeping across the country that are Chong leaders on the on the conservative side. And on the liberal side that have come together it to craft a lot of these policy changes. And so we we can protect public safety and still make smarter investments and our criminal justice system that result and much recidivism lecture he crime. And that's why should the crime rates going down because many of the people that are committing crimes are doing it over and over again we can turn them around. With the right kind of interventions as opposed to just walk in the door and a mobile sandwich. Then I think we can expect to have the similar outcome. Similar outcomes that we've seen in other states and easily have savings you have a safer community and that's where ultimately we want and apple. Before we get to look in that drugs. Usage as a health problem as opposed to criminal problem and talk until a bit about for profit prisons in Louisiana. Or. Do we have home. We. We view we have. We have a at least one or profit prison in the northern part of the state. That operated for. For some time. I have a big problem with this and I'll probably get you know. Liberal bleeding heart tweeted me two widget let me whatever Texan I mean I don't care about that it. Com it just seems to me that fundamentally if you had someplace that profits. From incarcerating. People I don't I don't see where that's. Maybe I'm speaking on my hand here are the constitutional I'll see where and any da good income from net. I think there's certainly concerns were privatization we talk about certain government auctions I think many people would be uncomfortable with. The privatization of the police force for example. And I think a lot of people have concerns about that before profit prisons as well. There seems to be an ongoing debate and it's going backwards for depending on. Who's in power as to what the what the legitimacy of that type of environment it is I think what we've seen and in the Louisiana is that are higher criminal justice system as on. As it is their profit making machine. Largely supported the local level when it comes to indigent defense and other portions of the criminal justice system by collecting. Fees. And lines from people who often can't really afford to make those payments and and then on the rest of being revoked on probation they can't. And you losses seat you know at least seemed to feel some sort of a profit motive in the back that. There's a payment by the state or local share for the housing. A state inmates. All of these things are I think all part of what we've been looking at we've been working with church and what the days and went. Law enforcement to make sure that. We try to put our our criminal justice system into a posture that is similar to. States in our region because we know that we can protect public safety without its ongoing sort. Bill then. Proper motivation to. To the jailed as I think you're right to be concerned about it. And is now we're talking about but I do have to ask you is their problem Louisiana with some. Set forth matured and and different law enforcement agencies perhaps abusing. I've really haven't heard a whole lot of of complaints about that but certainly. There are there are asset for four pitchers Markovic come into play. When you're talking about major drug dealers. And otherwise I think that's probably a larger issue. In other places but it's and it's not one of the things as Bob about the most here think the thing has bubbled up to that for years. That we have a long prison sentences and you know I'm a former prosecutor there are several. Guys that are serving one in a light on possession of crack cocaine. That I convicted and and it's part of reason why have been motivated to look at this so closely there's. While it. As a prosecutor you certainly feel vindicated when you can pick someone who has committed a crime against state against the people of the state. He also want the system to work and you don't wanna be wasting money and twenty alike for possession of one crack rock. Doesn't do anything to disrupt the drug trade. It doesn't do anything. And packed the availability. Drug on the street or a low level drug dealers what we need to be doing is reserving our topic sentences. For the major drug traffickers because we know that that won't disrupt the supply chain and ultimately make us safer community but. Long sentences are simple protesters of narcotics as it is it is statistically proven to not really make much. Is there any political will leave I don't know if it if it changes if you're in the northern or southern part of the state but toward. Looking at drug offenses as a criminal and not a not a criminal as health issue and not a criminal issue and I just wonder how old simple possession how to get to be a criminal issue to begin with this story yet. I think you're I think you're right I think more people are coming. Idiot understanding that this is a mental health issue it's an addiction problem. It has substance abuse problem one that can be dealt with clinically and and medically as a poster. I'm bars. Interestingly in the state of Oklahoma State just passed saint referendum vote the people of this state voted to make simple possession of all mark products a misdemeanor. Which essentially means he wouldn't serve jail time now think that the political Willis is in in Louisiana as mayor to do that. So if you put it on the on the ballot I'm not sure what the outcome would be. I do you think there's a growing understanding at this like many other things as an addiction. That can be treated. Now. The doesn't work for the users have to be willing to be helped. But there is hope I can be provided and certainly we ought to be striving to do that. Let me jump in here a while before we run out of time let me go to the guy in and I know you and I sense that. Some money doing 21 years in prison for one do rocker's. Crack cocaine keeps you up at night I would think knowing new. I don't know that it doesn't always feel like Smart Barack society but but it's what you took an oath to do and I get that it. What do you do with that guy if he just can't stay off of it. He's not he's not a danger to anybody I guess along as he gets woody needs oh or the drugs that he uses. Yeah understand what I'm asking is so how'd it. What do you mean I think I think you make the commitment in society pitcher in the news. The probation and parole officers that worked so hard for our for our statement to keep it safe. That you make a real commitment to community based services like substance abuse and mental health and and we invest in technology and other things that other places. So that you can really directs the treatment. That individual. Certainly there comes a point where. They got to be able to help themselves but we have to do much better job people help themselves or not they're not very much. At all we have some great drug court programs that judges on that have been very successful. And what that requires intensive oversight. But some sort of a caseworker or probation officer. And by saving dollars not incarcerating. Boat that don't really need to be incarcerated we can make investments patient. And then drug courts and these types of interventions that. Have proven have a real. A positive impact on a lot of people now he can't he can't help everyone but we've got to be able you'd better and we that's been public taxpayer money in a Smart way. While we're out in time and on the report comes on the sixteenth let's elect either then of the seventeenth Imus friendly always get what you expect you to have a good day tell you dead hello Walt Leger.