What’s next for criminal legal system policy? Do protests against U.S. police brutality and a conviction in the murder of George Floyd mean we are headed for a new era in the search for racial equity? Listen to this Wiener Conference Call with Sandra Susan Smith to hear answers to these questions and more.

Wiener Conference Calls recognize Malcolm Wiener’s role in proposing and supporting this series as well as the Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

- [Man] Welcome to the Wiener Conference Call Series. These one hour, on the record phone calls feature leading experts from Harvard Kennedy School, who answer your questions on public policy and current events. Wiener Conference Calls recognize Malcolm Wiener's role in proposing and supporting this series, as well as the Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

- Hi, everyone. Good day. I am Mari Megias at the Office of Alumni Relations and Resource Development at Harvard Kennedy School, and I'm very pleased to welcome you to this Wiener Conference Call, which highly sustained by Dr. Malcolm Wiener, who supports of the Kennedy School in this and so many other ways. Today, we are joined by Sandra Susan Smith, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice and director of the program of Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School. Her areas of interest include urban poverty and joblessness, social capital and social networks and the front end of criminal case processing, with a particular interest in the short and long-term consequences of pretrial detentions. In each of these areas, racial inequality and its root causes are four areas of expertise, and given this expertise, we're very fortunate that she's agreed to share her thoughts today with the Kennedy School's alumni at tonight's event. Sandra.

- Thank you so much, Mari, for a really warm welcome, I appreciate it very much, and welcome to everyone who's on this call today, wherever you are. In the Boston Metro area, it's extraordinarily hot, and so I find myself a little uncomfortable, but we'll get through this with you all, and hopefully the short presentation that I'm about to give will lead to a really stimulating discussion. So, I'm gonna start with our provocation, and that is that abolishing the police actually makes sense. Of course, this is, this provocation is coming at a moment where there are debates in the mainstream about defunding the police, which can mean different things for different people, but for some people, that means removing the police altogether. In conversations that I've had with numbers of people from various communities, with my own family, with colleagues, I've been interested in how it is that people have responded to this question. Often, their response is rooted in some, you know, there's serious emotions around what police mean to them and what the loss of police would mean for them as well, but one of the other conversations that I remember having that impacted how I've come to see this is one with Ronald Davis. Over the course of the last year as faculty chair of a program in criminal justice, I helped to organize along with Chris Winship and the sociology department here at Harvard, a speaker series where we, we sought to reimagine public safety, community safety, and we brought in various speakers who could speak to the issue from different vantage points. One of those speakers, in fact, the first speaker was Ronald Davis, who is now a partner at 21CP Solutions, but who had, in a previous life, then in Oakland, been a police officer, then the Chief of Police at Palo Alto in California, East Palo Alto in California, and then he went on to work for Obama in the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, so he's a man with decades of knowledge and understanding about these issues and someone who takes seriously the need for reform and major reform. In fact, he is often quoted as saying that the criminal legal system is doing exactly what it was intended to do in terms of its focus on punishment and harm to specific kinds of people. So yeah, not someone who is very conservative in terms of his views, but when asking him during this conversation that we had in September about the defund movement, one of the things that I was struck by was his response to the question about the legitimacy of this kind of, this kind of push, and what he said was something I hadn't heard from anyone else, and that was, he felt uncomfortable with the defund project in part because he felt as if it was coming from a place of anger, that it wasn't about kind of rationally thinking through the issues and coming to a set of responses that are rooted in, perhaps, evidence or what have you, it was anger that was driving people's desire to defund, the movement, and that struck me for a couple of reasons, but the major reason is that as a social scientist, I actually thought that there was, and have seen the emergence of a growing body of research that that could provide a useful kind of fodder for the, not just these discussions and debates, but for an argument around why that the police should be abolished, and it's rooted in these three considerations. The first is that, and I will elaborate on each before opening this up for our collective conversation. The first is that much of what police do actually has very little to do with crime fighting and crime solving. The second is that the costs of policing, especially in, especially in low income communities of color, tend to outweigh the benefits associated with the kinds of policing practices that occur within these contexts. And the third point is that there are actually a number of currently existing approaches to public safety, and over the course of the last year, and perhaps a couple of years even before that, the emergence of new models of achieving community or public safety that are more effective, that are more, that are cheaper, that produce much less harm than what we have come to see happen when police engage, especially again, in communities of color, and especially those that are low income. So on this first point on that, there's actually very little of a time that a police officer's spend that is involved with crime fighting or crime solving. What we know is that, and this is from research, that is not all that new, but there's been a growing body of research on these points, that police officers do remarkably little crime fighting. NYU law professor Barry Friedman writes about this fairly recently in thinking about the tasks that they're engaged in, and what he says is that a major theme of the earlier, earliest studies concerning urban police workload involves dispelling the popular myth that police spend most of their time protecting the thin blue line between law and order, and he backs it up with a set of stats that I think many of us would be very surprised by. The first is that in Baltimore, for instance, in 1999, really still during a peak moment of crime and violence in many urban centers, the most violent, the most addicted and the most abandoned city in America, Baltimore, according to the then Mayor Martin O'Malley, regular patrol officers spent 11% of their time on crime, 11%. Even that was split 50/50 between serious crime and things like disorderly conduct, drug possession, drunkenness and loitering. So essentially, about five and a half percent of their time in Baltimore, in one of our most dangerous, crime ridden cities was spent by police addressing issues of crime. In smaller places, the volume of time spent on crime, defined comprehensively, can be way lower than that. So on the order of kind of lower than 1% to about 2% of a police officer's shift, we're finding that officers are spending much of their time performing motorized patrols and administrative duties, not actually engaged in activities related to crime fighting and crime solving. A more recent study on activity in three jurisdictions in the Hudson Valley showed that violent crime was .55% of what the cop, what police officers did in the highest violent crime jurisdiction, of the three that they examined. The highest on overall crime was 7.2%, most of that being property crime. Much of a police officer's time is unproductive altogether. And finally, when not filling out reports or taking personal time, a lot of police officers' working time, easily upwards of 30%, is spent on patrol, and in most cases, this is motorized patrol, and what we know from prior research is that this actually does very little in terms of preventing crime. It has very little value in that regard, or in terms of making citizens feel safe. So data on the frequency of problems with which the police dealt reveals that crime fighting was just a small part of what police did, and this was not just in communities where there was just so little crime, there was not much to speak of, and so maybe, perhaps we don't need police officers as much. This was actually occurring too in cities and neighborhoods that are beset by high levels of crime, including violent crime, and so, so that is the first point: little of the work that police officers are spending their time doing involves kind of crime fighting and crime solving. The second point, and so keep that in mind as we move forward, the second point is that in high crime communities, which are disproportionately low income communities of color, police actually do more harm than good. When police call the, when people call the police for help, they want to have some kind of confidence that the police will come, that they won't make matters worse, that they will take complaints seriously and solve crimes, including murder, but in low income communities of color, there is ample evidence now that none of these expectations are being met. Instead, they experience overpolicing and underpolicing. They overpolice, or engage in proactive policing, by frequently stalking pedestrians and drivers unnecessarily and often unconstitutionally, searching people, using unnecessary force too often, which sometimes sometimes leads to bodily harm, death, or at the very least, PTSD-like symptoms, and untold numbers of unnecessary arrests, all presumably to prevent crime. While these practices have dubious effects on lowering crime, what they do have huge effects on are residents' views of law enforcement. It's not unusual for residents of such communities to consider police just another kind of violent gang in the neighborhood, harassing them and terrorizing them, as with, and as with a lot of gang activity, harm results, including death. Indeed, police violence is a leading cause of death among young black men. Over their life course, their risk of being killed by police is about one in 1,000. Although some more aggressive policing practices have been found to bring down rates of crime, including violent crime, in the short term, police violence has been found to have short and long-term negative consequences for social, economic and health outcomes, which many argue outweigh the small benefits that accrue as a result of small reductions in crime. They're also likely to indirectly increase crime as well. Indeed, a growing body of research has focused on the social costs of policing. You might all recall Darnella Frazier. She was the 17 year old teenager who filmed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. She's been applauded by many as a hero of sorts because she was, you know, she had the strength and fortitude to hold her camera, very kind of in a solid way so as to be able to capture on film what has become one of the most important moments of our nation's history. She had her 11 year old cousin by her side. This is all well and good, but what social and psychological supports will Darnella and her younger cousin receive after having witnessed date sanctioned violence against a member of their community? What baggage will they carry as a result? And I ask this for this reason: there's a growing body of research that indicates when children know that this kind of, these kinds of activities are taking place and having this impact on members of their community, it affects their own health and wellbeing, and we know from fairly recent research that it also has an impact on the educational attainment and academic achievement. Indeed, one of my colleagues here at the Harvard Kennedy School, Desmond Ang, he shows that police killings have short and long-term consequences for educational and psychological wellbeing of inner city youth, specifically black and Latino youth, and especially when the person who was killed was unarmed. In the short term, Ang finds that in the days immediately following a police killing, absenteeism spikes among nearby students and are largest for those who live closest to the killing. In the medium term, students' GPA falls, the GPAs fall and persist at lower levels for several semesters, at least three, in fact. We should also note that the stop and frisk also has the same effect on test scores. If we stop and frisk people in communities, including adolescents, it has this kind of negative effect on students' educational attainment and occupational achievement. In the long-term, black and Latino adolescents are less likely to graduate high school as a result of knowing about state sanctioned violence in their communities and against members, neighbors, and they're less likely to enroll in college, directly linked to knowledge about these kinds of aggressive police tactics and the impact it has on neighbors. Importantly, police killings do not affect the educational attainment and academic achievement of white and Asian youth, nor are black and Hispanic youth affected by the killings of individuals who are not black and Hispanic. Importantly, the negative effect of police killings are twice as large as the effect of other kinds of homicides. We should all be concerned about black-on-black, and Latino-on-black, citizen-on-citizen violence and the harm that that does, but it turns out that the impact of seeing or knowing about state sanctioned violence against citizens and including people who are members of one's own social group leads to twice the harm as done when it's a citizen against citizen kind of outcome or experience. Importantly too, the effects of police violence extend well beyond adolescents, to include the physical and mental health and wellbeing of adults in communities where police violence occurs. This includes the depression that mothers feel when they know that their sons are being stopped and frisked by police. We know from very recent research now that when mothers become aware that their sons have experienced being stopped by police for no reason except that they've been stopped and frisked, this leads to higher rates of depression that have impacts on other areas of their lives, including employment, et cetera. Powerless to do anything about this kind of harassment and violence, as it is perceived, they're overcome with sadness and, more than likely, rage. Importantly too in such communities, while focusing whatever efforts they do make on low level offenses, police often do very little, if anything to address the major issues that arise and are also under the purview of them to address. In other words, they underpolice. So, they're both tackling really minor kind of offenses at really high rates and in ways that are terribly aggressive, but when it comes to huge crime problems, tend not to show up and make it so that residents feel safe, they underpolice. This is an observation made by sociologist Victor Rios, who explained, officers consistently police certain kinds of deviants and crime while neglecting or ignoring other instances where their help is needed. Their policing seemed to be ubiquitous, a ubiquitous part of the lives of many of these marginalized young people that he studied. However, the law was rarely there to protect them when they encountered victimization. In these communities, one gets the very real sense that the police are not there to protect you, so nor are they really any good at solving crimes in these communities. The vast majority of unsolved murders in the US are of black victims, paradoxically often from the very communities that are being overpoliced. Declining homicide clearance rates for African-American victims accounted for almost half of the nation's alarming decline in law enforcement's ability to clear murders through their arrest of criminal offenders, including a new study compiled by the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project in Chicago. For instance, when the victim was white, 47% of the cases were solved, which in of itself is still pretty low, and this was over the course of 19 months. For Hispanics, the rate was 33%. When the victim was a black or African-American, the crime solving rate was less than 22%. So the distrust that they're, so there's a distrust that proactive strategies of aggressive policing breeds has consequences downstream. So what we're seeing here is a combination of kind of overpolicing in some ways in these communities and an underpolicing and a lack of real positive outcomes in terms of solving crimes, including murders, that produces a really kind of tense relationship, contributes to a very tense relationship and questions about the efficacy of policing within these kinds of communities. But there is, I think, hope. Public safety does not have to mean police, deep police engagement. There are many ways to achieve public safety. There are options, and there are more that are emerging every day with evidence to support their efficacy. They're better, more effective and more efficient at keeping community safe than policing often is, and they're often are less harmful to communities, especially communities of color. Many of you have probably already heard about the organization CAHOOTS. CAHOOTS is a kind of crisis intervention, has a crisis intervention model. We know that 20% to 50% of fatal encounters with law enforcement involve individuals with a mental illness. CAHOOTS's method shows that it does not have to be the case. Last year in Eugene, Oregon, which is where CAHOOTS kind of originated some, almost 50 years ago, it began, efforts that led to what we now know as CAHOOTS began, but last year in Eugene, out of a total of roughly 24,000 CAHOOTS calls, police backup was requested in only 250 of those cases. So basically, 1% percent of the cases did you need police backup for calls that could have easily escalated into something that was far more violent. CAHOOTS achieves public safety at far lower costs by effectively addressing crises, including conflict resolution, and this is not just with regards to what's happening with folks who are in a mental health episode. It's also domestic violence issues, et cetera, welfare checks, substance abuse, suicide threats and more, so it's not just a kind of narrow band of issues around which CAHOOTS addresses issues. They deal with trauma informed, or they engage in trauma informed deescalation and harm reduction techniques, and the results have been huge, including the savings, and could be directed back into communities to support individuals, families and communities. Now, I have to say, the more I've learned about CAHOOTS, the more kind of I've marveled at both how very cheap this approach is, how effective it's been and how efficient it's been, and it's, this is not just because of the cost savings that, CAHOOTS essentially in Eugene takes about 2 million to run, although those costs are rising as they grow, but they've also led to huge cost savings for the police and for emergency room services. With regards to police, CAHOOTS in one year led to savings of upwards of $9 million for police, and remember that the Eugene is a relatively small city, but it also led to savings on the order of 14 million for ER costs, and that's because they're diverting away people who otherwise would be inundating these public services or public, yes, public services because of the needs that these people have. So these are just estimates, but it seems like the savings that come from organizations like CAHOOTS might be much larger, and this is not just because they're saving police and ER costs and that running CAHOOTS itself is relatively cheap, it's also because of the diversion from jail that occurs as a result of CAHOOTS activities. 60% of clients are homeless, and 30% live with severe and persistent mental illness. These are frequent utilizers, not just for ER and shelters, but for jails as well. One assumes that because of CAHOOTS, arrests, jail admissions and detentions and the collateral consequences that are associated with each of these, huge for the individuals, their families, and communities has also been impacted, producing huge economic and social cost reductions or savings for all involved. And then we can think about what this means with regards to settlements. In 2018, for instance, Chicago spent $113 million to settle police misconduct, the result of encounters between police and citizens. New York City taxpayers spent a whopping $230 million to pay off 6,472 lawsuit settled against the NYPD in 19, in 2017, 2018. CAHOOTS estimates for cost savings to the police are based solely on the per police response, but if we were to take into consideration not just the diversions, but also the cost savings to cities and taxpayers that result from these settlements are also huge. But CAHOOTS is just one kind of model that has been deployed recently. Frankly, for CAHOOTS in the last few decades, more models are emerging that are very similar to it that address the issues that emerge in some communities and that could be dealt with effectively with these other models. Cure Violence, which helps to significantly reduce violence within communities that are beset by violence, is another kind of model that has been used successfully so to reduce violence in cities, not just across this country, but globally speaking. We know that investments in environmental strategies like greening vacant lots has huge impacts on reducing crime, including violent crime. Prioritizing young people, investing in young people, both with regards to education, but training in skills of various sorts has an impact on reducing crime that's associated with adolescents in emerging adulthood. Focusing on substance abuse, reducing financial hardships, oftentimes with income supplements can go a long way to stabilizing and securing individuals and their families within communities that are often, having worked in communities that are often having difficulty achieving a kind of stability and security. Investments, generally speaking, in community organizations and institutions that provide these kinds of services go a long way towards reducing crime and violence in ways that mean that we can rely far less on police than we do and get much better outcomes. So, legal scholar Monica Bell, who's at Yale now, a product of Harvard Kennedy School in sociology, she suggests that we should denaturalize the police, and by that, she means that the police as we know it is a fairly modern invention. It is only in the recent decades that we have come to rely on one body to do all that we expect police to do in our society. We have created the organization as it currently exists, but in light of the fact that for so many communities across the country, police actually do far more harm than good, we can remake the police or develop alternative approaches devoid of repression and oppression that many communities experience the police at, in terms of historically, as well as in the contemporary moment. So on that final point, I will end my presentation and open this up for our conversation.

- Great, great, thanks. So now we're gonna open up this session for your questions. To ask us questions, please use the virtual hand raising feature in Zoom, and in true Kennedy School fashion, please keep your questions brief and end it with a question mark. You'll be notified via Zoom chat feature when it's your turn to speak, and just let us know your name and your ACS affiliation. So I'm gonna start things off by asking a question that was submitted earlier by Ivy Jack, BBA and MBA 2004, and that question is, or practices that are effective in achieving racial equity as it relates to abolishing the mass incarceration as we know it today, what can educational institutions like Harvard do, what can corporations do and what can we as individuals do to champion racial equity in the criminal justice system?

- So, thank you for reading that Mari. I have to admit because of the warbliness, I wasn't able, I don't know that I caught it all, but let me try to respond based on what I've heard. It occurs to me that, so I'm not sure who, I can't remember who asked the question, but I will say over the past, say decade or more, 15 years even, there have been a number of approaches that various cities have taken to, in efforts to decriminalize lots of offenses that have brought too many people into the system and then produce long-term poor outcomes, and in many ways, in ways that create, help to create and maintain disparities that that we find today, and so these efforts have yielded some positive outcomes in terms of reducing the number of people that we are bringing into the system and that we are incarcerating, and that's good news. The issue, of course, is that for many of these interventions, even as they brought down the absolute number of people who've been brought into the system and who've been held onto by the system, the racial disparities have actually grown, and that is because some of the policies that we've put forward in an effort to decriminalize, in an effort to reduce harm, have impacted more white citizens than they have black and Latino citizens, and depending on what parts of the country we're talking about, indigenous folks. And so it's produced much greater disparities, even as it's reduced the number of people who've been having contact with the criminal legal system. And so what we have to to do is to both think about the kinds of policies we have in place that drive up the number of people that were brought into the system and effectively address those policies, right? So bringing in, many of you have probably learned about what progressive prosecutors have done across the country, their unwillingness to prosecute a number of kind of low level, non-violent offenses. Here in Boston, the Boston area, Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins had a presumption of non-prosecution for about 15 low level offenses, and this dramatically reduced the number of people they were bringing into the system, and very recently, we have learned that as a result of not bringing folks into the system who otherwise might have brought into the system, it's actually produced greater public safety. Harshness, it turns out, in terms of how we treat people who come into the system, produces much worse outcomes. When you fail to prosecute those who are on the low level, who have engaged in what we're considering to be low level offenses actually reduces the likelihood that those people will have future contact with the criminal legal system, and will, you know, they can keep their jobs, they can go on with their lives without further contact. That's all good news. The issue is that oftentimes, when those policies are put into place, they're put into place in ways that tend to benefit more white citizens or residents than non-white citizens and residents, and that ends up increasing the disparities overall. We've seen this in the context of New York's kind of decriminalization of marijuana. We've seen it in a number of other contexts as well. And in fact, the rates of the kind of disparities that we've seen that result from these kinds of policies, even again, as they reduce the number of people across the board who are being brought into the system and being penalized in the system, the disparities really kind of skyrocket, and so what we have to do is to take another step when we implement these kinds of policies, these kinds of policies that both decriminalize and that are far less harsh in terms of the nature of the punishment that people do receive when they are sanctioned by the system is to be very mindful of the racial impact of what it is that we're doing, to the extent that we are being much more lenient with these new policies towards our white residents or white citizens, those who are brought into the system, vis-a-vis black and Latino and indigenous folks. We're actually making matters worse in terms of disparities, and we have to pay attention to the ways in which our, the implementation of policies are being done in racially disparate ways that increase these harms for folks of color, at least in relative terms, and so there are, in some ways, two questions: how do we decriminalize, decarcerate in ways that overall reduce the kind of contact that Americans are having with the criminal legal system, and then a second part of that question is how do we do it in ways that actually reduce disparities? So far, I think we're doing some good work in terms of achieving the first point, the former point, but we're struggling in ways to do it such that it also reduces these disparities, and my sense is that at least in part it's because there's some hidden bias that's shaping those decisions on the ground that affects who gets to benefit from these policies and who doesn't, and my thinking too is that there is, there are a lot of factors that are associated with being black and Latino that includes low SES, that includes having maybe prior contact with the criminal legal system in part resulting because of the neighborhoods that some folks come from, et cetera, that increases the likelihood that those people are deemed to be perhaps more riskier bets, and so those in the criminal legal system, authorities in the criminal legal system are less likely to make it so that the new policies benefit them, and so this is in part why we might be seeing greater disparities, even as we make progress in decriminalizing and decarceration, and so we have to pay a lot more attention on that part of this problem, even as we continue to work towards moving in a direction of decarceration and decriminalization.

- [Mari] Great, thank you. Our next questioner is Jen Posner. If you could let us know your ACS affiliation and ask your question.

- [Jen] Hi, this is Jen. I guess, let's see, I'm an MPB '92, and I was curious about solving homicides, if there are other models for doing that and that you're aware of and what they are.

- Thank you so much for your question, Jen, I appreciate it. So, I mean, a big part of solving homicides is having trust in, this trust between police officers to the extent that we will continue to rely on police officers to solve crime and the residents of the communities that they serve. I mean, a big part of the issue is that trust has so eroded that people won't talk to police officers about what it is that they might know in ways that might lead to better outcomes, and so part and parcel of what is happening here is a function of or the effect of having so eroded trust between communities of color and police that there's not a sharing of information that can reduce better outcomes like solving crimes, generally speaking, and solving murders. So a lot of this has to be about developing those relationships of trust so that people feel like when they tell officers something that that information will be used to benefit the, you know, themselves in the broader community, not use to harm them, and it also has to be a development of trust that makes it so that neither of these two communities, police officers on the one hand, communities of color on other, kind of see themselves in opposition to each other, and I think that's a huge driver. If you see yourself in opposition to the police, for instance, if your identity is, at least in part, one that says that you stand in opposition to police, you cannot trust police, every, you know, you can't collaborate with police, share information with them, because doing so goes against who you are as a person, then you, we won't ever make any kind of inroads in this regard. So, trusting, building these trusting relationships in such a way that breaks down this barrier, this almost kind of identity barrier that exists between police on the one hand and people, members of communities of color that are often negatively affected in this way on the other, I think, would go a long way, but we've historically failed to do that, and so it strikes me that in, it's unclear to me how, it's hard for me to be, Jen, optimistic about ways of developing the kind of trust necessary to share this, the information that would produce these better kinds of policing outcomes, and so I think we should really think about other ways of approaching solu, approaching these kinds of problems, and so it might be something like developing, within the context of communities, community boards where people, you don't go to police to tell the police what you know, you go to, you know, the people in your community that you do trust and you do trust with this information and you do trust what they will do with it to share what it is that you know, and then have those, perhaps, those, that kind of panel or group or board of folks work with law enforcement in order to get justice in ways that the community feel, the community members will feel like it's productive. So I think we're gonna have to think seriously about other alternatives, because it's, you know, for good reason, it's hard to imagine developing the kind of trust at this point that will produce, you know, kind of information sharing that leads to solving, at least with regards to police. I think what that means then is that we need to construct alternative options, alternative organizations or institutions that are rooted in communities where the community members are the ones who are serving in the role of collecting information and dealing with that information in ways that will lead to just, much more just outcomes, and so I think that, you know, what has to happen is a kind of separation in a way that will lead to the outcomes that we would, we would want in these contexts, and I should say, if we were to go back to CAHOOTS, which you know, is different in many ways, but with regards to this conversation of murder and solving murders and other kinds of crimes, what's interesting about the CAHOOTS model is that it in part works because the police, even when they're brought in in the worst situations, are often kept at a distance. Community members trust CAHOOTS, they don't trust police, and so they feel comfortable and confident when CAHOOTS members arrive on the scene to deal with issues, even issues that could escalate into so much more, because they trust what the CAHOOTS members are there to do. I think what we need to do in a context like this where we're trying to solve crime is to create or construct other kinds of options where people can share information and get issues related to crime, including violent crime, addressed, because the level, the extent, nature and depth of distrust that exists makes it really difficult in many communities to make those kinds of inroads, and so I think that that is needed. And what we see with regards to the kind of models that seek to reduce violence, these kinds of violence interveners, they too are very careful to keep some distance from the police so that they can gather the information that they need and then go to separate parties that help to reduce the temperature, to deescalate the situation, and there are some cases where sometimes the police have to be brought in, but they do it in such a way that continues to preserve the relationship with community members' trust with them while also allowing law enforcement to do their work. So I think it really does take, Jen, thinking about really creative, alternative approaches, ones, approaches that center community members and community, kind of small organizations to do that work and then partner with police when necessary in order to get the final kind of results done or made, if that makes sense.

- [Mari] Thank you very much. Let's go to Linda.

- [Linda] Hi Professor, thank you so much for meeting with us. I'm a Carr Center Advisory Board member, and a senior fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative. I'm a long time trial lawyer by practice, and I kind of, I guess I come from a white, rather privileged background. My question has to do with preaching to the choir and how, you know, I wondering who's on this call, and I love listening to what you're saying, it's eyeopening, but I don't know how to convey these concepts and ideas to people that disagree, and I wonder how much, you know, how often do you get to do this, talk to a room full of people that would disagree, how you would style that communication?

- Linda, this is the problem, or certainly one of them. It turns out that, well, and you wouldn't be surprised by this, I don't know that I get a lot of opportunities to speak to people who would disagree with me strongly. I will say this, though: in part, the reason why I've come up with this particular presentation and thought it through is because I do have colleagues who I think are left of center who care about racial justice, racial equity, want to push for those changes, but still think that police have to be front and center, that mostly it's a kind of institution. It's a good for the broader society. We need to keep it. There are no real alternatives. And so, so we just have to figure out how to kind of tinker around the edges, and eventually we will get there, and it's really kind of in response to those people that I've constructed this, so I haven't, in terms of thinking through these three points: one, that police don't actually do a lot of crime fighting or crime solving, two, that there's huge harm done, and social science research by the best scholars with the most rigorous approaches are showing strong evidence of these harms and that there are these alternative approaches that are emerging that, for many reasons, seem to be better. That argument for me came up, my desire to make these arguments, to develop this, these points was, frankly, in response to people who have no interest in having any kind of discussion about defending the police or decentering the police in conversations about public safety. They might be somewhat left of center, but for them, public safety is police, and I think that, and so my response is an effort to try to address, to speak to those people, not the people who are probably, you know, far left in a way that I should define myself, and I frankly think that there are probably a number of people on this call who would feel very uncomfortable. I'm expecting, actually, most, or that many, if not most people on this call to feel very uncomfortable with what it is that I am arguing, because I do think that there's a way that in our society and beyond our society, there's, it's the idea that the police are public safety, I think, is almost a kind of belief system. It's like a religion, and to challenge that in any way, I think, makes people very uncomfortable and puts them in a situation where they have to confront fears about being unsafe. So, my argument is not actually intended to speak to the people who fully embrace that kind of defund, wherever that is, it's actually to talk to those folks who feel as if police are a right, and as long as we, you know, a positive, offer a kind of positive contribution to the broader society, to most of us, if not all of us, and that all we need to do is to kind of tinker around the edges in order to address the issues that we have and that we've been confronting. My argument is an effort to get to those people, and I'll be honest in saying that I don't know how successful I have been, but what I feel optimistic about is the fact that despite how people feel about the police as an agency, there are still efforts afoot to create alternative approaches to solving the problems that we have asked for the past many decades, the police to respond to, and those efforts like CAHOOTS, like Cure Violence, their whole set of others are producing really good results, and in their own way, decentering police. So for me, this, and this is much less a conversation, then, about doing away with police, let's not like police, let's, you know, dismiss or critique police. Really, this is an effort to kind of rethink public safety as a concept that is analytically distinct from police and policing itself. Policing might be one way through which we achieve it, but there are a whole host of other ways that we now know from evidence are cheaper, more effective, more efficient and cause less harm, and don't we want to be in a situation where we're embracing those models, and the more we do, the more people across the country, communities across the country are embracing them. We see that with regards to CAHOOTS, we see that with regards to Cure Violence, we see that with regards to a number of other initiatives that have taken hold and shown really strong evidence of really great impacts, and so in part, you know, just to kind of reiterate, this wasn't intended for people like me, it was actually intended to speak to people who think somewhat differently about this issue. I can't say that I know for sure that it is successful. One of the things that I've been trying to do is to focus more on the public safety aspect. How do we achieve it in situations where it's not working? And I find that framing much more powerful, much more empowering, and we have a growing body of evidence to support it. I should also say that I feel optimistic about the future when I think about these alternative models that are emerging, and so that's what I've been focusing on, and when I have focused on those models in conversations with people who would not necessarily agree with me about how we might want to decenter the police in order to achieve more public safety, when I've centered this question of public safety and the different models that are emerging that are successful, I find that other people get excited about the possibilities as well. It makes it much less about the police and it makes it much more about how we can create communities where people feel like they are secure, they feel stable, they feel like they're, they will be protected from harm, and that has been a lot more productive in the conversations that I've had. But I need to have way more, Linda, I need many more cases to see how this will, this approach will work out, but so far I found that to be pretty productive.

- [Mari] Great, thank you, that's good. And thank you, Linda.

- [Stacey] Thank you, Professor Smith. This is Stacey, MBA 1993. I'm calling from Oregon, and so I'm so excited to hear you refer to CAHOOTS so frequently, and I'd like to thank you so much for doing the gap analysis piece when you were talking about how certain programs really create additional outcomes, one of this also in that category are diversion programs and how different races take advantage of those programs, are attracted to those programs compared to not, and so the one thing I, one thing I felt is having that transparent race, this aggregated data is so important, and, you know, it's the basis of so much of what we're able to talk about now, but I'd like to return to CAHOOTS just for one second and say, wow, a 50 year history is amazing. My question really is what's taken the other states so long to sign on, you know? In this laboratory of the states idea, this is a long-term program. What do you think the uptake will look like? One of the things I wonder is if the peer, the peer support and peer mental health kind of model has helped Oregon be the place where this is going so long, and is that a way for other communities to tie into that, to this kind of model and make those kinds of investments? Thank you so much.

- Thank you for that, Stacey, I really appreciate it, and I'm glad that you brought up diversion programs. I can't agree with you more. So with regards to CAHOOTS, what's taken so long. So I have to admit, and this is based on what I learned when we invited Tim Black, who heads up White Bird Clinic, to join us at the program and criminal justice speaker series to share with us more about the CAHOOTS model and what it's done and where they're going, and so it did begin 50 years ago, but it was a very small outfit of community members who just kind of volunteered. They were essentially paying for everything that they did themselves. It took until about 1990 or thereabouts before the city began to assist in terms of supporting the work that they were doing, so partly, it's now publicly funded, but it's also funded by donations, and they've been able to grow the outfit, and over this period of time too they were also able to rework the model in ways that worked for the community, and so I think in part, it took so long for us to get to know that CAHOOTS existed, because it was a work in progress, and it took a while for them to become what they are. You know, it's now almost a legend. I had a difficult time getting Tim to join us for the speaker series, because they're being sought out by jurisdictions across the country. So Stacey, my sense is that it's not gonna be very long before you'll see versions of CAHOOTS cropping up all over the place. When I spoke to Tim earlier this year, it was clear that I think there were about at least nine other cities that were incorporating some version of CAHOOTS, including my own hometown of Hartford, Connecticut, and he reported that they were being inundated with requests from many other cities to come and talk about their model and to develop, you know, versions, local versions that would work. So it's taking off, and it's taking off because the the results seem very clear. The more we have come to understand the role that mental health illness or episodes play and the extent and nature of contact that people have with the police, I think the more law enforcement and public health officials have been really invested in finding alternatives to address this particular problem. What I love about CAHOOTS though, is that it doesn't just address the mental health issues. They address a whole assortment of issues, really kind of through, again, this kind of deescalation approach, deescalation approach and trauma informed approach, which leads to a whole heap of trust emerging between community residents and those who work with and for CAHOOTS. So I think it's, what we're seeing now is probably, and we're gonna see soon, at least, is an explosion of CAHOOTS-like models emerging across the country, and that is in progress. It's a small organization, though, and so I think they're struggling to meet all of the demands for their attention, but that will happen, and my thinking too, is that as a result of evidence of the efficacy of organizations like CAHOOTS and the kind of work that they're doing, it's also leading many police departments to develop their own kind of internal versions of these crisis intervention models, and so, and I'm not quite sure exactly what the evidence shows on that front, but I imagine that anything that moves away from, you know, armed officers coming and having a propensity to escalate situations should produce really good, should produce better outcomes, but I'm optimistic in terms of what this will mean, and I'm also optimistic about the other kinds of approaches that seek to reduce violence, engage citizens in kind of ways that make it so they're much more civically engaged and civic minded, and I think that those also end up having these kind of positive benefits as well. So for me, even as we struggle with the role that police will play and struggle with a set of reforms that might reduce levels or rates of police brutality, what I've been excited about are the innovations that are emerging on the ground, often from community residents who see problems that are coming up with creative ways to solve it based on their understanding about what that community needs and what resources there are to bring to bear on those problems, and to me, that's just, that's really exciting. I wish that I could be in many of these communities watching this unfold, because I think it's pretty incredible and kind of shows the strength and resilience of people across the country.

- [Mari] Thank you. And our last question today will be from Nichelle Santos.

- [Nichelle] Can you hear me now? Hi there, Professor Sandra Susan Smith. I appreciate you for having this fascinating discussion. I've been a student at the Harvard Kennedy School for public, my public leadership credential in 2020, and transforming police is a complex social challenge, and there is a business and economics in police misconduct. Each police department has to maintain insurance, liability policies, and I'm conducting a study of the role, in corporate social responsibility, of the insurance industry and what their role is in offering solutions and risk management strategies for police departments to adopt in order to remain as a client. So, with a three to five year strategy to comply with things like hiring, training and deescalation tactics, all of the things that you've mentioned, and the business and economics, it's important to have the statistics of the cost savings in the diversion programs, the cost of the settlements that these insurance companies are paying. You mentioned New York state paying 230 million for over 200 cases, and we see George Floyd and what erupted across the country was over $2 billion. So there's a, if we approach this from the business and economics perspective and risk management, you know, we can ultimately make change, and I would love to discuss this with you offline.

- Nichelle, if you don't mind me calling you that, I would love to talk to you. Let us figure out a time to speak, and soon. I want to know more about the research that you're doing. This strikes me, like I, you know, I've been paying attention, as I think we all have been, to the debates around qualified immunity, et cetera, and I, you know, get why moving in that direction would be really important, I fully support it. I do wonder, though, how much of a change that will make, but what you're describing to me, Nichelle, could be a game changer, and so I would love to have a conversation with you about what is being done and what predictions you would have about how this would impact what's happening on the ground with regards to policing, so let us please connect and connect soon.

- [Mari] Great, thank you. And thank you to everyone who called in to listen to today's Wiener Conference Call. This is the last Wiener Conference Call of the academic year. We'd like to apologize for those of you who I didn't get to, and give a special thank you to Sandra Susan Smith for sharing her important expertise today. Have a great rest of the day.