70 Million

We Went Back to See How These Reforms Worked

Episode Notes

We wanted to see what has happened since we first reported on mental health interventions for arrestees in Miami, how the "bond angels" save lives in New Orleans, and what the digital police surveillance network called Project Greenlight has meant for Detroit. Reported by Danny Rivero, Eve Abrams and Sonia Paul. 

Find a resource guide and annotated transcript at our website here.

Episode Transcription

Mitzi Miller: I’m Mitzi Miller, and this is 70 Million. 

Over three seasons so far, 70 Million has covered the country from coast to coast, gathering stories from mountain and beach towns, cities and rural areas.

We’ve focused our spotlight on change-makers taking bold solutions forward, and breaking cycles of incarceration, right where they live .

For this episode, we’re checking in with some of our past guests from each season to see how their reform stories have unfolded. 

In our first season, we went to Miami… to meet people building out a safety net for those with mental illness, to keep them out of the criminal legal system.

We met Judge Steve Leifman, who created the Miami-Dade Criminal Justice Mental Health Project in 2000. It’s become a leading jail diversion program that keeps people with mental health issues out of custody. And helps them get treatment.

Along the way, Judge Leifman found allies at every level:

Steve Leifman: It was the courts, the Department of Corrections, the providers, the Department of Children and Families, the police chief, the director. Everybody started to sign onon how we could change the process.

Miller: Reporter Danny Rivero, of WLRN, takes us back to Miami to see how the safety net is expanding.

Danny Rivero: Judge Steve Leifman is giving me a tour of a building that is under construction. Workers 

are here at all hours building the embodiment of everything he’s been working at for two decades. Judge Leifman says it's the first building of its kind in the nation.

Liefman: Going to be both a mental health receiving area and an addiction receiving area, and so, you know, people that have overdosed in the street will be able to, you know, take him here as well and get them, you know, set up, keep them out of your E.R., hopefully.

Rivero: He’s talking to a group of doctors from a South Florida hospital who are also getting a tour of the building — and they like what they see. The building is MASSIVE. It’s a shockingly big space. There’s seven floors and long hallways lined with dorm rooms and doctor’s offices.

If police pick someone up who is having a mental health crisis — officers will be able to drop them off here to get a full evaluation and services. And the same for people with substance abuse problems — a lot of times there’s overlap between the two.

Leifman: The idea is if we make it really nice, maybe they'll want to stay. As they get better and they want to stay, if they want to stay voluntarily, they can stay for a year here voluntarily on one of the higher floors and continue to get all the services that we're pointing out as we move through.

Rivero: That includes mental health counseling and direct access to prescription drugs for people with mental illness. For many people with mental mental health conditions who tend to get picked up by the police over and over again, these key services are spread out across the city: places like treatment centers, homeless shelters, the doctor’s office, public libraries where you can use the internet.

But in this building — it’s all that in one. Including a mini courthouse.

Leifman: If they have cases pending, we can do them right here. We don't have to transfer people back and forth. It makes security a lot better. 

People don't understand how the system works. For inmates to come to court, they have to wake them up at 5:00, 6:00 in the morning to get them on a bus, to transfer them to our building, put them in holding cells for hours. They don't feed them. These are people with serious mental illnesses. They all have trauma issues. That’s the other thing we’ll have here, is trauma services.

Rivero: Judge Leifman and his team have already identified about a hundred people who will finally have access to the kind of treatment they need at this building ..These are the same people who cycle in and out of jail and the courts over and over again — a lot of times because it’s so hard to get treatment for their conditions.

This is what Judge Leifman told us about that group — three years ago:

Leifman: Over a five year period, they were arrested 2,200 times. They spent 27,00 days in the Dade County jail, 13,000 days at a psychiatric facility or emergency room, psychiatric. Did not include primary cost, And cost taxpayers 13.7 million dollars. And we got absolutely nothing for it.

Rivero: He says breaking that cycle and getting this core group of people real treatment — is also going to save taxpayers millions and millions of dollars a year.

This building is the end goal Judge Leifman has been building towards ever since he created the Miami-Dade Criminal Mental Health Project in 2000. And that program has faced its own challenges during this global pandemic.

When we met peer specialist Justin Volpe in season one, he was delivering mental health medication to one of the people enrolled in that program.

[Sound of Justin getting out of car and saying, “Hello!”]

The program works by pairing people like Justin — with someone with a mental health condition who has been arrested. Many of the workers for the program — like Justin — actually have their own mental illness. And Justin makes sure people in the program show up to their court dates, see their counselors, and that everyone has access to the right medications.

And if those people hit all those benchmarks and also don’t get arrested again, the criminal charges will be dropped and they won’t have that stain on their record.

Today, Justin is in his car again, butting heads with the brutal Miami traffic on I-95.

Justin Volpe: This guy has not been to a regular court hearing, as many participants haven't been, it's all been on Zoom, so we're going to make sure he has a way to get there and that he'll be there Thursday. 

Rivero: We’re headed to a white, two story apartment building within earshot of the highway so Justin can check in with someone in the program.

I wait in the parking lot while Justin goes inside for a few minutes. And when he comes back out, he has an update on the game plan.

Volpe: He’ll get the message to his phone that the Lyft is coming, and we’ll put his phone number in directly. Now if somebody didn’t have a cell phone, somebody would have to go there and either pick him up in this car, or somebody would have to meet him there, or I’d have to call somebody at the house that is trustworthy and put their number..but I’d have to figure out the situation.

Rivero: The pandemic changed Justin’s job for a while. It was like doing an IT job — troubleshooting technology, coordinating over emails. Way more screen time than he’s used to. And also more complicated, because a lot of people with mental health issues — especially if they face homelessness — don’t have cell phones or any access to the internet.

Volpe: People that were doing well were receptive. People that aren't doing well, now it's even harder to get a hold of them.  

Rivero: As the courts reopen, people with pending cases that are in the program have to adjust back to going to court in person. And Justin says that can be an important reality check for them.

Volpe: We're kind of getting people that we've never met or have been physically in front of the judge in front of the judge, just to show that you do have open criminal case and even if you're doing good, just so that they know, you know, kind of the severity of it, because I think you can lose context, too, if you if you're not well. 

Rivero: Justin, and others like him, help people after they’ve already been arrested by police.

But a different kind of reform from the police side — is meant to help people from getting into the system in the first place. It started after the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland.

That’s when the Miami-Dade Police Department created something called the Threat Management Section. It’s designed almost like a social worker section of the police department. 

If someone makes threats to the public or to loved ones, for example — a police officer becomes the case manager and works one-on-one with that person to get them mental health treatment.

Latosha King is a detective with the unit, and I spent a day with her to see how the program works.

Latosha King: We go visit them wherever they are at, a facility, at their residence. We go to doctor's appointments, we go to court with them, and we just make sure they take their medication, they're going to their doctor's appointments, they have employment—we just make sure they are okay. We're still officers at the end of the day. While we perform a slightly different duty, we're here to help you. 

Rivero: I sat in when Detective King met with a man in the program that we’re calling by his first initial M. to protect his privacy. We were sitting in a tiny, peach colored room at a mental health treatment facility.

King: How did it affect you or it benefit you with me coming here, visiting you — that rapport we built? Because it wasn’t easy! Our first couple of visits wasn't easy!

M: You know at first I was kind of scared because you guys was always there every week, you know, but I gotta tell you, one thing about it — about you guys — it give you that motivation that you have someone that’s watching over you. And you cannot slip up. And I cannot thank you enough, man, I cannot, for what you’ve done for me, for my father you check up on him, you know. You call me, you help me with my green card, you help me with my paper. I cannot thank you enough.

Rivero: M shared that he enrolled in a culinary program and he was excited about an upcoming lesson.

M: I’m gonna start learning to make my own pasta pretty soon.

Rivero: After the meeting, Detective King reflected on this new kind of police work.

King: It took a couple of visits for, you know, for him to understand that I’m here to help him. 

I’m not here to arrest him, I wasn’t here to judge him for what happened in his past, I was actually here to help him. 

Rivero: M might be happy to have police help him stay out of trouble now. But — he was still hesitant to talk to them at first.

Another recent reform here is meant to keep people like M. from having to interact with police at all.

The City of Miami just rolled out a new program that staffs the 911 call center with social workers from the local public hospital. So when someone calls 911 for a mental health crisis, they can talk to a social worker and maybe get help, instead of sending police officers to the scene.

Habsi Kaba is a therapist and also in charge of training police officers in Miami on how to interact with people having a mental health crisis. She brought the 911 program to Miami.

Habsi Kaba: The answer is not give it to law enforcement. The answer is, you know, we need each other, we can’t do it without each other, so let’s make a plan.

Rivero: That’s also Judge Leifman’s approach. He thinks a lot of the defendants that end up in court don’t really belong there in the first place.

The building that’s under construction is his big solution. And the money for Covid relief that Congress passed — could help get the whole thing across the finish line.

Leifman: But this may be the right time for us because all these federal dollars are now available for the next three years that we never would have had a chance to have. And it gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle our homeless problem here and to spend our dollars more efficiently, and more importantly, give people an opportunity to recover that they never had before.

Rivero: When the building opens it’ll have 208 dorm rooms for housing, a full psychiatric team, primary medical and dental care, a computer lab, a basketball court, and a job training program.

Judge Leifman expects to open the building in March of 2022.

[Music outro.]

Miller: Thanks to Danny Rivero, host of WLRN podcast “Tallahassee Takeover,” for that story. 

Last time on 70 Million, we looked at how the growth of the US criminal punishment system over the last 50 years has been funded, in part, by passing on the costs to the people we arrest and put in jail.  In New Orleans, like many places, the majority of those people are poor and Black. We met one of those people: a chef, named Albert.

Albert: I have Julia Child's first paperback, The French Chef Cookbook, and I have Emerald’s TV 

Dinners, Southern Recipes and Legends...

Miller: One night, Albert was bicycling home from work when police pulled him over.

Albert: First thing he did, he put the handcuffs on me. So I got handcuffed, they put me in the back, they brought me to Orleans Justice Center. I was processed and booked with distribution.

Albert sat in jail for weeks because he couldn’t afford $300 in bail. But then, an organization—the New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund, known as the Bond Angel — paid his bond.  Albert went home, back to work, and back to his life, where he can...

Albert: ...stay abreast of all different food trends and everything coming out: Master Chef, Food and Wine Magazine. I’m into all that. That’s my bread and butter. 

Miller: Watchdog group Court Watch NOLA reports that more than 15,000 people were arrested in New Orleans in 2019. In 2020, during the pandemic, that number dropped by nearly half. Still, many arrestees ended up sitting in jail.

Reporter Eve Abrams catches up with the Bond Angels, and how the pandemic has changed what they do.

Abrams: Every day, someone from the New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund walks into the New Orleans Criminal Courthouse—

Montrell Carmouche: Hey, how you doing? 

Abrams: —to bond out people they don’t know. On this day, I’m tagging along with Montrell Carmouche, who has directed the Fund since 2020.

Carmouche: Hello. Hello. Hi. I need to post bail.

Abrams: All the people the Fund posts bail for are presumed innocent.  Many haven’t even been charged yet. They’ve been arrested for things like theft, drug possession and fighting.  That’s the case today: a young Black business owner locked up after a physical altercation.

Carmouche: So ​​I'm going to post a bail here for a young man. $7,510 is what I will be giving Ms. Dionne. We’re gonna pay a cash bail here.

Abrams: Montrell slides 75 100 dollar bills and one ten dollar bill—the nonrefundable typing fee— under the plexiglass.

Carmouche: Here you go.

Abrams: The man Montrell’s bonding out is a few blocks away at the New Orleans jail, whose population in 2021 is actually low—as low as it’s been in more than 50 years.

People have been trying to reduce New Orleans’ jail population for years, especially in the last decade. And reforming bail is a big part of this, because if you’re too poor to pay your bail, you simply sit in jail, making it more or less a debtor’s prison. 

There’s been so much reform work, and it’s making a difference.

Meg Garvey: It’s just been years of really good, consistent advocacy, saying “These people haven’t been convicted for anything. They are innocent under the law.  And not only that, they haven’t been charged with anything.” 

Abrams: Meg Garvey is a public defender in New Orleans who knows a lot about bail. For years, she’s worked in magistrate court where someone arrested first appears before a judge.

Garvey: It’s when the judge sets bond.  So I was the attorney in hundreds and hundreds–well probably thousands, actually–of bond hearings.

Abrams: In our previous episode, we talked about lawsuits filed against New Orleans judges. These lawsuits argued that when judges set money bail and then use part of that money to fund the court, it’s a conflict of interest

For years, Meg says, public defenders have been waving these lawsuits around, referencing them over and over again.  And using their language to remind judges of the purpose of bail.

Garvey: To say here’s the reasons that you can set a bail on somebody, right? They’re dangerous, right, so they get out, they’re gonna to hurt someone and there’s no way that we can prevent that from happening. Or, this person’s demonstrated that there’s no way that they’re gonna come back to court and there’s nothing we can put into place to mitigate against that.  

Abrams: According to the law, these are the only legal reasons you can set bail: someone is too dangerous to not be in jail or they’re a flight risk.

Garvey: Honestly, it’s kinda funny that we even have to have litigation about it, because it’s long-standing law. 

Abrams: But the litigation did need to happen, and lawyers do need to remind judges what bail is for. Even so, change was slow.  

Then... the pandemic hit. 

Meg says when COVID began showing up in Louisiana, she had what she calls a Katrina moment.

Garvey: When you’re kinda kicking into over-gear. I don’t know if it’s fully a PTSD thing, but it’s definitely an  anxiety thing, where you, just, you’re a little panicky and you want to get to work and you want to pre-empt things from happening.

Abrams: Meg knew COVID would be bad for the people in jail.  But not just them.  Because people 

in jail eventually get out and go back to their communities.  Meg saw a public health catastrophe brewing. And she had seen catastrophic failure before, after Katrina, another time she was trying to get people out of jail.

Garvey: It’s terrible to say it, but it almost gave me an advantage in being able to like think through: this is only going to get worse, and also, don’t wait for the system to right itself, because it won’t. Unless you make it.

Abrams: During the pandemic, people were still being arrested, but normal court procedures, where those arrested first appear before a judge or a magistrate commissioner who sets bail—those couldn’t happen anymore. It was an emergency in the making. So Meg, the commissioners, and other public defenders got on the phone to figure out a solution, fast.

Garvey: I remember that weekend trying to figure out how to learn zoom and testing it out. The judges and I, we were just sort of like talking with each other and trying to talk through, like how does this work?

Abrams: That next week, first appearances began happening over Zoom. 

And it wasn’t the only change.

The coronavirus was presenting judges and commissioners with literally life and death stakes. And public pressure was mounting, which forced them to do more of what they’d been so reluctant to do before: release people on their own recognizance. In other words, set no bond or set low bonds.

Garvey: More people were released and bonds were set lower, and then the sky didn’t fall. So then, I think people became more comfortable with it.

Abrams: As of mid-September, there were around 900 people remaining in the New Orleans jail.  

That’s about a third the number of people in jail ten years ago. It’s a few hundred less people in jail from when we first reported this story.

There’s another reason the jail population is continuing to drop: more and more, this is what New Orleanians want.

Garvey: I think that there’s been a groundswell of many different organizations in the city speaking out against wealth-based pretrial incarceration. And so I think there’s just a louder community voice saying like, we don’t want this. It doesn’t make any sense.  All this money is going to bondsmen.  Most of it is coming out of the Black community.  And it’s not making us safer.

Abrams: Meg says New Orleans is now at a new stage in bail reform.  She says, the culture around money bail…

Garvey: I think it’s shifting. [Laughs.] I think there are people who… that don’t really see things my way, though I think may come to see things my way within the next, like, 5 years. I’m confident about that. [Laughs.]

[Music Transition.]

Abrams: But for now, money bail still exists in New Orleans, and Bond Angel Montrell Carmouche still has to pay to get people out of jail. 

Carmouche: So what she's writing for me right now is a bail receipt. This receipt, when this case is over, no matter if the defendant is found guilty or innocent, we'll bring this receipt right back to the same area and turn it in. Once the case has been closed, you exchange the receipt for the money back. You get the money back in about two weeks. 

Abrams: And then, the Safety and Freedom Fund can recycle that same money to bond out another person.  

Carmouche: I can remember times that they would call for refunds and I would run over and pick up the refunds and deposit them and be frustrated because the bank wouldn't clear it until the next day, because I needed that money to be able to get more people out the jail.

Abrams: But that’s another thing that’s changed. During the uprising following George Floyd’s murder, The Safety and Freedom Fund got a lot more support — both from individuals and large funders, like the National Bail Fund Network. So now, the Bond Angels can get people out of jail in parishes beyond New Orleans. And they can pay for things, like childcare, so people can go to court to resolve their cases. 

The Fund is in a really good place, Montrell says, but she won’t be satisfied until she’s out of a job.

Carmouche: The mission is to get money bail to end. Getting people out of jail: it's just a means to an end. It’s great and it's amazing and it's awesome, but my full focus these days is policy and advocacy and educating community leaders and neighbors on the harms of money bail and how and why we need to stop it.

Miller: Thanks to Eve Abrams for that piece. 

In late August, after Eve’s reporting was completed, Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana. The storm impacted virtually every aspect of life in New Orleans, including the criminal legal system. As of late September, people in the city jail who were temporarily evacuated have now been moved back, and according to Meg Garvey, first appearances via Zoom have continued uninterrupted. 

In season three, we reported from Detroit about its extensive police surveillance system, Project Greenlight. We met resident Myrtle Thompson-Curtis, who told us what she thought of all the cameras around her city. And whether they actually help to reduce crime. 

Myrtle Thompson-Curtis: Okay, the placebo effect, you can take two pills. One is a real pill, one is a sugar pill, and because you're being told this is an aspirin, “Ohhh, I feel better...” 

Miller: She thinks the effect was mostly psychological.

Thompson-Curtis: ...Even though the placebo effect, it doesn't really mean instantaneously, if something happened, the police would show up. [Laughs.] You're not really safer, you just feel safer…

Miller: We also met Robert Williams, the first known person to face wrongful arrest due to flawed analysis of facial recognition software.

Robert Williams: I said, this is not me. Like, I hope you all don't think all Black people look alike. And then he says, “The computer says it’s you.” 

Miller: Williams is now suing the Detroit police. And so are two other Black men also arrested after facial recognition misidentified them.

The overlap between policing, surveillance, and technology keeps growing across the country. In this update, reporter Sonia Paul takes us deeper into these issues as more cities jump on board with “virtual policing.”

Paul: Despite some public protest, in September of 2020, the Detroit City Council voted in favorof renewing a contract with DataWorks Plus for facial recognition software. It’s worth over $200-thousand dollars, and is now in place through September 2022

Meanwhile, businesses—which have to opt into the program and pay for their on-site cameras—are still buying into the city’s surveillance network. Since our last report, Detroit Police said about six cameras were added per month to Project Greenlight over a ten-month period. So there are now over 4,200 cameras operating in an area that’s about 140 square miles.

Giovanni Circo: The million dollar question everyone wants to know is that if a business joins Greenlight, does it reduce crime at that business?...

Paul: So does it reduce crime?

Circo: So I'm going to give you the typical academic answer that so many people find unsatisfying, which is, it depends.

Paul: That’s Giovanni Circo, an assistant professor at the University of New Haven, who's been researching Project Greenlight for a few years with colleagues at Michigan State University. The study is still under peer review, but it found a slight decrease in carjackings and increased reports of minor crime.

Circo: One of the things that we hypothesize in our study is that because you have more surveillance, you have increased police response to calls for service, including very minor calls for service. And these minor thefts that might have not been reported or detected in the past were now being increasingly reported to the police. And so, in some ways, we can see that it's having an effect. But maybe instead of preventing crime, it’s being better at detecting crime. 

Paul: But, the study found Project Greenlight had no impact on violent crime. And even though it’s difficult to actually pull apart the reporting of crime from the incidence of crime, Circo says interest in this kind of approach to surveillance is growing.

Circo: ...because the technology has become much cheaper, much easier to implement at this point in time.

Paul: Circo’s right about this approach growing. As of September 10, 2021, there were at least 83 virtual policing programs attached to real-time crime centers in the U.S., with about a third of them emerging in the last year alone. 

A 2020 U.S. Department of Justice case study on Jackson, Mississippi says the police department there is a quote, “model example of how to overcome the budgetary limitations of a police department when building crime analysis or technical capacities.” 

News clip, Nov. 19, 2020:  With a ribbon cutting and name reveal, the city of Jackson launches its real time command center. Police Chief James Davis says he's traveled to different cities to see how crime is handled there. That's how he turned the department towards virtual policing.

Paul: Public records indicate Jackson first launched its Real Time Command Center in 2019, and uses 96 city-operated cameras. Each camera is supposed to have a flashing light. Here’s Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba in a 2019 news report:

Chokwe Antar Lumumba:  Ultimately, we want to do something called like “blue light” or “red light”, whatever, stores, and these would be stores that there would be a light outside the store. And what that signals is that this is a sort of store that is on the circuit with the city... that the city can look into.

Paul: All those cameras with flashing lights feed into a central command center at the police department.

D’Keither Stamps: It looks like a space launch room where you have these cameras and these screens everywhere, and it looks like something from the military.

Paul: That’s former Jackson City Council member—and former military police officer—D’Keither Stamps, talking over Zoom about Jackson, Mississippi’s Real Time Command Center.

Stamps is now a Representative in the state legislature. Back in October 2020, he was the only council member not to vote for a 45-day pilot program that would allow private home security cameras—on top of city-owned public cameras—to feed into the city’s Command Center. Over 400 police departments already have camera registries in place for citizens and businesses to share their camera footage with police. The Jackson program would allow police to access a live stream of these cameras.

Stamps says it didn’t make sense economically. And he had other concerns.

Stamps: You know, we're conceding too much of our privacy to the government with these types of actions.

Paul: He was also critical of the companies that provide the technology that makes this possible.

Stamps: Are they selling the data? Are they using the data, are they aggregating the data? You really don't know where this wormhole ends.

It's just so many unknowns that is all behind the scenes. It's almost like the Wizard of Oz. You get somebody in a chair doing all these things, but you don't really know what they're doing, or what they're looking at, or what they're using the technology for.

[Musical interlude.]

Paul: Brittany Bowman works with a nonprofit neighborhood group in South Jackson. She’s also unclear what exactly is happening with Jackson’s surveillance program.

Brittany Bowman: There are officers that I've spoken with who have no recognition of even about the pilot program, how long it was supposed to be, if it's actually been effective, or it hasn't been effective... We have...officers who don't even know.

I saw an officer, asked about, “Hey, you know what's going on... ” And they had no knowledge and said, “I'll have to find out and get back with you.” And...the ones that I did speak with, they did not get back with me.

Paul: I reached out to the Jackson Police Department, and got an email back from spokesperson Sam Brown. He confirmed Jackson’s Virtual Policing Program includes two main components: a “registry” where police investigators can access saved footage during an investigation,  and a “video share” to live-stream footage to the police. He also said participation is voluntary, and requires the “expressed written consent” of the camera owner. 

This program uses technology made by the company Fusus, which is based out of Georgia.

Fusus Video: Welcome to Fusus, the industry's first cloud based rapidly deployable, real time crime Center. Fusus integrates all...

Paul: This is a marketing video of Fusus’ software. It’s the technology that can provide police access to any private camera. According to its website, Fusus spent much of 2021 at law enforcement conferences. The website also says they have partnered with police departments in Rialto, California; Oak Lawn, Illinois; Georgia Tech; Orlando; and Minneapolis. When I called Fusus to ask about these partnerships back in July, their representative, Sahil Merchant, didn't give any concrete answers about their government contracts, or even how the technology works.

Matthew Guariglia: I think people should always be asking, “When the public is afraid of crime, who is benefiting from that? Who is getting more money?” Because people are afraid...

Paul: Matthew Guariglia is a policy analyst researching surveillance and privacy legislation at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group. 

Guariglia: Because as we've seen from this tech industry boom around policing and surveillance, crime and fear are very profitable things.

Paul: He’s also a historian of policing, and has been tracking how law enforcement works with private companies like Fusus. He says this opaque process is typical.

Guariglia: All of this, I think, is part of the strategy of attempting to go under the radar, as Fusus has done with this piece of technology. It's hard to know, even a lot of times, how this technology works. A lot of times the governments they contract to also don't know how it works, but I think part of the important lesson here is that they don't really want us to know exactly how it works.

Paul: Despite her own doubts, Jackson resident Brittany Bowman believes the city’s command center is a good thing. So are more cameras. She has come to think that this is a personal decision for everybody.

Bowman: ​​Everyone has to be their own guide or discerning factor to say, “where do I not impede on someone's privacy?” as well as “How do I maintain a secure, safe environment for me and my family?” So that's an individual preference.

Paul: But research shows that peoples’ feeling of safety doesn’t necessarily correlate with their actual safety. So how to balance that distinction, along with privacy and civil liberties, is a big question as cities like Jackson head further into virtual policing.

Miller: Thanks to Sonia Paul for that story.

We’ve looked back at some of our past reporting here, but we’ve got plenty more of season 4 coming up, so stay tuned for that! 

[Music transition.]

For more information, toolkits, and to download the annotated transcript for this episode, visit 70millionpod.com. 70 Million is an open-source podcast, because we believe we are all part of the solution. We encourage you to use our episodes and supporting materials in your classrooms, organizations, and anywhere they can make an impact. You may rebroadcast parts of or entire episodes of our four seasons without permission. Just please drop us a line so we can keep track. 

70 Million is made possible by a grant from the Safety and Justice Challenge at the MacArthur Foundation and is produced by LWC Studios

This episode was edited by Paulina Velasco and Jen Chien. Elizabeth Nakano is our sound designer. Emma Forbes is our staff writer, and Michelle Baker is our photo editor. Mark Betancourt is our lead fact-checker. Cedric Wilson is our lead producer. Juleyka Lantigua is the creator and executive producer. I'm Mitzi Miller. Thank you for listening.


Miller, Mitzi. “We Went Back to See If These Reforms Worked.” 70 Million Podcast, LWC Studios, October 11, 2021. 70millionpod.com.

Produced by LWC Studios.