By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
Buchanan: Well, you know, in a perfect world no child would be sent into the adult court system. They'd all remain in the juvenile justice system, if it worked, if it was totally revamped, if it really was adequate. But the juvenile justice system that we have today was designed in the 1950s for kids that were truant from school or stole hubcaps. It wasn't designed for murderers and rapists and highway robbers. And so it's, you know, it's laughable to them.... If this system was working so well in some of these other states, then why is it less and less safe on the street? Why is it not only the cities but even the rural areas A I'm sure James Jordan [father of basketball star Michael Jordan] thought it was safe to stop for a catnap by the side of a rural North Carolina road, but they found him. I mean, we're all going to meet them sooner or later, and they're out there and they're hunting. They can be behind you in traffic. No one is safe any more, even the reasonably prudent, law-abiding citizen. They can be waiting at the expressway exit, they can be in your driveway.
Schwartz: Well, you know, I don't --
Buchanan: If it works so well, then who are all these little predators out there who are killing innocent victims?
Schwartz begins to argue that the juvenile justice system is working better than the adult system. Buchanan cuts him off.
Buchanan: Most of our murders in Florida, virtually all of our tourists that were killed were killed by juveniles or people who had long juvenile records and have just become adults. These are people that are living out their violent MTV, rap music, violent-movie fantasies, and they're dangerous as hell.
Schwartz: I don't disagree with that. In Pennsylvania --
Buchanan: And none of them are newcomers to the system. They all have long records back in the system, victim after victim after victim. It's so unfair to the rest of the taxpaying population to be subjected to this.
The subject shifts to the question of incarceration versus rehabilitation. Buchanan strongly advocates the former.
Buchanan: It keeps people safe on the street because the people here in Miami, they stopped the tourist crime in its tracks by attaching these vast numbers of police officers to the job of keeping the tourists safe. They practically escort them from the airport to their hotels. So crime against tourists has dropped, but crimes against the rest of the population here, the taxpaying citizens who live here all year 'round, have gone way up. So all it is is displacing it, it's not solving the problem at all.
Suarez asks Schwartz for his thoughts about the widespread interest in juvenile "boot camps." Schwartz responds by saying that many of them are badly designed and lack treatment and after-care components. In addition, he says there is no evidence that boot camps are needed for first-time offenders. Buchanan cuts him off.
Buchanan: Those are the ones who need it the most!
Schwartz: Well, I was --
Buchanan: The repeat offenders --
Schwartz: Wait, wait, let me finish. Just one sec, just one sec. Fifty percent of the first offenders in any juvenile justice system will never come back after the first arrest if you do nothing else. So you're going to have an awful lot of false-positives, of sending about half the kids who are arrested to boot camps --
Buchanan: It can't hurt 'em.
Schwartz finishes his thought by asserting that for some kids, boot camp can be more harmful than helpful.
Suarez: You were going to say, Ms. Buchanan?
Buchanan: I think the only way is to really get tough. This coddling, you know, our crime rate in this country is so high because no country in the world coddles our criminals the way we do.
Suarez: How come we have the highest incarceration rates of any industrial nation on Earth? We hear so much about the business of coddling criminals.
Buchanan: But they're coddled! I mean, they call, they have Princess phones in their cell, they call right and left [Suarez breaks into laughter], they're sending out for food, they're doing credit-card scams, they're filing frivolous lawsuits from jail. David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer that killed seven or eight young people...he sits in a separate suite in Attica so the other prisoners don't harm him. He has a pink shag rug. A pink padded toilet seat. His own little library, his own little typewriter where he can write letters to the editor and letters to the governor. When he wanted to go on a special diet, his lawyer forced the prison system to hire a special nutritionist to provide the kind of diet he wanted. Why should the taxpayers pay for that? That's outrageous!
Schwartz: Well, that may be outrageous but his situation is --
Buchanan: If our prisons were more like the ones in Turkey and Mexico, we'd have a lot less recidivism.
Schwartz: Well, I suppose we could execute everyone we arrest, too, but I think that David Berkowitz's situation is certainly atypical given if you take a look at prisons at any state in the country you're not going to find prisoners with Princess phones. I mean, the clients that I used to have still call me collect in the morning. In addition we do have --