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by Peter Moskos

September 4, 2008

Crime Platforms: Dems For Aiding Cops, GOP Tough Enforcement

Copied from Crime & Justice News:
The Democratic Party platform includes a four- paragraph section on criminal justice focusing principally on support for local law enforcement and ending violence against women, says the National Criminal Justice Association, which represents states and localities in Washington, D.C. The platform says, "We will reverse the policy of cutting resources for the brave men and women who protect our communities every day. At a time when our nation's officers are being asked both to provide traditional law enforcement services and to help protect the homeland, taking police off of the street is neither tough nor smart; we reject this disastrous approach. We support and will restore funding to our courageous police officers and will ensure that they are equipped with the best technology, equipment and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes." The Democrats vow to "reduce recidivism in our neighborhoods by supporting local prison-to-work programs. We will continue to fight inequalities in our criminal justice system. We must help state, local and tribal law enforcement work together to combat and prevent drug crime and drug and alcohol abuse, which are a blight on our communities. The platform includes support for ending violence against women and backing victims' rights.

The Republican platform includes an eight-part criminal justice section on ending child pornography, gangs, sentencing, reforming prisons, federal law enforcement, fighting illegal drugs, and protecting crime victims. The platform calls for "stronger enforcement and determined prosecution of gang conspiracies" and for the immediate deportation of "aliens involved with gangs or who are convicted of crimes of violence or sex offenses." The Republicans are specific in their commitment for tougher sentencing for certain violent crimes, support of the death penalty, and opposition to granting parole to dangerous and repeat felons. The platform calls for reform of the nation's correctional institutions. It discusses the need for increasing the ranks of federal law enforcement agencies to replace the resources shifted to homeland security duties. The document calls for "several thousand new FBI agents, U.S. marshals, immigration officers, and Border Patrol agents. The costs will be significant; but the social and economic costs of street gangs, identity theft, and illegal entry into this country would be much greater." The platform endorses "state and local initiatives, such as Drug Courts, that are trying new approaches to curbing drug abuse and diverting first-time offenders to rehabilitation." The Republicans seek ratification of a constitutional amendment on the rights of crime victims.

You can read the whole summary here. I tend to believe this is all bullshit, anyway. But I'm especially skeptical of any platform promises from the ruling party. Because, you see, this is the party that has had time to do all this and hasn't. Like the next four years would be different than the last eight. Republicans have not been good to police (though most police are Republicans).

A Constitutional Amendment for victims' rights? Be serious. Leaving aside a scary willingness to want to change the Constitution for every minor issues (flag burning, gay marriage), I have a problem with crime victim rights. Really. It sounds goods. But the devil is in the details. Many crime victims are criminals. Drug gangs aren't shooting you. They're shooting each other!

There have been problems when the bad guys get money from crime victim funds. See, for instance this story.


Dave H. said...

I disagree strongly (not suprisingly) with most of the Republican's platform. The Democrat's ideas are pretty played out as well. On the subject of federal law enforcement, I actually believe we should reduce the number of agencies/agents and leave almost everything to the states. I believe the constitution authorized the U.S. Marshal's Service and U.S. Customs, which is fine with me. I also think that there is a need for an investigative agency in the DOJ (whether its the FBI or a reformed unit) to assist with terrorism, interstate crimes, etc.. However, I think much of what BATF does could be (or already is) handled by state/local agencies (bomb/arson stuff, gun trafficking) and I'm sure you already know how I feel about the role of DEA. Summing up, there should not be a huge federal law enforcement presence in a properly decentralized democratic republic.

DJK said...

Wow, Dave/PCM....for the most part, I think agree with you on this.

But...."violence against women"?? wtf? what about "Violence" period?