Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gun Crime

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Alasdair Palmer and Julie Henry in the UK Sunday Telegraph, 26 Agust 2007, wrote about Why violent crime has doubled in a decade - Telegraph

David Fraser, a former UK probation officer and author of A Nation Fit for Criminals, is quoted as saying: "so few young criminals actually get sent to prison."

"The courts and the probation service still use every possible excuse to avoid imposing a custodial sentence," says Fraser.

The Sunday telegraph refers to Peter Williams, 18-year-old, who committed dozens of serious crimes but avoided jail; then, while he was serving his "community sentence", he murdered Marian Bates in 2003.

The Sunday Telegraph article suggests that very tough sanctions can reduce violent youth crime.

The Sunday Telegraph refers to Boston, Massachusetts, which, in the early 1990s, experienced a huge increase in street shootings by young gangsters.

Between 1991 and 1995, Boston's average number of "youth homicides" was more than 40 a year.
The Boston Gun Project (Boston Gun Project) reduced the number of killings by more than 60%.

1. Researchers identified who the gang members were and where they lived.

2. The police and probation services tracked them down and prosecuted them.

3. Tough sentences were handed out - and publicised.

One poster read:
Problem: Freddie Cardoza. Gang member.
Solution: Criminal Conviction.
Arrested with one bullet.
Sentence: 19 years, 7 months.
No possibility of parole.
Address: Otisville Federal Correction Institute,
Maximum Security Facility, New York.

The Sunday Telegraph points out that in the UK : 1. the police are not accountable to the electorate, 2. long sentences would be difficult to impose because of the Human Rights Act.

However, the Sunday Telegraph article continues: "even much shorter sentences, properly enforced, would have significant effect... We could stop the rot - by reinforcing the rule of law."


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