Where Do the Candidates Stand on Crime Prevention?
It is the American dream. To buy a beautiful house with the white picket fence, and raise a family in a safe neighborhood, where crime is almost nonexistent was reality for many families of generations past but unfortunately has become wishful thinking in the 21st century.
With the recent murders of singer/actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother in their Chicago home, Americans have once again come to the sad realization that no one is above tragedy and anyone could become the next victim of a violent crime. In many presidential elections, the issues that candidates often stress are those on a national level such as the economy or national security. But what would the presidential candidates do to address crime prevention and assist state and local law enforcement officials in making American streets a safer place to live?
According to Barack Obama’s official website, he and running mate Joe Biden would fully fund the COPS program to put 50,000 police officers on American streets and also address the issue of police brutality that is so prevalent in communities of color. As a result of understaffing at many police departments, the Democratic ticket will also encourage more young people to enter the field of law enforcement.
Republican John McCain also supports federally funding state and local law enforcement agencies but believes rampant earmarking of federal funds to the local level has reduced funding to those jurisdictions that are in most need. According to his official website, “John McCain will restore credibility to these grant programs by ensuring funding is based on need and provided to the most worthy jurisdictions based on a peer-review of grant applications.”
Both McCain and Obama also support reducing crime recidivism by enacting programs that help former inmates readapt to society. According to BarackObama.com, “Obama and Biden will create a prison-to-work incentive program, modeled on the successful Welfare-to-Work Partnership and work to reform correctional systems to break down barriers for ex-offenders to find employment.”
Consequently, McCain supported the Second Chance Act, which will provide up to $360 million for reentry services from 2009-2010. The Second Chance Act funds many faith-based programs that help former prisoners transition back into mainstream society by providing job training, counseling and mentors. Many of these programs have reported reducing recidivism rates by 50 percent. According to JohnMcCain.com, the annual cost of incarcerating a prisoner is more than $20,000.
Obama plans to address crime prevention in many cities by respecting the Second Amendment rights of gun owners but at the same time keeping guns away from helpless children. According to his website, “(Obama and Biden) support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent; as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not our streets.”
The Democrats also wants to see an end to racial profiling, as Obama passed a law in his home state that required the Illinois Department of Transportation to record the ethnicities, gender and age of all drivers stopped.
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Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.