We all agree that violent criminals need to be taken off the streets and put in jail, but much of the crime we deal with today involves our property. I have been a victim of property crime, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Our lagging economy is leading to more of these crimes being committed and we need common sense solutions on how to solve these problems.
Where it takes $36,000 to house one person in jail, we can no longer afford to keep locking up all non-violent offenders.
Here are some of my thoughts on what we can do to improve public safety and streamline the justice system:
- Investing more in community policing programs – No one would argue that we need more officers on the streets, but we should also be focusing on how those officers interact with the public. We need to get back to developing relationships with our hard-working police who put their lives on the line every day for our safety.
- More funding for treatment programs for non-violent offenders – Instead of spending millions of dollars to lock up non-violent offenders, let’s get them the help they need through diversion, substance abuse and social programs to help them fight the need to commit crimes.
- Additional funding for the justice system – When most people think about funding to fight crime, we think about money for policing communities. The justice system, however, has many different parts. We need to increase funding for the District Attorneys’ and Public Defenders’ offices, which are overworked and clogging the system.
- Institute a Behavioral Healthcare Tax – Those suffering from mental illness do not belong behind bars; they deserve proper treatment in a high quality facility. We need to increase funding to help treat those with mental illness before they harm themselves or others.
- Violent criminals get three-strikes – We need to make sure that certain habitual violent criminals only get so many chances to reform before they are put away for good. I support the recent bi-partisan proposal to strengthen our three-strikes law for those violent criminals that pose a severe risk to our society.