Currently, the Republicans lead in the House by 109 to 94, with Democrat Steve Stetler of York County resigning at the end of this week to take a job as the top leader of the Pennsyhlvania Economy League. Next year, there will be over 40 new members in the 203 member House of Representatives.
Concepts before the House tomorrow include many versions of toughening minimimum sentences, fighting gun trafficking, targeting social services to those most likely to be criminals or crime victims, and helping local governments and law enforcement officials. All of these approaches assume crime is a solveable problem. Is it?
Urban gang warfare, in which gangs killed each other over turf, has now been almost totally replaced by fights over drug money.
Murder, rape, and property crimes have clearly gone down over time, although they remain higher in incidence than they were before the massive spike in crime across the country in the 1960's.
In tomorrow's session, I expect to actively debate some of the issues involved. I have four proposals that I will be introducing myself. These (1) provide state assistance to school districtds to establish peer mediation and dispute resolution programs, in order to encourage young people to solve problems without violence; (2) support intensive supervision, case management, and intensive aftercare services for juvenile offenders in order to reduce recidivism rates; (3) to create a program through the Department of Labor and Industry to provide grants for training in the construction trades for ex-offenders re-entering society and unemployed persons who come from neighborhoods with high unemployment rates; (4) to comprehensively review and study threats and incidents involving prosecutors and judges who litigate or adjudicate drug crimes, and make recommendations for their protection.
All of the 200 or so legislators who actively participate tomorrow, myself included, will be acting on the assumption
that well-thought legislation can really make a difference in fighting crime.
But others believe that crime is basically an unsolveable problem that will alwasy be with us. I would deeply appreciate the opinions of the Daily Kos community on this.