For Immediate Release
Contact: LaWanda Johnson (202)-558-7974 x308, cell 202-320-1029
Washington, D.C.--The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) announced
today that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's
anti-crime package ignores critical research that finds that
investments in employment, education, housing and treatment for
those who need it is the most effective and fiscally-responsible
way to improve public safety.
Research shows that Clinton's proposal to revive former President
Clinton's COPS initiative, which called for investments in policing,
would increase prison populations, and may have a negative impact
on the nation's poor and minorities, without significantly reducing
The Clinton Administration's "tough on crime" policies
resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison
inmates of any president in American history. Advocates say re-implementing
this agenda would be a return to bad policies.
"The first COPS was found to be costly and ineffective
in reducing crime rates and COPS 2.0 is not an improved version
of the first one," says JPI executive director Sheila Bedi.
"COPS was only successful in filling our prisons and jails
with people who research shows can be better served with treatment,
evidence-based practices, and community-based alternatives that
also promote public safety."
According to research, adding police to the streets is not
the most effective method for reducing crime. Delaware received
$19.6 million in COPS grants and during that same time, the number
of violent crimes increased 35.9 percent. In contrast, Oklahoma
City, which did not receive any COPS grants, decreased its police
force by 16 percent and during that same period saw a dramatic
32.5 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes reported.
Furthermore, advocates say law enforcement professionals don't
support policing as being the most effective method of reducing
crime. In a 2002 poll, 71.1 percent of surveyed chief of police,
sheriffs and prosecutors agreed that providing more educational
and after-school programs would make the greatest impact in reducing
youth crime and violence. Only 14.9 percent said that hiring
more police would have the greatest impact.
"We've tried to win the war on gangs with law enforcement
alone, but we have little to show for it," says National Black Police Association Executive
Director Ronald Hampton. "Rather than engaging in endless
battles, we need to target the problem behavior that hurts communities.
We should support the kinds of prevention and proven programs
that we already know reduce violence and crime."
Research supports investments in communities as a more cost
effective and beneficial way of reducing crime. Research shows
that when there is a reduction in crimes rates, it coincides
with increased employment. When more people have jobs, fewer
crimes are committed. A study by the Heritage Foundation found
that "For every 1 percent increase in civilian labor force
participation, violent crime is expected to decrease by 8.8 incidents
per 100,000" people.
"Not only does the Clinton crime plan lack innovation
and forward thinking, it ignores all we know about crime prevention.
When people are employed, violent crime decreases," says
Lisa Kung, Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights.
"One in every one hundred Americans is incarcerated.
It is clear that Clinton intends to continue a legacy of policies
that will keep Americans paying for more police, more prisons
and more punitive measures."
Advocates also believe that Clinton's opposition to the U.S. Sentencing Commission's
decision to make retroactive the changes to sentencing for the
thousands of people who had received disproportionately long
sentences for crack-cocaine, most of whom are African American,
Nationwide, from 1995 to 2004, drug abuse violations were
the only crime that saw an increase in arrests following the
However, a report by JPI release last year, found that while
African Americans and whites use and sell drugs at similar rates,
African Americans are ten times more likely than whites to be
imprisoned for drug offenses mainly due to disparate policing
practices, disparate treatment before the courts, mandatory minimum
drug sentencing laws, and differences in the availability of
drug treatment for African Americans.
According to Families
Against Mandatory Minimums, "it would be a cruel injustice
to base the crack cocaine reduction on an assessment that these
people have suffered under an unjust structure and then deny
the benefit of the amendment to the very people whose experiences
led the Commission to lower the sentences in the first place."
"If any of the candidates really wants to do something
about crime, then they should invest in policies that increase
employment, educational attainment and treatment for people who
need it," says Bedi. "These are proven approaches that
reduce crime and recidivism--evidence-based practices, which
have undergone rigorous experimental inquiry, and have been shown
to have proven public safety benefits."
For more information contact LaWanda Johnson at 202-558-7974,