Crime on the Hill.

Position:Bogus anti-crime legislation in Congress - Editorial

Everyone agrees something must be done about crime. The bill the U.S. Senate passed in November is not the something that must be done.

It sounds hopelessly redundant to say, once again, that the causes of much of the crime that afflicts us lie in the social and economic injustice of this society, but it's true, and we've said it. Nothing in this crime bill does anything about that, and nothing persuades us that the Clinton Administration is planning to do much of anything about it.

It also sounds hopelessly redundant to say, once again, that locking up more people for longer periods of time solves nothing. Nearly all prisoners are released sooner or later, and the lengthier the sentences and the more barbaric the conditions they are subjected to while imprisoned, the more embittered exprisoners we will have living among us.

There is nothing wrong with the notion that the Federal Government must spend money to help states and cities fight crime. A portion of the Federal aid spent in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s under the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration was put to good use in explorations and experiments in community-based policing and corrections. Not all was spent on harebrained schemes like the purchase of combat helicopters for unneeded SWAT teams in medium-sized cities. But that Federal aid is long gone, the good with the bad, and it looks as if almost all of the new Federal aid, if the Senate bill becomes law, will be of the bad kind.

More crimes would become Federal instead of local. So what? More crimes would become subject to the death penalty - fifty-two, to be exact. Have...

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