BREAKING THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE:
MAKING CALIFORNIA SAFE
I. PREVENT THE FIRST CRIME
PROPOSAL #1: Provide $50 million annually for anti-drug education programs.
Anti-drug education programs like DARE and SANE work, but there are not enough of them to go around. Anti-drug education courses should be taught in every public school in the state and students should be exposed to them as often as possible.
Most anti-drug education programs are now funded either by the federal government, counties or by private benefactors. The state used to provide about $30 million a year but that funding was eliminated in 1992.
This proposal for $50 million in new funding for anti-drug education will be financed by the 13 percent cut in school administrative spending that I outlined in my recent education reform plan. My proposed cap on administrative spending will save $411 million -- education money better spent in the classroom and on programs like anti-drug education.
PROPOSAL #2: Provide $75 million annually for after-school programs run by schools.
There are many reasons young people join gangs. One of them, gang experts say, is that they have nothing better to do.
Twenty years ago, every neighborhood had after-school programs. Almost all of those have been eliminated through funding cuts -- cuts that have cost us far more than they saved.
I propose providing $75 million annually in new state funding through the Department of Education for after-school programs. These programs would also be funded by the 13 percent cut in school administrative spending described in the previous proposal.
PROPOSAL #3: Develop in-school mentoring programs to identify and intervene with kids at risk of becoming gang members.
Juveniles, especially those at risk of becoming involved in gangs, need good role models to become honest, productive citizens. I propose establishing school-based public-private programs to link at-risk youth with adult volunteer "mentors" -- business people, law enforcement officers and community service representatives.
These mentors will help kids stay in school and stay away from drugs and gang activity. A bill by State Senator Bill Leonard designed to fund local mentor projects passed the Legislature in 1992, but the $5 million needed to start the program was eliminated from the 1993-94 budget. This, too, can be financed with the administrative savings described above.
PROPOSAL #4: Impose and enforce real curfews on children 16 and under to cut crime and delinquency.
Youths should not be out at all hours of the night looking for trouble. So, I propose we impose and enforce real curfews on children 16 and under.
Clearly this is a local decision, but California counties and cities should consider Norwalk as a model. In that city, kids out on the streets after 10 p.m. without a parent or guardian are picked up, taken to a police trailer, and given citations with a fine of $50 to $675. The first fine, which averages $135, can be paid outright or worked off with community service.
After the first offense, the city sends parents a warning that the next offense will also involve a civil penalty covering all costs of police, administrative and court costs.
Since Norwalk began enforcing the program in January, gang related crime has dropped 35 percent, drive by shootings have fallen 75 percent, and homicides are down 73 percent. And the program clearly has a deterrent effect: only about five percent of the kids given citations are repeat offenders. Clearly, they get the message.
Obviously, exceptions to the curfew must be allowed for young people going to work, school, or out with a parent or guardian.
II. PUNISH THE FIRST OFFENSE
Proposal #5: Create a statewide system of boot camps for non-violent adult and juvenile offenders.
Boot camps work. First, they cost less to build than traditional prisons so taxpayers get more bang for their buck. And second, they turn criminals around. Los Angeles County's Juvenile Drug Treatment Boot Camp, for instance, has a 72 percent success rate, much higher than standard prisons and jails.
Next year, the legislature will act on two correctional facility bond bills providing about $900 million for prison construction. The bond measures will then be put to California voters. I propose that some of that money be used to build a statewide system of boot camps. These camps, similar to one now operated by L.A. County near Lake Hughes, will do more than incarcerate. They will teach real discipline, they will punish, and most important, they will teach people that they will be held accountable for their actions. Anyone sentenced to one year or less for specified non-violent offenses like drug possession, graffiti vandalism or theft will be sent to these facilities. Non-violent juveniles will be sent to Ensley-Rice Academies when appropriate. For further discussion of the Ensley-Rice program, please see Proposal #18.
Proposal #6: Implement a new sentencing policy that guarantees all drug offenders serve time, even for the first offense.
Presently, California's criminal justice system gives drug offenders at least one "free pass" the first time they are caught. Under my proposal, the message will be clear: every time a person violates the law, there will be consequences.
When we have built new boot camps and Ensley-Rice schools, I propose that first time drug offenders be sent to these facilities. The minimum sentence will be 90 days. In no case will sentences be lower than they are now. After release from boot camp, there will be at least 90 days of intensive supervision and continued drug treatment, including testing for illegal use of drugs.
All too often, drug offenders now rotate through the criminal justice system two, three, or four times in a year. When they are out on the street between jail stints, many also turn to more serious crime to support their habits.
In the short term and long term, it is cheaper to deal with these drug offenders the first time they are caught -- with a real sentence and with drug treatment -- than it is to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate them when they repeat their crimes a few days or weeks later. This calculation does not even take into account the social cost of the crimes they will commit in the interim.
Proposal #7: Sentence first-time graffiti vandals to real diversion programs, boot camps or disciplinary schools for first-time offenders.
More often than not, kids caught tagging are released without punishment. Taggers learn there is no penalty for defacing private or public property.
Under my proposal, kids caught tagging the first time would have an option: either they can go through the criminal justice system, and if found guilty, face certain time in a boot camp, or they can opt to participate in an alternative punishment.
Modeled after Orange County's "Shortstop" program, my program would be designed to give taggers a wake-up call. Shortstop, which has a remarkable 90 percent success rate, requires kids to attend evening sessions with their parents and take responsibility for their actions. The program takes them to prison where they meet Youth Authority wards. Kids are required to spend time with their families, planning their future. They are also required to write their own epitaphs.
Because it bypasses the court process the program saves money.
For their second offenses, taggers would no longer have the option of choosing an alternative program. After sentencing, they would be sent to boot camps or to Ensley-Rice Academies. They would also have their driver's licenses suspended, as described in the following proposal.
Proposal #8: Suspend graffiti vandals' driver's licenses for up to one year.
Any person convicted of graffiti vandalism will lose his or her driver's license for one year.
Proposal #9: Make graffiti generated by criminal street gang members -- as defined by the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act -- an automatic felony.
Gang graffiti leads to violence. Gangs mark turf with graffiti. Gangs issue the equivalent of death warrants with graffiti.
Currently, virtually all graffiti is treated as a misdemeanor in the criminal code. I propose making the penalty for criminal street gang graffiti a felony.
III. STOP GUN VIOLENCE
Proposal #10: Enact a tough, loophole-free ban on the possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-volume magazines, clips and belt-feeding devices.
There is no legitimate reason for Californians to own assault weapons designed solely for the mass destruction of human beings. In 1989, California passed a limited ban on the possession of certain assault weapons. Unfortunately, the law left two loopholes. First, it only banned a select list of weapons. Any guns not on the named list remained legal, so manufacturers quickly learned they could make tiny modifications in banned weapons, rename them, and legally sell them. Second, the law allowed people to keep the weapons they purchased before the ban went into effect.
This well-intentioned law has proven a failure. We must try again to institute a tough ban on the possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons. It won't be easy, but instead of prohibiting a specific list of "brand name" weapons, I propose banning all firearms with assault weapon characteristics. This proposal is aimed at weapons with such a high rate of fire and firepower capacity that their function for recreational purposes is substantially outweighed by the danger they pose to society.
We must also ban the possession, sale and manufacture of assault weapon high-volume magazines, clips and belt feeding devices that increase the firepower capacity of these deadly weapons.
Finally, to rid our streets of assault weapons, I propose buying back and destroying all assault weapons currently held by Californians. Money raised through my proposed 15% tax on firearm and ammunition sales mentioned in Proposal #17 will go to reimburse owners for the cost of their weapons.
Proposal #11: Make it a felony to illegally possess a loaded firearm.
Under current law, it is a felony to illegally possess a sock full of sand -- otherwise known as a sap -- or a stick with tape at the end of it -- otherwise know as a billy. It is also a felony to possess brass knuckles and knives of a certain length. But, it is only a misdemeanor to illegally possess a loaded firearm. I propose making it a felony for anyone -- including minors -- to illegally possess a loaded firearm.
Proposal #12: Establish a minimum felony sentence of three years with no possibility of probation for members of criminal street gangs who carry firearms.
Every criminal street gang member possessing a gun is a clear and present danger to the public. I propose that any member of a criminal street gang -- as defined by the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act -- possessing a gun should be punished with a minimum sentence of three years with no possibility of probation.
Proposal #13: Make it a felony to knowingly furnish, sell, or possess a stolen firearm.
People who traffic in stolen guns are almost certain to use them for criminal purposes. And yet, possession of a stolen gun is treated the same as possession of any other stolen property. Making the penalty more severe will help break the cycle of violence by allowing us to severely punish the offender before the gun is used.
Proposal #14: Hold people criminally liable when crimes are committed with stolen guns they knowingly furnish or sell.
Selling or furnishing stolen guns contribute to the cycle of violence. I propose breaking this cycle by making stolen gun providers criminally liable when crimes are committed with stolen weapons they supply. Under my proposal, the "accessory" would receive the same sentence as the individual convicted of the crimes, up to a maximum of seven years, if the "accessory" knew the firearm was stolen.
Proposal #15: Ban the possession, sale, and manufacture of all ammunition especially designed to maximize bodily injury.
Ammunition designed to cause grievous bodily harm -- like the Black Talon -- should be banned. There is no legitimate reason for such ammunition, except to cause unnecessary human injury.
Proposal #16: Impose a 15% excise tax on all gun and ammunition sales and allocate the revenue to buy back assault weapons and to fight gang violence.
According to the Board of Equalization, a 15 percent gun and ammunition tax would generate $30 million annually. Firearms and ammunition purchased for use by state and local law enforcement would be exempted from the tax.
Proposal #17: Radically reform existing federal firearms licensing by increasing fees and banning licenses for individuals with no legitimate places of business.
The current federal system for licensing firearm dealers is a joke. For a $30 license fee, virtually anyone without a criminal record can get the right to buy and sell unlimited numbers of guns with little fear of scrutiny. Only about 20 percent of licensed dealers have actual stores. The rest do business at home, in their cars, or at gun shows, virtually unrestricted.
So, I propose that the federal government radically reform its licensing system by increasing fees and by granting licenses only to those dealers who have a legitimate retail place of business.
SCHOOLS AND GUNS
Proposal #18: Create special disciplinary academies for first time offenders.
In my education reform plan released in November, I proposed creating Ensley-Rice disciplinary academies, named in memory of Micheal Ensley and Demetrius Rice, two students killed with handguns this year in Los Angeles schools.
The Ensley-Rice Academies will be created to educate kids expelled from school districts for certain first-time offenses. For instance, when kids caught carrying guns are sentenced by the juvenile system to home probation or are let go without probation, they will be required to attend an Ensley-Rice Academy.
The Academies will provide punishment, prevention, and counseling. Students will attend 10 hours a day, six days a week. In addition to the regular school curriculum, students will receive intensive anti-drug education, and visit prisons, hospital emergency rooms, coroners' offices and morgues.
Proposal #19: Create tough new penalties for carrying guns within 1,000 feet of schools and other places where children gather.
In my education reform plan, I proposed making it a felony to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of schools and other areas where children congregate, including parks, playgrounds, youth centers and other recreation areas. Currently, this is only a misdemeanor and the violator is often not prosecuted. Those sentenced to probation or less would be sent to Ensley-Rice Academies.
IV. MORE POLICE ON OUR STREETS
Proposal #20: Ensure California gets its fair share of new police funding from the federal government to put at least 10,000 new cops on our streets.
I will work with President Clinton to ensure that Congress enacts his proposal to fund 100,000 new police officers, and I will fight to see that California receives it fair share of the new funding.
Proposal #21: Ensure that Proposition 172 funds are used for law enforcement and not lost in budgetary shell games.
Voters supported Proposition 172 because they wanted a secure source of funding for law enforcement activities. I will fight to ensure that Proposition 172 funds go to law enforcement and public safety activities.
Proposal #22: Renew California's asset forfeiture law to provide law enforcement with a powerful weapon to fight drugs.
On January 1, 1994, one of California's most powerful weapons in fighting drugs will expire -- our asset forfeiture law.
California law enforcement must have asset forfeiture as part of its arsenal. Asset forfeiture serves as both a powerful deterrent to illicit drug production and trafficking and as a badly needed source of revenue -- an estimated $30 million annually -- for state and local law enforcement agencies.
I support urgency legislation that renews our existing asset forfeiture statutes but also makes needed reforms to provide additional protections for property owners and to remove any incentives for law enforcement agencies to abuse forfeiture for financial rewards.
Specific reforms I support include:
Increasing the claim period for seized property from 10 to 30 days.
Requiring the state to prove that property is forfeitable by "clear and convincing evidence."
Allowing innocent owners to retain assets if the government cannot prove they knew or consciously disregarded the criminal use of their assets.
Awarding attorney's fees to persons who contest forfeiture actions and prevail in court.
Prohibiting the use of seized property by law enforcement agencies.
Proposal #23: Expand community-based policing efforts to take back our neighborhoods block by block.
Putting more police officers on our streets is an essential response to the crime problem. But unless we build deeper ties between the police on the streets and the communities they serve, these officers will never be as effective as they could be.
I will work with law enforcement up and down the state to expand community-based policing efforts.
Community-based policing is an idea whose time has come again. Community-based policing builds mutual respect between the police and the people they serve and will help make our communities safe again.
V. COMMON SENSE CORRECTIONS
Proposal #24: Require treatment for all prisoners convicted of drug or alcohol-related crimes.
We know with absolute certainty that drug addiction and alcoholism are precursors of criminal activity. As many as 85 percent of state prison inmates have a substance abuse problem. To break the link between substance abuse and crime, we must require prisoners to deal with their drug and alcohol problems.
I would model my program after ones created in Texas and New York.
The Texas program, which provides treatment to about half its prisoners, has three elements -- community-based treatment for first-time offenders, a prison-like treatment center for non-violent felons, and in-prison treatment for violent offenders. Though the program is in its infancy, early reports suggest it has cut the recidivism rate sharply. In other words, the program pays for itself.
The Texas program was modeled on New York's program, which has a 77 percent success rate. In other words, 77 percent of the offenders who completed the program have remained off drugs, committed no further crimes, and were not rearrested. This 23 percent recidivism rate contrasts with a 50 percent rate for similar New York state parolees.
One way to keep costs down will be to include the volunteer efforts of Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and other private groups.
Proposal #25: Launch a pilot program requiring prisoners to learn to read while they are in prison.
Illiteracy is a precursor to criminal activity. The average state prisoner reads at a 6th grade level. So I propose that we start a pilot program requiring prisoners to learn to read while they are in prison. The issue here is very simple: if we release somebody who does not have the most important skill needed to hold a job, we can expect that they will return to crime. We should test this program with non-violent offenders, stopping them before they turn to violent crime.
For prisoners refusing to participate in the program, privileges will be withheld and work credits will be canceled. Prisoners who already know how to read will receive work credits for teaching others to read.
Proposal #26: Eliminate conjugal visits for all prisoners.
California taxpayers spend at least $3 million a year paying for 26,000 conjugal visits for prisoners. Corrections experts agree these visits are one of the main routes for illicit drugs and other contraband smuggled into state prisons.
I propose eliminating conjugal visits for all prisoners. Only seven other states allow unsupervised overnight visits. Eliminating the visits would shut off a significant drug route and save the taxpayers $3 million, money that could be used to finance the reading programs. There is another reason to end conjugal visits: a number of prisoners are using them to father children, some of whom end up on welfare. I was particularly outraged to learn that Tex Watson -- follower of Charles Manson, and the convicted murderer of actress Sharon Tate -- has fathered three children while in prison, all whom have been reported to be on welfare. We must stop this abuse of the taxpayers and the correctional system.
Proposal #27: Require criminals able to do so to pay the $22,000 average annual cost of their own incarceration.
California taxpayers spend about $22,000 a year incarcerating a criminal in state prison. If they can afford to pay and doing so will not throw their families onto welfare, inmates should be required to cover the cost of their own imprisonment. Taxpayers footing the bill for inmates like Joe Hunt of the Billionaire Boys Club just does not make sense.
Proposal #28: Require illegal alien criminals serving time in California prisons and jails to be sent back to their countries of origin to serve their full sentences.
In the plan I put forward in September to address the problems caused by illegal immigration, I proposed deporting illegal aliens convicted of crimes in this country to serve their time in their own countries' prisons. Each year, California taxpayers spend an estimated $500 million to incarcerate more than 14,000 illegal alien criminals in state prisons and at least another 10,000 to 15,000 in county jails.
In July, I wrote President Clinton urging him to initiate a new federal policy: every time the United States negotiates an agreement or treaty with another country, we should add a provision requiring the other country to take back and lock up its nationals serving time in our prisons and jails, with solid guarantees they will serve their full sentences.
VI. PREVENT VIOLENT CRIME
Proposal #29: Enact a "Three Strikes and You're Out" law locking up people for life who have committed three violent felonies.
With repeat violent offenders, the only way to break the cycle of violence is to remove them from society -- and take away their opportunity to commit more crimes. I support giving a life sentence without parole to anyone convicted of three violent felonies.
Proposal #30: Enact "Truth in Sentencing" law requiring violent offenders to serve at least 85 percent of the time to which they have been sentenced.
I support "Truth in Sentencing" proposals to require prisoners to serve the time to which they have been sentenced, instead of allowing them to cut their time in half through good behavior and work credits. Prisoners should be required to serve at least 85 percent of the time to which they have been sentenced.
Proposal #31: Prosecute violent juvenile offenders as adults.
The incredible plague of violence committed by juveniles demands that we reexamine the way we prosecute violent young offenders. Despite our best efforts, some minors will continue to commit crimes. We must treat them the same way we deal with adults who will not learn the lesson -- by locking them up. Sixteen year olds who commit murder are not children.
To do that, we must make it easier to try as adults those minors accused of violent crimes. Under current practice, juveniles aged 16 and 17 must go through fitness hearings before they can be tried as adults, and younger offenders cannot be tried as adults.
I propose we give district attorneys the discretion to decide to prosecute juveniles accused of violent crimes as adults. I also propose we allow 14 and 15 year old kids accused of violent crimes to be tried as adults after they have undergone fitness hearings.
Proposal #32: Enact a "Homicide by Abuse" statute for child abuse.
In order to convict someone of first degree murder in California, it is necessary to prove "intent to kill" (except for felony murder). But children are rarely killed in ways that permit direct proof of
intent to kill. As a result, someone who shoots a child to death can be convicted of first degree murder, but if the same person kills the same child by repeatedly abusing him or her over a sustained period of time, a first degree murder conviction would be almost impossible to obtain.
To remedy that, we should enact a "homicide by abuse" statute, allowing a first degree murder conviction if the assailant "manifested an extreme indifference to human life and knowingly engaged in a pattern of abuse resulting in death." Twelve states have already enacted such a statute. California should join them.
Proposal #33: Increase the penalty for kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault.
Under current law, kidnapping for the purpose of robbery is punishable by life imprisonment. Kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault, however, is punishable by a maximum eleven year sentence. These crimes should be treated identically. I propose making kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault punishable by life imprisonment.
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