For Immediate Release
Contact: Betty Traynor
September 14, 1994
GREEN PARTY SENATE CANDIDATE SPEAKS OUT
ON FEDERAL CRIME BILL
Barbara Blong, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, took aim at the
crime bill signed by President Clinton on Tuesday, calling it "the work
of people who have taken leave of sense as well as decency."
The bill provides almost $10 billion for new prisons, puts 100,000 new
police on the street, and adds more than 50 offenses to the list of those
punishable by death. It also includes a "three-strikes-and-you're-out"
provision similar to Proposition 184 on the California ballot.
This emphasis on punishment "will further divide our society along lines
of race and poverty," Blong said. Already 70 percent of people
incarcerated in California are people of color, she noted. The state's
overall incarceration rate is 358 people per 100,000: for African
Americans the rate is 1,088 per 100,000. At the same time, 43.5 percent
of all African American men over age 16 are unemployed.
When President Clinton tried to get his jobs-creation program funded at
half the level of the crime bill, he was told the money wasn't there.
Prevention projects, which run the gamut from in-patient drug treatment
to after-school programs, were derided as "pork" in the crime bill debates.
"But prevention programs are often more effective than prison," said
Blong, citing figures from the Bay Area-based Criminal Justice
Consortium. It found the rate of recidivism in California prisons is 60
percent, while the return rate for those in community-based programs is
as low as two percent and no higher than 20 percent.
"I will work for a comprehensive approach to crime prevention. We must
balance incarceration of violent criminals with creation of
community-based jobs, substance abuse treatment, quality education, and
the teaching of conflict resolution," said Blong.
The Green Party advocates nonviolence in all societal contexts, including
criminal justice. Barbara Blong is the first U.S. Senate candidate from
the Green Party of California which qualified for ballot status in
January 1992. To reach her campaign, please contact: Barbara Blong for
U.S. Senate, 2940 16th Street, Suite 200-8, San Francisco, CA 94103,
(415) 255-2940, FAX: (415) 558-8135.
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