The police and public prosecutors suggest methods to Donald Trump aimed at reducing crime and the prison population

The association Law Enforcement Leaders to reduce crime and incarceration[1] have presented their agenda to the new president of the United States of America, Donald Trump. Their proposals to meet these objectives and thereby increase security and save on the public’s taxes (in 2016 Congress passed a budget of 7,500 million dollars for prison maintenance) focuses on five areas:

  • A change in the orientation of federal finance regarding states and local entities (which amounts to 5,500 million dollars annually). It is necessary to give priority to projects which focus on the most serious and violent crime, relegating those which address smaller offences or which aim to reduce crime in general. This would encourage the police and prosecution to focus on more serious crimes. At present only 2% of federal detentions and 3% of penal trials correspond to serious crimes; this situation must be reversed.
  • A reduction in unnecessary incarceration. At this moment, in the United States there are 2.2 million inmates and 4.7 million people on probation or on supervised probation. All expenses generated by penal justice amount to 274,000 million dollars). There are experiences which show how to reduce crime and incarceration levels at the same time. Michigan and South Carolina, for example, have eliminated the obligation of imprisonment for non-violent drug-related crimes, introducing other alternative measures which have proved to be quite efficient. Congress should resume a project to reform the law applicable to the penal and penitentiary system which was blocked a couple of years ago and which is moving in the following direction: to provide judges with more discretion regarding cases of non-violent crime to favour alternative means of punishment.
  • An increase in resources to treat mental illness and drug addiction. In 2015 there were 52,000 deaths linked to overdoses and 57% of the mentally ill cases did not receive the appropriate support. Many people from these groups end up in the penal system. 
  • Maintenance and increase in support from community and proximity police because without the public system the fight against crime is impossible. The Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services – COPS Office) has carried out a great support project linked to community initiatives and now there are those within the parliamentary majority which advocate a reduction or suppression to be avoided at all costs.
  • An insight into measures to prevent another offence. Currently, almost half the 600,000 inmates released every year return to prison within three years. Transition services, for example, must be provided for those inmates most at risk of reoffending.

[1] Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration is made up of 200 heads and ex-heads of police, sheriffs, federal and State prosecutors, and heads of justice in fifty states.


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