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Clinton Unveils Flurry Of Plans To Fight Youth Crime

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BOSTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 19) -- President Bill Clinton announced a flurry of initiatives to fight youth crime today, including giving prosecutors tools to go after youth gangs, requiring childproof gun locks, extending the Brady gun law, and establishing a national non-emergency police phone number.

The speech highlighted the roughly $500 million in new anti-crime spending the president requested in his budget for next year.

The president noted that the country now has its largest group of students ever in the school system, and that the window of opportunity to head off youth crime is small.

"We've got about six years to turn this juvenile crime thing around, or our country is going to be living with chaos," Clinton said. "And my successors will not be giving speeches about the wonderful opportunities of the global economy; they'll be trying to keep body and soul together for people on the streets of these cities."

Clinton

Clinton vowed to "break the backs of the gangs and punish juveniles who commit violent crimes with real severity." His plan would provide more money to put police officers on the street and would give more authority to judges and prosecutors to fight youth gangs.

It would close a loophole in the Brady gun law that allows juveniles who commit violent crimes to be able to buy guns once they become adults. He would also require child safety locks on all guns sold.

The money Clinton has requested includes:

  • $200 million over two years for state and local anti-gang prosecution initiatives, including hiring prosecutors.
  • $170 million to bulk up the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and build new youth prisons.
  • $60 million for 1,000 new after-school programs to keep kids off the streets.
  • $75 million for anti-truancy, school violence and crime intervention.
  • $50 million for juvenile court and probation systems.

Clinton also spoke in favor of a national non-emergency "311" phone number proposed by the Federal Communications Commission to relieve the country's overburdened "911" emergency system.

Clinton chose Boston as the site of his speech for its drop in crime rates -- particularly juvenile crime -- over the past few years. "I ask you here in Massachusetts to send a clear message," Clinton said. "We know if this can be done in Boston it can be done in every community, in every neighborhood of every size in the U.S. and we ask the Congress to do what you've done here in Massachusetts."


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