Saturday, May 31, 2008

Time for an Investment?

Below is part of an article on the shocking rise in crime among very young people right here in Florida:

High crime ratesIn a city such as Daytona — where poverty lives among the weeded lots and sagging houses off the palm-lined, neoned strip, behind the triple-bolted doors of tenements in the shadow of the Speedway — teen crime and even preteen crime have proven to be resilient adversaries.
Here and in other cities, chronically high juvenile crime rates — those ranging above the national average of kids under 15 committing 5 percent of violent crimes, 7 percent of robberies and 9 percent of burglaries — fray the patience of judges and politicians and pop up on newspaper front pages. Each spike in offenses prompts a new round of questions, namely:
What will it take to keep our kids out of the juvenile justice system — for some, just a pipeline to the prison system? More aggressive policing? More social services? Harsher sentences? Or something else?
Would programs to modify the behavior of kids as young as 5 help? Or would taxpayers dismiss that as just more nanny government, especially at a time of economic slowdown, when local and state governments are desperate to cut spending?
Chitwood doesn't hesitate in answering.
"I've got 8-, 9-, 10-, 11-year-olds committing burglary and stealing cars now. What are they going to be doing when they're 21?" he says. "Hey, either you pay when they go to state or federal prison, or you're going to clean the crap up now. But somewhere along the line you are going to pay."
Could this be the beginning of a bitter harvest from three decades of misdirected conservative economics? I'm as conservative (and cheap) as anyone, and have always realized that government (and also the educational establishment) traditionally lag far behind free enterprise business in getting things done effectively and economically. might be time for the pendulum to swing the other way. Even here in Monroe County, non-profit organizations which provide a lot of free and beneficial social services are hurting from cutbacks in state funding. It might also be time to realize that charity begins at home. And that a stitch in time saves nine.
"So even to old age and gray hair, O God, do not forsake me, till I proclaim thy might (and a few basic rules for living together harmoniously) to all the generations to come."
--Psalm 71:18 (non italicized editorial comment added).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We had better plan on spending some more money on jails.