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Tom Carper on Crime

Democratic Sr Senator (DE)


Supports mandatory Three Strikes sentencing laws

Governor Thomas R. Carper today signed House Bill 17, which allows the victims of crimes committed by juveniles to receive, upon request, information about the defendant’s compliance or non-compliance with provisions of his or her criminal sentence.

Prior “victim’s rights” legislation assured this exchange of information only in cases where the defendant was an adult.

Source: Press Release, “victim’s bill of rights”, June 27, 2000 , Sep 19, 2000

Agressively clean up criminal “hot spots”

Carper today unveiled a new crime report-detailing the significant role his “Operation Safe Streets” teams have had in reducing violent crimes. “In various areas throughout our state, certain neighborhoods have become ‘hot spots’ for violent crime and drug activity,” Carper said. “Through a cooperative effort among police and state probation officers, we are continuing an aggressive strategy to clean up these areas and help residents take back their streets.”
Source: Press Release, “Operation Safe Streets” , Jun 27, 2000

Keep violent offendors behind bars

Governor Carper will include in his FY 2001 capital and operating budgets additional funding to finish the state’s largest prison expansion project, including additional security positions to staff these new facilities. The 600 new maximum-security cells will be used to house Delaware’s most violent criminals. The conversion of the Morris Correctional Institution will be complete. The second of three violation of probation centers will be finished and the planning for the third will begin this year.
Source: 2000 Legislative Agenda , Jan 1, 2000

Voted YES on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program.

Amendment would increase funding for the COPS Program to $1.15 billion for FY 2008 to provide state and local law enforcement with critical resources. The funding is offset by an unallocated reduction to non-defense discretionary spending.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

This amendment reinstates the COPS Program. I remind everyone, when the COPS Program was functioning, violent crime in America reduced 8.5% a year for 7 years in a row. Throughout the 1990s, we funded the COPS Program at roughly $1.2 billion, and it drove down crime. Now crime is rising again. The COPS Program in the crime bill worked, and the Government Accounting Office found a statistical link between the COPS grants and a reduction in crime. The Brookings Institution reported the COPS Program is one of the most cost-effective programs we have ever had in this country. Local officials urgently need this support.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The COPS Program has some history. It was started by President Clinton. He asked for 100,000 police officers. He said that when we got to 100,000, the program would stop. We got to 110,000 police officers and the program continues on and on and on.

This program should have ended 5 years ago or 6 years ago, but it continues. It is similar to so many Federal programs that get constituencies that go on well past what their original purpose was. It may be well intentioned, but we cannot afford it and we shouldn't continue it. It was never thought it would be continued this long.

Reference: Biden Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.529 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-110 on Mar 23, 2007

More funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes.

Carper co-sponsored the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

Title: To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.

Summary: Provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any violent crime that is motivated by prejudice based on the race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim or is a violation of hate crime laws.

  1. Award grants to assist State and local law enforcement officials with extraordinary expenses for interstate hate crimes.

  2. Award grants to State and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.

  3. Prohibit specified offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

  4. Increase criminal sentencing for adult recruitment of juveniles to commit hate crimes.

  5. Collect and publish data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on gender.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1343 on Apr 3, 2001

Facilitate recovering crime victim restitution fees.

Carper co-sponsored Crime Victim Restitution and Court Fee Intercept Act

Congressional Summary:

Source: HR1416/S755 11-S0755 on Apr 7, 2011

Tougher juvenile crime penalties; but let states set them.

Carper adopted a letter to Senate leaders from 4 Governors:

The bills [Congress is working on] support many effective juvenile justice strategies, including incarceration for anyone who knowingly provides a firearm to a minor for illegal use, and additional penalties for those who illegally sell or transfer firearms or engage in drug trafficking at or near a school site, park, or other area where children and youth congregate. While many of your goals are laudable and Governors support them, we do not approve of the various mandates, restrictions, and fund set-asides in H.R. 1501 and 254. States are in the best position to determine penalties for juvenile crime. States need more, not less flexibility to deal with delinquent behavior. Flexibility is essential to allow states to continue to find out what works, developing “best practices” on proven programs, and learning from each other. Federal mandates and one-size-fits-all prescriptions short-circuit experimentation and innovation.

The nation’s Governors are deeply concerned about attempts to expand federal criminal law into traditional state criminal justice system functions. This will contribute little to reducing crime. Moreover, it undermines state and local anti-crime efforts. Governors also believe that federal concurrent jurisdiction in criminal justice efforts will be used by the federal government to impose additional burdensome mandates on state and local crime control and law enforcement officials, especially with regard to federal authority over juvenile offenders. One example is the mandate that states establish and maintain federally-prescribed “Juvenile Criminal History Record” data banks. The pending bills are not clear on what information must be provided to and will remain in the national data bases, who will have access to the data, how long the data will be maintained and made available, and how the data will be used. We also affirm states’ rights under our federal system to control access to their own data.

Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA24 on Aug 5, 1999

Other candidates on Crime: Tom Carper on other issues:
DE Gubernatorial:
Jack Markell
DE Senatorial:
Chris Coons
Christine O`Donnell

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Page last updated: Dec 27, 2013