effective crime-fighting program in the Twin Cities should consist of
prevention/ treatment and punishment. One would assume that the first
option would be more cost effective than the second.
is the result of a relatively small number of individuals whose names
are known to the police. Therefore, target the crime-prevention program
to these known individuals.
When persons are arrested for crime, have each talk to an interviewer
to see why they engaged in criminal acts and what it would take for
them to choose alternatives. Say, frankly, that we are looking for
ways to reduce crime. What would your (the arrested persons)
thoughts be on what the community could do to reduce crime?
Put the same questions to persons now serving sentences in Minnesotas
Develop dossiers on all persons who have been arrested for or convicted
of crime. Assign a case worker (like a parole officer) who would be
responsible for keeping in touch with these persons and being a personal
counselor. Try to find programs that would match what the person said
needed to be done to reduce crime.
Maintain drop-in centers in the city where these individuals would
be specifically welcome. Have recreational facilities - ping-pong
tables, television sets, etc. Also, have staff persons who would develop
programs, preferably ones which the participants requested. The staffers
would have contacts for personal counseling, if needed. Hire ex-inmates
of prisons as counselors.
Develop a job-training and temp-service program. There is a need for
skilled workers who know plumbing, electrical work, sheet rocking,
apartment cleaning, and other services for rental properties around
the city. Train individuals in these skills. Assign each to a temp
agency that would find jobs requiring the skills.
Develop an apartment referral service. The drop-in service would work
through Housing/Link to find rental opportunities. Each person referred
would have a case worker to whom the landlord could turn if problems
arose. The city would not retaliate against landlords for persons
enrolled in this program.
Sponsor athletic contests and competitions and award prizes to the
winners. Develop school courses and award mini-certificates - maybe
on the basis of having completed one or two courses. Give each participant
a basis of personal pride.
Have public theaters or entertainment venues open to amateur participation.
Encourage people to sing or dance, do stand-up comedy, act in skits,
etc. Give each participant either recognition or pay for having performed
in such a venue.
Open up school gymnasiums for night basketball or volleyball leagues.
Sponsor competitions and award prizes to the winners.
Invest in more cameras to catch criminal action on tape. Use as evidence
Persons convicted of crimes should endure public humiliation. Maybe
put them on stocks downtown as the Puritans did. Maybe post their
pictures and names in public places.
Explore the possibility of encouraging convicted criminals to move
out of town - the one-way ticket idea.
Propose legislation to take away judges discretion to release
persons who have repeatedly engaged in criminal activity.
Shorten the sentences of certain elderly sex offenders to free up
prison space so that space is available for others. Make sure that
convicted criminals serve some time if their crime is serious.
Each prison inmate should have access to educational and counseling
programs prior to release.