Comment here on Sunday NEWS JOURNAL stories on Wilmington's vicious circle of crime & Stoltz's NCC inside game
Sunday's NEWS JOURNAL carried two important enterprise stories that will doubtless be the catalyst to much discussion on our local talk shows early this week. You can comment here too...
The first story chronicles how Wilmington's violent crime rate is no accident, but rather, the result a justice system that helps repeat offenders remain free.
The key paragraphs (but I encourage you to read the entire story before commenting)...
"Repeat offenders like Dollard often avoid prison because Delaware's sentencing rules instruct judges to impose the 'least-restrictive and most cost-effective' punishment. With prisons crammed beyond capacity in one of America's most violent states, and no political will or money to build more, judges have marching orders to reserve $36,000-a-year prison beds for offenders convicted of violent crimes.
That policy, and the way it is executed, help ensure that career criminals won't serve much, if any, prison time unless they do something like injure someone seriously or sell drugs in large quantities, a NEWS JOURNAL investigation found...."
After reading this account, one wonders if the Williams Administration's so-called "Jump-Out Squads" can do very much good, if the offenders end up back in the streets.
The second NEWS JOURNAL story covers Stoltz Real Estate Partners' close relationship with New Castle County Government during both the Coons and Clark Administrations.
So close, that land-use attorney Pam Scott - wife to County Council President & (later) County Executive Paul Clark - reportedly redrafted the letter then-County Executive Chris Coons planned to send to citizens in September 2010 about the compromise between NCC Government and Stoltz for two highly controversial projects.
A key paragraph (but again, I encourage you to read the entire story before commenting)...
"But the fact that Scott was allowed to edit Coons' speech; that she drafted a secret agreement between the county and the developer that the county didn't sign, yet most of which came to pass; and the fact that the county did not turn over all documents requested through the discovery process in its lawsuit over Barley Mill Plaza against Save Our County citizens' group illustrates the extent of Scott's access to county business..."
In this case, the Gordon Administration comes out smelling like a rose.
The Stoltz/NCCO "Inside Game" is of little consequence, but indicative of how business is done as a whole in the state. Compared to Chris Tigani going to jail by himself, this is nothing but a vehicle for Gordon to settle a vendetta against Paul Clark. There Will be more.
Mon, Feb 18, 2013 1:37pm
As pointed out, enforcing tighter penalties with mandatory prison requirements will cost taxpayers quite a bit of money.
The problem is that the offenders are released without any attempt at rehabilitation. We need to offer more drug and alcohol counseling, as well as job training for low level offenders. Just locking somebody up, even for a long time, would not lead to a rehabilitated defendant.
And, that's not even to mention the additional rehab and vocational programs that should be made available in troubled parts of Wilmington.
What happened to Mayor Williams' campaign pledge to lower crime? What has hizzoner done on this front?
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Feb 18, 2013 10:51pm
The article was 11 or 12 pages long. Sorry I didn't take the time to read all that, so my comment is based on the key paragraphs you included in your commentary.
Maybe we should be asking ourselves why the cost to house prisoners is $36K/yr/per prisoner? How can we lower that cost?
Second thought we definitely should be jailing the violent criminals. Maybe we shouldn't be jailing someone for smoking a joint, but should jail those who are selling the stuff to our kids, so the customers don't go to jail, but the sellers do.
We should have mandatory drug testing for all Welfare recipients. You lose your welfare benefits if you fail the test.
Another question, when will both Wilmington and New Castle County try the Giuliani approach that worked so well in NYC? What Wilmington is doing is not working. NCC needs to have that Giuliani approach so that when Wilmington starts using it, the criminal element doesn't just migrate to the suburbs.
Another question, do we need to build another prison?
Maybe a state that has excess prison space would rent Delaware some space, at a lower cost than it would cost for us to house them here.
Those are my thoughts on this issue.
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