Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dallas DA: "We Must Be Smart On Crime"

So says the title of an op-ed by Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins in yesterday's Dallas News:

To progress in the war on crime ... we must realize the limitations of the "tough on crime" approach. If we are to succeed in ridding our community of crime, we must also be "smart on crime."

Today, more than 2 million people are in our federal and state prisons and 8 million Americans in jail, on probation or on parole. Collectively, the 50 states now spend more money building prisons than they spend on higher education. Yet fear of crime and reports of violent crime are roughly the same today as they were in the late 1960s. Moreover, the U.S. has the highest rate of violent crime of any industrialized nation.

Clearly, it takes much more than building prisons to keep our county safe. We must reject this simplistic and reactive approach to the crime problem. If we are going to be "smart on crime," we must ask ourselves, "What more can we do?"

When it comes to low-level offenders, we must consider alternative forms of punishment. Crime requires accountability, but incarceration without opportunity for reform and rehabilitation is not the solution. Its benefits are temporary and short-sighted. We must provide low-level offenders with the means and incentive to choose a lawful path in life when they re-enter our community. Only then will there be a lasting, positive impact on crime in our county.

That's a message I'd like to see more DA candidates carrying into the '08 elections next year. I think it's a winner.

Via StandDown Texas


Anonymous said...

I'll run on that platform.
Can I get a campaign manager?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

What do you think of Rick Harrison, the Kaufman County DA? He's a Republican (there was no Democratic challenger last time) and it looks like he's not up until 2010.

If you wanted to run I'll bet we could find you some campaign talent in the area, possibly from the folks who engineered the upsets in the Dallas judicial elections and for Watkins himself in '06. Since he's not up in '08, you've got time to mull it over, raise money and find a campaign team.

Email if you want and we can chat more.

Anonymous said...


I live in Ellis County. I work in Kaufman County.

Rick has been a great asset to the criminal justice community in Kaufman. I like his leadership. The system has really improved under his watch.

The new public defender in Kaufman Co, Andrew Jordan, is also doing a great job. I was a public defender and it is a tough job. Andrew has a vision for the office and makes it happen.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So what do you know about Joe Grubbs? I couldn't tell from a quick web search much about him or when his term is up.