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Commentary

Crime and Punishment


     
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A former prison guard discovered that the "vast majority (of prisoners) were unwanted children," commented J. Chris Killough, also a former police officer and the lesser known member of a distinguished panel, which included William I. Koch, Chairman, Koch Crime Commission and sponsor of the all-women’s America’s cup yacht, in response to a speech by Professor James Q. Wilson, author of "Crime" at a luncheon forum hosted by the Independent Policy Forum. This well financed, non-partisan public policy research and educational organization asked renowned criminologist Professor Wilson to speak on the title, "Preparing for a criminal onslaught?" Professor Wilson was more than prepared and provided for a solution in one word — children. When thinking about crime and punishment in our society, he says set about getting solutions that will answer this one question you must ask yourself, "What will this do for the child?" The increase in crime is Professor Wilson believes rooted in a change in our culture. The essence of which is the abandonment of the care and responsibility for our children.

Since the 1960s, the ritual of marriage has been made a mockery, he would remark. The "boys get action and no commitment." The women have opted for "independent household" living. Thus, the children of this "sexual exploration" do not have the positive influence of a family structure no matter what their race, creed or color. Professor Wilson proclaims that "only women of a certain income level — Murphy Brown" can adequately afford the luxury of single parenthood. Putting single parent mothers in "Florence Crittendon type" homes with no drugs, no alcohol or boyfriends allowed on the premises is the path to a "cold turkey" solution says Professor Wilson. We can look forward to this approach in the near future, since as Professor Wilson states, the breakdown of the family structure in America, indeed in the world, is "not a Black or White problem," but a serious total society one.

"Prison does not address the problem of young persons," says a crime expert Wilson. This in spite of the fact that for the first time in the state where he was speaking, California will spend more to lock away prisoners than it will to send students to public universities and colleges under the reelected Republican governor’s 1995-96 budget. The major reason being that the public is all too aware of the leaps and bounds in crime. It is not just whites running away from Blacks or Blacks running away from Blacks, but whites running away from whites, and Blacks running away from whites. What can be done and must be done is to refocus family life on the children —"all the children." Creating "artificial gatherings," according to Professor Wilson, will not substitute for a family unit of a married man and women with children, but merely result in more crime and punishment.






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