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Letter: 40 years of failed policies haven’t reduced crime


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

I was pleased to read in the Aug. 20 edition of the Daily Record that Rep. Jim Townsend and several other legislators were wanting to call a special session to deal with our high crime rate. After reading further I realized they were advocating for more of the same failed policies of the past.

In the early 1980s President Reagan declared war on drugs. The crime rate increased. In the mid 1990s President Clinton declared war on crime in order to combat this increase in crime. Some 40 years later the incarceration rate has increased by roughly 600%, our crime rate is basically unchanged and our drug use has increased. We presently have the highest rate of incarceration of any other nation with a crime rate higher than many developing nations.

A simplified conclusion from a number of studies have shown the vast majority of crime is committed by unemployed or underemployed younger adult males with less than a college degree. Under our previous governor funding for education was cut while increasing funding for prisons and advocating harsher penalties. The result was our education ranking dropped from 39th in 2010 to being ranked as the absolute worst in the nation in 2019. Our crime rate remained basically unchanged.

In the past 40 years our nation has spent trillions on law enforcement and incarceration without showing any measurable positive results. The human suffering caused by our high crime rate is heartbreaking and will continue until we seek solutions that have proven to work in other nations, other states, end even in several New Mexico cities. I would recommend the hiring of sociology consultants to offer solutions for reducing our crime rate and for improving the quality of life in our state. After 40 years what we have been doing has not worked to reduce crime. Without change we will continue to see the failed policies of the past 40 years.

John Grogan

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