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A Matter of Fact

1996 study of juvenile homicide arrests (National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, and the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice) revealed that six states: Florida, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Texas, and California accounted for 56 percent of juvenile homicide arrests in 1993. The report also cited four cities -- Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Detroit -- as accounting for one in three such arrests in 1993.

FBI statistics reflect a 20 percent decrease in arrest rates between 1993 and 1995 of 10-17 year-olds for murder.

The number of juveniles tried as adults in Ohio has risen 70 percent since a 1995 state law passed allowing teens as young as 14 to be tried as adults.

Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), sponsor of a federal "Get Tough on Juveniles" bill, referred to violent juvenile offenders as "the most vile human beings on the face of the continent .... they are truly vicious predators." McCollum also stated that juveniles "should be thrown in jail, the key should be thrown away and there should be very little or no effort to rehabilitate them." His bill breezed through the House.

As of September 1996, the California Youth Authority's 11 institutions and four camps -- designed to hold 6,722 operated at 145 percent capacity with a population of 9,722.

A 1997 poll commissioned by the California Wellness Foundation found that 82 percent of the 1,700 registered California voters surveyed said the state's priority in dealing with youth violence should be creating prevention programs and not building prisons.

In 1996, California spent $2.2 billion on juvenile justice and $116 million on youth crime prevention programs.

Ohio spends three times as much to house, guard, and feed one prisoner as it does to educate one grade school student. It costs $15,867 per prisoner per year, compared to the $4,365 state average spent annually per grade school student.

In 1996, Massachusetts spent more than $1.2 billion on criminal justice, more than 3.5 times the combined state spending for elderly services, housing assistance, and child care.

In the five years from 1986 - 1990, the city of Los Angeles paid out more than $20 million for police excessive force civil suits, averaging more than $1,300 per officer in 1990.

The city of New York paid out more than $30 million for "police misconduct" civil suits for the six years 1987 - 1992.

Nearly one-quarter of applicants for entry-level law enforcement jobs lack the basic reading, writing, or math skills they need to perform routine police duties, according to a 1997 study by Standard & Associates, a Chicago firm that administers the National Police Officer Selection Test. More than 1,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide use the test as their mandatory entry-level examination.

An article in the Law Enforcement News about the Dallas police force asking "private security forces" to act as its eyes and ears, reports that the city employs 2,800 police officers. Those are outnumbered more than five-fold by the 15,000 private security guards employed in the city.

The Federal Trade Commission says that "unscrupulous telemarketers posing as phony law enforcement charities" bilk unsuspecting donors out of an estimated $700 million annually.

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