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May 6th, 2010


Tonight at the Garland Bar Assocation a criminal district judge gave a great talk about how how cutting down on crime involves a community effort to reach those caught up in it. I really liked hearing a little no-nonsense recognition that crime is not something we fight with walls and guns alone. I'm very intrigued in our state of Texas how people fail to recognize the link between a policy of increased incarceration and
a lack of funding to address other social concerns. This fellow wrote a decent position paper on this.

I am all for long sentences to deal with certain types of serious violent crime. Yet I was glad to hear the recognition tonight that getting tough on crime means more than just putting harsh sentences in place for offenses. It's about figuring out what brings people to make such horrible choices, and trying to get people to choose alternatives. It's not like play-dough--you can't just run things through a mold and have a nice house with a chimney. Yet our culture of disposable children and neglect of the dignity of the individual
leads to crime as surely as bees find nectar. I was glad to hear some constructive discussion from a judge who presides over murder trials and child abuse trials each day--a judge who sees the worst in human situations, and yet tries to address ways we can all make things better.