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Carney's criminal justice plan focuses on education & relationships

African American social reformer Frederick Douglass said “it’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.” And that appears to be the approach Congressman John Carney will take if he becomes governor.


The Democratic candidate for governor unveiled a detailed criminal justice policy proposal Thursday.

A key component of his plan is preventing kids from turning to crime by keeping them in school and providing more after-school programs. 


Children can legally drop out of school at age 16. He wants to increase that age to 18. He also wants to increase hours at community centers and expand after school programs.


“If we’re not successful in education than these kids are going to turn to criminal activity and that’s not what we want to see happen,” Carney said. 


The state’s jails are full of people without high school diplomas who are reading at a grade school level, according to Carney.


He wants to increase education and job training programs in the state’s prisons.


He also wants to help drug offenders in prison get treatment so they can become productive members of society when they’re released.


Another key component of Carney's plan would "establish a consistent and significant community policing presence" in high crime areas.  


"Obviously, it creates a greater level of comfort among residents of an area if they see police officers outside of their cars and they get to talk with them from time to time,” Carney said. 


In the short term, Carney’s plan would target law enforcement in areas with high crime rates.


He also plans to expand the use of police technology like license plate readers and body cameras, but says he wants to use these technologies in a limited way that won’t be perceived as imposing or threatening. 


Carney's Republican opponent, State Sen. Colin Bonini criticized the plan as  simply a continuation of same playbook being followed now.


"Under my leadership, criminals will get a strong message that they cannot continue their activities without punishment.  I will advocate for victims while addressing the root causes of violence, " said Bonini in a statement. "The reality is that John's proposals are exactly the same strategies we are using today and they simply aren't working.  We need to be tough on crime and clear our streets of violent criminals. We must focus on preventing crime and helping victims. We should care more about victims than perpetrators.”


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