GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE ANTI-CRIME INITIATIVES
Plan includes statewide Anti-Crime Council, focuses on summer jobs, gun control, and youth violence
Governor Deval Patrick today announced a series of anti-crime initiatives including additional money for statewide summer jobs programs for at-risk youths; a new statewide Anti-Crime Council to help address gun and gang violence; and $2.8 million for Boston for prevention and intervention programs and increased enforcement.
"Violent crime is not just a Boston problem and it is not a new problem. It is a constant threat to the security and safety of all our families in communities across Massachusetts and requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach in order to provide and ensure stability for our streets," Governor Patrick said. "This is critically important to this administration and we must step up our efforts not just in law enforcement but also in community-wide crime prevention, particularly as summer approaches, to allay fears of a further spike in violence."
The anti-crime initiative immediately provides $5.4 million for a Statewide Summer Jobs Plan, including $4.4 million in Workforce Development Grants for Summer Jobs and $1 million in Byrne Memorial Grants for Summer Jobs. The package also provides $250,000 in matching grants to support Violence Intervention Advocates in emergency rooms statewide.
The package also provides the City of Boston with $550,000 toward prevention and community policing programs. The Administration also allocates $350,000 in new funds to bring total state grants for summer jobs programs in Boston to $2.25 million. State agencies also will partner with the Private Industry Council in Boston to offer summer jobs for at-risk youths through the "Classroom in the Workplace" program.
"The entire Commonwealth has a stake in our cities," Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray said. "We must view crime and violence in our urban neighborhoods as a problem that requires shared responsibility between all of us - including neighborhood residents, community leaders, religious leaders and, of course, government. And not just city government, but the state as well. It is only by coordinating our governmental resources - between the city and the state, and between particular agencies and departments of both - that we can successfully address this epidemic of crime and violence."
Additionally, Governor Patrick announced he will issue an Executive Order creating a new, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary Anti-Crime Council to focus on the present challenges facing crime victims, social service providers and Massachusetts law enforcement organizations. The administration is also exploring how best to enhance information sharing between state agencies regarding at-risk juveniles - including school officials, juvenile court personnel and probation officers, representatives from district attorney's offices, social workers from the Department of Social Services and others - in devising a comprehensive, coordinated response for meeting the needs of this vulnerable population.
The Patrick-Murray Administration will also file anti-crime legislation, which includes:
* Mandatory Post-release Supervision and Support for Re-Entry. Requires that all sentences to a jail, house of correction or state prison include a period of post-release supervision. Focuses on the 20,000 inmates released from incarceration each year. Importantly, 49 percent of all inmates recidivate within one year.
* One Gun Per Month. Limits gun buyers to the purchase of just one firearm per month, a measure already working in California, Maryland and Virginia. The measure targets "straw purchasers" who buy guns for convicted felons and others prohibited from owning firearms. Also augments the reporting requirements for private gun sales.
* Pre-trial Detention for Gun Offenses. Adds firearm offenses to the list of crimes considered in the "dangerousness hearing" statute, where, after a hearing, a person can be held without bail pending trial.
* Felony Punishment for Using a Firearm in a Crime of Violence. Any offender who commits a misdemeanor that involves the use of physical force against another while armed with a firearm will be punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.