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Al Gore on Crime

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


National hate crimes law is needed, absolutely

GORE: The law that was proposed in Texas that had the support of the Byrd family, did in fact die in committee. There may be some other statute that was already on the books, but the advocates of the hate crimes law felt that a tough new law was needed. And it’s important not just because of Texas, but because this mirrors the national controversy. There is pending now in the Congress a national hate crimes law because of James Byrd and others. And that law has died in committee also because of the same kind of opposition.

Q: And you would support that bill?

GORE: Absolutely.

Q: Would you support a national hate crimes law?

BUSH: I would support the Orrin Hatch version of it, not the Senator Kennedy version. But we’re happy with our laws on our books. There was another bill that did die in committee, but I want to repeat, if you have a state that fully supports the law, like we do in Texas, we’re going to go after all crime, and we’re going to make sure people get punished for the crime.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

50,000 more police, to cut the crime rate for next 10 years

We’re putting 100,000 new community police on our streets. Crime has fallen in every major category for seven years in a row. But there’s still too much danger and there’s still too much fear.

So I want to set another new, specific goal: to cut the crime rate year after year-every single year throughout this decade. That’s why I’ll fight to add another 50,000 new police-community police who help prevent crime by establishing real relationships between law enforcement and neighborhood residents.

Source: Speech to the 2000 Democratic National Convention , Aug 18, 2000

Invest in police and prosecutors to reduce crime

Gore would continue to support the COPS initiative that has funded 100,000 new cops-and add 50,000 more police officers to protect the nation’s streets. He would improve law enforcement by helping communities hire 10,000 prosecutors. Gore would cool off crime “hot spots” with targeted investments to ensure that federal and local law enforcement agents can work together with the latest crime-fighting technology. “I want to focus on the brave women and men on the front lines of our safety and security.”
Source: Press Release, “Proposal for More Police & Prosecutors” , Jul 19, 2000

Constitutional amendment for victim’s rights

Gore jumped into a contentious debate in Congress by endorsing a constitutional amendment to expand the rights of crime victims. The amendment would grant victims & their families the right to reasonable notice of court proceedings involving their cases, the right to have a voice in those proceedings, and the right to notice of an offender’s release from prison. Opponents assert that those rights can be ensured without an amendment, and that the measure would violate the civil rights of the accused.
Source: James Dao, New York Times, p. A18 , May 3, 2000

Intensify the battle against crime, drugs, and disorder

If I am entrusted with the presidency, I will launch a sweeping anti-crime strategy to make our families safe and secure. I will intensify the battle against crime, drugs, and disorder in our communities.
As crime and fear grew, too many families became afraid to live up to their own responsibilities and help take back their communities from the thugs and the dealers. And too many criminals saw the disorder on our streets as an invitation to further lawlessness and violence.
Seven years ago, we began to change all that. President Clinton and I thought we needed a tougher and more comprehensive strategy to fight crime on every single front. Smarter prevention to stop crime before it even started. More police on our streets to thicken the thin blue line between order and disorder. And tougher punishments, including the death penalty for those who dared to penalize the innocent.
Source: Speech in Atlanta GA , May 2, 2000

Get clean to get out; stay clean to stay out

Stressing his commitment to fighting crime, Al Gore today detailed his comprehensive anti-crime agenda and highlighted his “get-clean-to-get-out” and “stay-clean-to-stay-out” drug policies to help cut down on crimes by repeat offenders. Gore noted that serious crime is at its lowest level in a quarter-century. “If I’m President, America won’t go back. We will move forward, until we redraw the line between right and wrong: on our streets, on our lawbooks, and in our hearts and minds.”
Source: Press Release , May 2, 2000

“Lock box” to keep money in crime enforcement

Gore supports a measure that would create a “lock box” for money to fund law enforcement. The funds would protect criminal justice funding for the next five years, and would allow local communities to plan for the future without having to worry every year that their funds would be used for other purposes. The “lock box” would protect funding for key anti-crime programs, such as hiring more community police officers and prosecutors, and other important crime prevention measures.
Source: Press Release , Apr 14, 2000

Hate crimes are fundamentally different than other crimes

BRADLEY [to Gore]: There is an anti-hate crime bill pending before the Texas Legislature. It was a hate crime bill in the wake of the James Byrd murder and the Matthew Shepard murder and it said that there will be additional penalties for hate crimes based on race, gender, sexual orientation and disability. And the governor of Texas let it be known he did not want to see that bill come forward. I told the governor’s press corps that if I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party and he’s the nominee of the Republican Party, and he has failed to support this legislation, that I would make it an issue in the presidential campaign and I will.

GORE: I think it will be an issue in the presidential campaign and it should be. I met two weeks ago with Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard. What suffering that family went through when that young man was crucified on a split-rail fence by bigots. Yes, we need hate crimes legislation. Those crimes are fundamentally different.

Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles , Mar 1, 2000

Recognizes disparities in sentencing blacks

We need to recognize the inequities in our criminal justice system which have, in part, resulted in the very high incarceration rate for African Americans. We have to recognize that while everyone in our country, from every group, wants to see vigorous enforcement of the law and reduction in crime, there has to be equal enforcement, including in sentencing. And there are disparities in sentencing that need to be addressed.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa , Jan 17, 2000

Fight terrorism with leadership, tight control of technology

Q: How do you plan to address terrorist threats? A: We’ve got to work with our allies. I was the author of the Gore-McCain legislation to focus these efforts to stop the flow of technology. We need to realize that is yet another reason why it’s so important for the US to use our leadership in the world in the longer run, when we promote more peace and stability in the world, we’re going to remove some of the causes of these festering sores that lead to terrorism.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH , Dec 18, 1999

Supports “Broken Windows” law enforcement

Gore believes in the approach to law enforcement called “Broken Windows”: that a targeted assault on all crime and disorder, large and small - from graffiti, broken windows, and crumbling buildings to more serious crimes - can create an environment in which people respect the law, each other, and the community in which they live.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/crime.html 5/16/99 , May 16, 1999

Faith-based crime prevention via clergy outreach

Al Gore has worked to prevent crime from happening in the first place, through a comprehensive approach that includes more jobs and economic development in neglected neighborhoods, and alternatives to crime and drugs such as quality after-school care. He believes we should promote faith-based crime prevention, through which clergy and faith-based groups reach out to troubled youth, and steer them away from crime, drugs, and gangs.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/crime.html 5/16/99 , May 16, 1999

Tough “Second-chance schools” for kids

Today, I propose the creation of second-chance schools - where kids headed for trouble, and those caught with guns, can receive the strict discipline and intensive services they need. For all schools, there should be a simple policy toward guns: zero tolerance, period. All schools should be gun-free, drug-free, and safe and secure. We should increase our commitment to after-school care this year, so children have a place to learn in those afternoon hours when most juvenile crimes occur.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa , May 16, 1999


Al Gore on Death Penalty

Death penalty for deterrence, but carefully

Q: What about the death penalty?

GORE: I support the death penalty. I think that it has to be administered not only fairly, with attention to things like DNA evidence, which I think should be used in all capital cases, but also with very careful attention. If the wrong guy is put to death, then that’s a double tragedy. Not only has an innocent person been executed but the real perpetrator of the crime has not been held accountable for it, and in some cases may be still at large. But I support the death penalty in the most heinous cases.

Q: Do both of you believe that the death penalty actually deters crime?

BUSH: I do, that’s the only reason to be for it. I don’t think you should support the death penalty to seek revenge. I don’t think that’s right. I think the reason to support the death penalty is because it saves other people’s lives.

GORE: I think it is a deterrence. I know that’s a controversial view, but I do believe it’s a deterrence.

Source: St. Louis debate , Oct 17, 2000

Use DNA techniques to make death penalty more fair

I believe the death penalty is an appropriate and effective punishment for certain offenses. I strongly support, however, the use of new DNA techniques that can make our criminal justice system fairer and more accurate. I believe that we must take every possible precaution to ensure the integrity and fairness of the system when we apply this ultimate penalty. We must be vigilant in not allowing race, class or absence of competent counsel to have any influence in such crucial decisions.“
Source: Associated Press , Sep 4, 2000

Supports death penalty; no moratorium for new DNA techniques

Q: What about a moratorium on the death penalty based on new DNA evidence that has released numerous minority convicts?
A: I strongly support the inquiry under way right now in the US Justice Department to see whether or not the racial disparity on the surface of the data justifies action of a kind that they’re now exploring. I do support the death penalty, but I do not support a moratorium at this time. This inquiry in the Justice Department should be pursued.
Source: Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

Death penalty for murdering federal officers

Al Gore has also worked for new measures to protect our men and women in blue - such as help in purchasing life-saving bullet-proof vests, and an expansion of the death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers, and nearly 60 additional kinds of violent felons.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/crime.html 5/16/99 , May 16, 1999


Al Gore on Mandatory Sentencing

Victims need protection and justice

Al Gore today announced a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that will include a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing important protections for crime victims such as the right to be heard in the sentencing process or to be notified of a perpetrator’s release. Other measures would entitle victims to leave from work to attend legal proceedings and help protect women and children from domestic violence. “I am proposing a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights -- so our justice system puts victims and their families first. “I’m not satisfied when accused criminals have all kinds of rights, but victims don’t have rights that are always protected and guaranteed.” Gore’s Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights would cost $685 million over ten years, be paid for out of the budget surplus.
Source: Press Release, “Victims’ Bill of Rights” , Jul 18, 2000

Crime plan: More police; tougher penalties; victims’ rights

Source: Press Release , May 2, 2000

Three Strikes should apply only to truly violent crimes

GORE: [Regarding race-biased sentencing], the disparities between crack & powder cocaine are not justified by the scientific evidence. The practices of many law-enforcement agencies need to be changed.

BRADLEY: The issue of the criminal justice system is deeper than simply the death penalty. There is unequal justice in this country, not only racial profiling, not only crack cocaine, but also in terms of kids getting mandatory sentences for first-time non-violent drug use and being put away 20 years. That should not happen.

GORE: We should review of the kinds of penalty that are calculated under the [policy of] “three strikes and you’re out.” The focus ought to be on truly violent crime. We need to continue reducing the crime rate, and community policing is a good strategy. But we also need more prevention.

BRADLEY. This is a deeper moral issue for the country. We have to stop denying the plight of black Americans and the indignities that they’re experiencing.

Source: (X-ref to Bradley) Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

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Other past presidents on Crime: Al Gore on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole
V.P.Walter Mondale

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Page last updated: Jul 05, 2014