Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Attorney General Reno Challenges Cities to Take the Next Step in Fighting Crime

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Attorney General Reno Challenges Cities to Take the Next Step in Fighting Crime

Article excerpt

Promotes Plan to Transition Ex-Convicts Back into Society

United States Attorney General Janet Reno brought a message of partnership and commitment to the nation's cities, speaking to elected local officials during the Congressional City Conference.

The administration, in partnership with the nation's cities, has brought about a sea change in the fight against crime. "Crime," she said, "has been down for seven years in a row," because of tools like the COPS program of community policing and the Brady Bill, which are products of federal-local commitment.

For Reno, the next frontier to conquer is breaking the cycle of crime.

The successful record on fighting crime brought Reno to what she said will be a major challenge facing the nation's communities in the coming years: what to do with jailed offenders who will re-enter society in great numbers as they finish up their sentences. She proposed enlisting community based and religious groups in efforts to smooth the transition so that they create, "a network of support, supervision and accountability," for those reentering society.

"It makes sense," she said, "to give somebody the tools to cope so he's not back in prison." Pointing up the pitfalls that await ex-cons, she said they need a chance to break the cycle of drugs, joblessness and hopelessness that confronts many on their return to their old neighborhoods. Released offenders, she said, should have a chance to "get off on the right foot . …

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