Ron Vandevender - Company Message
We need an approach to criminal justice and crime control that is smart, compassionate and tough. An approach that will keep our streets safe.
We suffer from an epidemic of violence and crime, victimizing one family out of four every year.
Despite decades of tough talk, the anti-crime policies of the Republicans and Democrats have clearly failed.  I believes a fresh approach is needed.
We have a culture where law enforcement is feared vs respected. This is in part caused by the massive amount of areas our politicians create which require police intervention. Police then suffer the backlash brought about by them simply doing their job.
Step 1) In order to have more efficient law enforcement we must not be cutting funds to these agencies.
Step 2) They must be given every tool possible to make law enforcement more efficient.
Step 3) We must revamp the system on reports being called in and investigated by officers. Callers should have to give law enforcement agencies info about themselves which can be verified. (This is only avail. to the agency). If a person has made multiple false reports, that person should be prosecuted.
Step 4) Officers should have to receive training in communication and people skills. Officers with a bad "bedside manner" so to speak is un-acceptable. Like our elected officials they are public servants and should act like it. If they want respect they must show respect.
Step 5) Our schools and parents should work harder to educate kids as to the role of law enforcement. This step includes educating the public to Jury Nullification and fully informed Juries as to their duties. Which includes our duty to not just judge by the law but also the law itself. If a law is unjust, we as a jury member have the duty not to convict a defendant.
Step 6. Protect Victims Right
Protecting the rights and interests of victims should be the basis of our criminal justice system. Victims should have the right to be present, consulted and heard throughout the prosecution of their case.
In addition, criminals should be more than just punished. They should be made to pay restitution to their victims for the damage they've caused, including property loss, medical cost, pain, and suffering. If you are a victim of a crime, the criminal should fully compensate you for your loss.
Step 7. End Prohibition
Drug prohibition inflates the cost of drugs, leading users to steal to support their high priced habits. It is estimated that drug addicts commit 25% of all auto thefts, 40% of robberies and assaults, and 50% of burglaries and larcenies. Prohibition puts your property at risk. Finally, nearly one half of all police resources are devoted to stopping drug trafficking, instead of preventing violent crime. The bottom line? By ending drug prohibition, Libertarians would double the resources available for crime prevention, and significantly reduce the number of violent criminals at work in your neighborhood.
This is not to say that all drugs should be legal. It does however show the scope of seriousness of our views of grouping every drug and how we deal with them into a blanket package. There are many ways we can deal with drug problems whether they are gotten off the streets or by prescription. This area is one which must include Politicians, Law Enforcement, the Medical Community as well as others working together to come up with an actual working solution.
Mandatory rehab for drug offenders set for a long enough period of time to truly reform the user should be considered before packing jail cells with them. By putting users, who have not committed a violent crime in prison, all we have done is send them to "Crime School". They learn more ways to get around the system and break the laws. The cost of incarceration vs rehab runs better than 3x's the cost in most cases.
Step 8. Get Tough on Real Crime
Personal responsibility is a must. Anyone who harms another person should be held responsible for that action. By contrast, the Democrats and Republicans have created a system where criminals can get away with almost anything.
For instance: sentences seldom mean what they say. Fewer than one out of every four violent felons serves more than four years. I would like to dramatically reduce the number of these early releases by eliminating their root cause - prison over-crowding.
Since nearly six out of every ten federal prison inmates are there for non-violent drug-related offenses, it's clear that drug prohibition is the primary source of this over-crowding. It has been estimated that every drug offender imprisoned results in the the release of one violent criminal, who then commits an average of 40 robberies, 7 assaults, 110 burglaries and 25 auto thefts. Early release of violent criminals puts you and your family at risk. It must stop.
Step 9. Protect the Right of Self Defense
We here in Montana value our rights to gun ownership, whether for hunting or personal protection. Private ownership of firearms is part of the solution to our crime epidemic, not part of the problem. Just one example of Evidence: law-abiding citizens in Florida have been able to carry concealed weapons since 1987. During that time, the murder rate in Florida has declined 21% while the national murder rate has increased 12%.
In addition, evidence shows that self-defense with guns is the safest response to violent crime. It results in fewer injuries to the defender (17.4% injury rate) than any other response, including not resisting at all (24.7% injury rate). Libertarians would repeal waiting periods, concealed carry laws, and other restrictions that make it difficult for victims to defend themselves, and end the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense.
As a safety factor for the public, weapons training and safety courses for those wanting to carry a firearm is always a good idea. In fact those who are concerned about their gun rights should also want this aspect. It helps to ease many of the worries of those who are against weapon ownership (which mostly comes from safety concerns).
Step 10. Address the Root Causes of Crime
Any society that lets kids grow up dependent on government, attending government schools that fail to teach, and entering an economy where government policy has crushed opportunity, will be a society that breeds criminals. No permanent solution to crime will be found until we address these root causes of crime.
To help fight crime employment opportunities must be created. Offer people a hand up vs a hand out. Ending the system of dependence and hopelessness. Promote low-cost private alternatives to the failed government school system. These things mentioned on this page will not solve crime problems overnight. Nothing will, but they are starting places which must be brought to the table of discussion and implemented to start us down the right path.
My plan would do what the Democrats and Republicans have not done:
* Respect the victim's rights and make criminals pay full restitution.
* Hold all criminals responsible for their actions.
* Double the police resources available for crime prevention without any additional government spending.
* Reduce the number of criminals at large on our streets.
* Defend the most effective crime deterrent available, the private ownership of guns.
* Create jobs, end government dependence and improve education.