Colin Powell on Crime

Secretary of State (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


Building jails is a temporary fix, not the solution

Q: You told [the GOP convention delegates] they ought to be building more schools and not jails, yet more jails has been a critical part of this partyís anti-crime package. Yet theyíre cheering you for advocating positions they have rejected. What was going on?

A: I think thereís a change taking place and people realize we canít keep building jails. This isnít the solution. This is a temporary fix on the problem. If we want to stop building jails, weíve got to get back to building children.

Once you get kids pointed in that direction, youíre not going to have that problem with jails at the end of the day. And so, what I was trying to say to the party is why you may have had to build a jail thatís not the ultimate solution. The ultimate solution is to build our children. They should cheer that. They ought to cheer that. I think theyíre seeing the party come forward with policies that will do that.

Source: ABCnews.com , Aug 1, 2000

Build our children instead of building jails

Iíve seen kids destroying themselves with drugs, kids who see violence and crime as the answer to their hopelessness, kids who no longer believe in themselves and who donít see a reason to believe in America. Iíve seen kids in utter despair. Iíve visited kids in jail doing adult time for the crimes theyíve committed. They are part of a growing population of over 2 million Americans behind bars -- 2 million convicts, not consumers; 2 million Americans who while paying for their crimes are not paying taxes, are not there for their children and are not raising families. Most of them are men and the majority of those men are minorities.

The problem is as simple and as direct as this: We either get back to the task of building our children the way we know how, or weíre going to keep building jails in America. And itís time to stop building jails in America and get back to the task of building our children.

Source: Speech at the Republican convention , Jul 30, 2000

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