What do we need in a crime plan, Trinidad and Tobago? Here's a description of a simple and effective plan that was implemented in 1999 in Florida to deal with violent crime. It's called the 10-20-LIFE Program.
In 1998, criminals in Florida used guns to commit 31,643 violent felonies, including 13,937 armed robberies. That year, the mandatory punishment for using a gun to commit a violent felony was only three years in prison. During his campaign for Governor in 1998, Jeb Bush proposed the toughest gun-crime law in the nation: 10-20-LIFE. Under 10-20-LIFE, a felon who used a gun to commit a crime like armed robbery would face at least 10 years in state prison.Do you think a plan like this might work for Trinidad? Would you consider asking your family, friends and coworkers to tell their elected representatives about this plan?
* Mandates a minimum 10 year prison term for certain felonies, or attempted felonies in which the offender possesses a firearm or destructive device
* Mandates a minimum 20 year prison term when the firearm is discharged
* Mandates a minimum 25 years to LIFE if someone is injured or killed
* Mandates a minimum 3 year prison term for possession of a firearm by a felon
* Mandates that the minimum prison term is to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed
The Department of Corrections provides printed materials, such as: Bumper Stickers; Vinyl Window Clings; Posters in English, and Spanish; and Brochures in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, to public and private schools, businesses, and other public areas for display.
The results under 10-20-LIFE are impressive. In only six years, from 1998-2004, 10-20-LIFE has helped drive down violent gun crime rates 30 percent statewide (see Firearm Involved Violent Crimes). The state's 2004, "Index Crime" rate wass now the lowest in 34 years, and the violent crime rate is the lowest in a quarter century.