Stricter sentences would help fight Chicago violence, CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy says

Donald Price was shot to death by person or persons unknown. Price had done prison time for a second-degree murder conviction and served about half his sentence before being released on parole last May.
February 25, 2013 3:00:51 PM PST
Tougher sentences for criminals who use guns to kill are the key to stopping the violence, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

On Saturday evening, Donald Price was shot to death by person or persons unknown. Price had done prison time for a second-degree murder conviction and served about half his sentence before being released on parole last May.

"This murder could well have been prevented had Price still been incarcerated under another sentencing guideline," Supt. McCarthy said.

Price's life and death is part of a continuing refrain from police that more stringent sentencing guidelines, including a 3-year mandatory minimum for illegal gun possession, are needed. They call it truth in sentencing.

"If we stop people and stop people, and keep seizing guns and seizing guns and seizing guns, and they keep going in and out of the system without any consequence, we're going to get the same results we're getting now," Supt. McCarthy said.

The superintendent is frustrated with what he believes is a broken sentencing system. A number of African-American aldermen may not disagree with that, but they've also started to aim their frustration at the superintendent, suggesting that patience will be gone if strategies to lower the homicide rate don't show results by the warm months of summer.

"That is when we'll be able to determine if those strategies are working and I think the pressure will be not only from the black caucus, but it'll be from the public in general," Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st Ward, said.

"Both Garry McCarthy, Al Wysinger and the entire leadership in the police department have my 100 percent support. But they also have my sense of impatience to get results throughout the city to bring the type of public safety we want in every neighborhood," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

"This is so simple and we're making it complicated. Too many guns on the street; Too little sentencing," McCarthy said.

McCarthy is careful not to criticize judges. However, he said Monday that "the criminal justice system in Illinois does not support a reduction in gun violence."

Truth in sentencing and tougher mandatory minimums for gun crimes would definitely inflate the state's prison population, which is already well beyond capacity.

McCarthy - who often refers to his New York experience - says tougher gun crime penalties there have, over time, resulted in both a drop in crime and a lowering in the prison population.


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