By CHARLES BABINGTON
Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton is proposing to spend $4 billion a year on anti-crime measures, including programs meant to reduce the number of ex-convicts who return to prison.
The money also would help communities hire more police officers and "community-oriented prosecutors."
Under the New York senator's plan, to be detailed Friday in a speech in Philadelphia, states would compete for $1 billion in annual grants to combat recidivism. It would "promote tough but fair" changes to probation practices and to existing programs meant to steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison, her presidential campaign said in an outline provided early Friday.
The goal is to make punishment more certain for those who violate their probation, while also enhancing efforts to help former drug users stay clean and thereby avoid prison, campaign aides said.
They said Clinton would pay for the $4 billion initiative with savings to be identified by a commission she will assign to "identify unnecessary and outdated corporate subsidies for elimination." Groups that oppose deficit spending urge campaigns to be more specific in saying how they will pay for new programs.
Clinton's plan would hire 100,000 new police officers "to address crime, through a modernized personnel grant program." It would spend $250 million a year on "community-oriented prosecutors."
Compared to earlier presidential campaigns, especially those in the 1970s, this year's contest has focused relatively scant attention on crime, with the Iraq war and economic woes dominating the debate. Clinton, noting that violent crime has begun to rise after several years of decline, will focus on the subject Friday as she competes with Sen. Barack Obama for votes in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary.
Her plan calls for federal grants or special efforts by the Justice Department to help local governments battle gang violence, drug dealing and gun trafficking, and to operate after-school programs, home visits by nurses and "early-intervention mentoring programs" designed to steer "at-risk kids" away from crime.
It also would combat identity theft and online child exploitation.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)