Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 8:06 am | Fair 44º

 
 
 
 

Bill Cirone: Dudley Hits Perfect Note on Prevention

She makes her case for the role district attorneys can — and should — play in fighting crime by investing in kids

When Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley was invited to speak to the National District Attorneys Association by a national research/advocacy group, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, her educational roots were abundantly clear. She demonstrated a spot-on understanding of human development and the critical importance of early interventions to prevent crimes.

She told the assembled group that the traditional role of district attorneys was to “clean up the mess.”

“On a good day, our community feels justice was served,” she said. “On a great day, our efforts helped victims become survivors.”

She said that traditional role is no longer sufficient, and that district attorneys are expected to become leaders in the field of crime prevention — to fight crime by prosecuting criminals and investing in kids.

I greatly respect and appreciate the approach she took with the assembled group.

She said district attorneys have all looked into the eyes of a murderer. But she suspected that very few had had the opportunity to look into those same eyes when the murderer was a child. Think of the power if that could be the case, and preventive steps could be taken.

Dudley cited a murderer she prosecuted a few years ago. She said that murderer, as a child, had been the victim of vicious homophobic bullying. She said she also prosecuted a child abuser a few years ago and now one of his abused children was recently arrested for rape.

“In my mind, both cases stood for the proposition that to fight crime we must invest in kids,” Dudley said. “If I had been there to stop the bullying and the abuse when those violent offenders were still children, I could have had a fighting chance to stop those later crimes from every occurring.”

She admonished the group of district attorneys to become those leaders in the field of crime prevention, and she laid out a very specific list of particulars to support — high-quality preschool education, enticing after-school programs, especially at the junior high level, and truancy programs that re-engage the alienated student.

Most impressive about her talk to this esteemed group were the echoes we hear from the educational establishment about the importance of these very issues. What has been missing from the educational argument is the hard facts about crime and the resultant costs to society, from a prosecutor with the vision and understanding to lay out the case so clearly.

I salute her approach and look forward to having our offices collaborate to the shared goal of preventing crime by investing in kids — especially those who are abused, bullied or neglected. It is not only the right thing to do, it is also in our community’s best interests. As Benjamin Franklin said so wisely, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.