Maryland 'Project Exile' Combats Gun Violence
Updated: March 24th, 2006 12:49 PM EDT
Story by nbc4.com
Prince George's County officials are embracing a new tactic to curb gun violence. It's called Project Exile. Authorities said the goal of the project is to send any felon carrying a gun in Prince George's County to jail.
Police in Prince George's said they take more than 150 illegal handguns off the street every month.
Project Exile was formally initiated in February 1997 when indictments of the first group of Project Exile defendants for federal firearm offenses were announced.
The project is based on the principle that if police catch a criminal in Richmond with a gun, the criminal has forfeited his or her right to remain in the community and will consequently face immediate federal prosecution and stiff mandatory federal prison sentences.
U.S Attorney Rod Rosenstein and Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey were among more than a dozen law enforcement officials who gathered in Greenbelt Thursday to announce the Project Exile program.
Project Exile is a joint effort of local and federal authorities to target violent criminals in the county's most dangerous areas and sentence them to the maximum when possible.
"You will face jail time, serious jail time, if you are caught carrying an illegal gun in Prince George's County," said Rosenstein.
Maryland officials said they also hope to use mandatory minimum sentences and tough federal penalties to help deter crime.
Prince George's had a record 173 homicides last year. Ivey said 85 percent of those killings involved guns.
Jason Ziedenberg of the Justice Policy Institute said the history of the program in other cities is one of mixed results.
"Project Exile is about prosecution. It's not really about prevention," said Ziedenberg. "Sending people to prison for long, long sentences for gun crimes doesn't really get at the problems that were going on in that community in the first place."
The Maryland version of Project Exile began March 1.
Lock the fucker's up. Get the CRIMINALS off the streets, and maybe they'll see that THEY are the problem, not law abiding gun owning citizens.