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Gov. Bush promotes dual attack on crime

He tells prosecutors that a get-tough approach, mixed with attention to "the root causes of crime," will help.

Florida needs to get tough on violent criminals while still attacking root causes of crime like drug abuse and the breakdown of family responsibility, Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday night.

Speaking to the annual conference of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Bush called for a new approach to criminal justice policy.

"The old way is either you're tough on crime or you believe the whole focus should be on the root causes of crime," Bush said. "Well, maybe there's a third way."

That would be Bush's mix of the two philosophies. He praised the "10-20-Life" law, which he initiated and the state Legislature adopted, which gives mandatory minimum prison sentences for crimes committed with guns. He said he believes "10-20-Life" will cause gun violence to drop. "There's a new awareness that there's going to be a certainty of punishment," he said.

At the same time, Bush said he's proud that the state has put $100-million into the child welfare system. "We need to show compassion for the people who need the help of government," he said.

Bush also said he plans to use the bully pulpit to persuade businesses to offer drug treatment programs for employees. He said Florida is going to provide drug treatment for prisoners. And Bush said all can help get the word out to children that drugs aren't "cool."

"My hope and dream is there will be a 50 percent decrease in drug use in this state in the next four years. To the cynics, watch it happen," he said.

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