Gingrich Proposes Plan For Building New Prisons

REP. Newt Gingrich (R) of Georgia says the surest way to end rampant crime in America's big cities is to build more prisons and keep the most violent criminals locked up.

Mr. Gingrich, the minority whip, says he would strongly support a bill that provided funds for prison-building to take violent criminals off New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago streets.

``We could have the three biggest cities in the country tell us how much money they need to take care of every violent criminal that their experts tell them live in the city, and let's build the prisons,'' he says. ``Let's take care of it, get it over with.''

At a Monitor breakfast with reporters, Gingrich said he would see such a prison-building program as a model for dealing with crime problems in the rest of the nation.

``I'd like to run a test, and the test is very simple. I think if you lock up the violent criminals for a very long time, you end violent crime for all practical purposes.''

He says his test contrasts sharply with liberal Democratic proposals to end violent crime by registering guns and training the middle class in ``pistol safety.''

``I think my theory is closer to reality,'' he says. If President Clinton would propose a prison-building program, Gingrich suggests it would sail through Congress ``by the end of February.''

On Clinton's health-care proposal, Gingrich predicts rough sailing because it leans too heavily on enlarging the scope of government. Gingrich calls the plan ``the most centralized government bill ever introduced in peacetime.'' He suggests that Clinton will eventually be forced to accept a more moderate compromise.

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