Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

June 27, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. I have one question here about the Law Enforcement Commission. I note that the portion of their appropriation which the Commission requested for purposes other than prohibition has been deleted in the Senate. The part that was deleted was that portion relating to their investigation into the cause and remedy for the growing general crime in the country and the work they were doing through various committees and associations, with the assistance of the judiciary and all sorts of other bodies, in sifting out questions of judicial procedure and reform necessary in order to expedite and reinforce the whole judicial machinery in the United States, both State and national.

As a matter of fact, the enforcement of any one criminal law necessarily involved the machinery of all criminal lines, and the country in general is interested in the growth of crime. Nothing to my mind indicates more clearly the fact that crime is growing in general than the situation which we have in the prisons, both Federal and State, at the present moment. We have in the last 2 years increased by 5,600 the people convicted of serious crimes in the Federal prisons alone, as against an increase of about 1,300 in the previous 2 years. Seventy percent of the people in the Federal prisons are there for other crimes than prohibition, so that from investigation of a criminal question the problem is 70 percent other than prohibition.

There is no doubt that the more vigorous enforcement of the Federal laws laterally have had something to do with this increase in prisoners. But certainly the causes and remedies for the 70 percent are of some importance. So that with growing crime of all kinds and with the multitude of recommendations from bar associations, from the judiciary, and from all sorts of public bodies, the whole question of crime should be gone into, and I do not think that we can abandon that program, and therefore I can't allow the work of the Commission to cease. I have asked them if they will go on and they have agreed to do so. I have no doubt that there are private citizens that are sufficiently anxious for the Nation to know the whole truth about crime in the country, other questions as well as prohibition, and to know what constructive remedies might be suggested from such an eminent body of men and women as this, that the Commission will be able to secure ample funds to carry through its work from private sources. The Commission is a volunteer body, serving wholly out of regard for public interest, and whatever funds are secured, from Congress or otherwise, are to be solely for investigation. No one receives a dime of payment.

It will no doubt need to set up a separate division to take charge of these sections of the work that have been going forward hitherto under appropriations, and will preside over them in their individual capacity. That I can assure you will be done, and the money is forthcoming to carry on the work.

That is all.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and twenty-second news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 27, 1930.

On the same day, the White House also issued a text of the President's statement on the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (see Item 210).

Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210908

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