Monday, June 19, 2006

Go Directly to Jail - Or Not

Wow. As I've watched the estimated costs for the enhancement of our county jail escalate I've often wondered if too many people were being incarcerated for relatively minor offenses; whether all logical and prudent alternatives are being explored. I believe there is a watchdog group overseeing the latest attempts to justify needs versus cost though I haven't seen much in the press of late.

What I have seen is a truly bazaar article in the Wall Street Journal of how the British are handling the overcrowding of their jails. They are incarcerating the victims! It seems to be a rather odd merry-go-round of justice though their merry go rounds do go the opposite direction from ours.

Using "excessive" force to thwart a burglar can get you convicted for assault. A farmer who killed one burglar and wounded another after the 7th break-in of his home was denied parole because he was a threat to burglars. In one instance police waited 7 hours to enter a home where an armed assailant was holding his hostage at bay in a closet. The police finally entered when all danger to them was past; unfortunately it was also too late for the woman pleading for their help.

Meanwhile, admitted crimes including arson and sex with an underaged girl get a pass. No jail time, no fine, no community service and no court appearance. All so the offenders won't tax an overcrowded jail system!

This is thought provoking and frightening reading. It shows how intentions can get insanely out of control. The entire commentary follows here. I hope our watch dogs are watching much more than I ever imagined might be necessary!


stebbijo said...

Insane - you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

brentandrews said...

The drug war causes jail overcrowding but court and police officials - tyrants that they tend to be - don't care because they're getting theirs from fines and asset forfeitures. Meanwhile they know the taxpayers will foot the bill for more prisons to hold people convicted under an oppressive and broken system. Because we Americans love our prisons, don't we? Can't get enough prisons, can we? OTGN - Overthrow The Government Now!