Texans need only look at California and New York to understand why criminal justice reform just furthers crime
Criminal justice reform is largely race based because people of color constitute a disproportionate number of inmates in America’s prisons. Civil rights groups contend that the criminal justice system is racist because about 40 percent of those imprisoned are black while blacks constitute only 13 percent of this country’s population. Disregarded is the fact that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime.
The reformers also complain about the number of nonviolent offenders that are doing time just for the possession of drugs, most of them being black. They are deliberately misleading the public, including our lawmakers. Those doing time for possession are, with only a few exceptions, drug dealers who plea bargained the charges against them from dealing to possession in order to receive a lighter sentence.
Criminal justice reform is largely an effort by the liberal hug-a-criminal crowd, but conservatives also favor reforms because of the money that is saved by reduced prison populations.
In December 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act, a bipartisan bill that reduced some harsh sentences and gave more federal inmates a way to earn an early release. The act also funded programs to help released inmates succeed in the free world. Thousands of inmates, mostly drug offenders, got shorter sentences from the First Step Act, but the act applies only to federal inmates. To show his support for act, President Trump commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a black woman who was convicted in 1996 on eight criminal counts for her involvement in a Memphis cocaine trafficking ring. At the behest of Kim Kardashian, Trump then pardoned her.
In Texas, the leading criminal justice reform activist is Scott Henson whose blog ‘Grits for Breakfast’ wold be more correctly named if it read “Grits for Cop Haters.” Besides bashing the police, Henson has called for criminal justice reforms, especially for abolishing cash bail.
While it is unfortunate that many people remain jailed for weeks, even months, simply because they are too poor to come up with their bail money, abolishing cash bail altogether is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. A better way is for judges to take a careful look at the offender when setting bail An offender with no serious criminal record who has a job and is supporting a family should be released on his own recognizance.
Texans need only look at California and New York to understand why criminal justice reform just furthers crime. The reforms passed in those two states have been disastrous, resulting in a spike of the crime rate, particular in homicides.
California has reduced many former felonies to misdemeanors with the result that San Francisco has become the auto theft capital of the US. And law enforcement authorities insist that a significant statewide rise in crime is the result of the state’s criminal justice reforms.
If you ask a NYC resident how he feels about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s criminal justice reforms, you will get an earful, if not a mouthful of fist. In NY even violent criminals are now released without bail. Offenders have been rearrested the day after their release only to be released again until arrested again shortly afterward for yet another crime. In several cases the new crime was murder.
DAs have also instituted their own criminal justice reforms. Recently elected LA DA George Gascón ha eliminated the death penalty and life in prison without the possibility of parole for cop killers. Uber-liberal billionaire George Soreass (sic), who contributed $500,000 to Houston’s Kim Ogg for her first DA campaign, gave George Gascón $2,250,000 for his LA campaign
In San Francisco, DA Chesa Boudin’s idea of criminal justice reform is to go after police officers accused of wrongdoing. Boudin also promised to eliminate cash bail and not to prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc. As a result San Francisco has become a camping ground for the homeless, who fill the city’s streets and sidewalks with their feces.
If criminal justice reformers had their way, no nonviolent offender would be imprisoned. That is a very dangerous idea. Many years ago, a Houston narcotics officer parked his car across the street from a bar. He went inside the bar to arrest a drug dealer whom he had arrested a number of times before without any trouble. They had even gotten on a first name calling basis. This time as before, the officer did not handcuff or search the arrestee. As they started to cross the street, the nonviolent offender pulled out a gun and shot the HPD officer dead.
In another case years ago, a hot check passer went into a Houston grocery store and tried to pay for his purchases with a bad check. You cannot be any more nonviolent than by writing bad checks. When the cashier was alerted by Telecheck that he was passing a hot check, she started to call the police. That’s when this nonviolent criminal pulled out a gun and shot her dead. So today’s nonviolent criminal can be tomorrow’s violent criminal, even a murderer.
A few years ago the Texas legislature passed some criminal justice reforms that resulted in the closure of several prisons. Texas has been doing fine since and doesn’t need the reforms Scott Henson keeps advocating. Texans sure as hell do not want their state to enact the disastrous reforms of California and New York that just further crime.