Sunday, December 20, 2009

Did COAST Help Cause an Increase in Crime?

The point of this article from Enquirer's Jessica Brown is that the lack of jail beds is turning criminals back on the streets.

The article goes on to say there are two causes for the lack of jail beds, the closing of Queensgate Jail in 2008 and the defeat of the Jail Tax plan in 2007.

So, 20,000 arrestees were turned away because we don't have enough jail space. COAST and its other allies were the main campaigners fighting to defeat the Jail Tax effort. They reveled in that defeat.

During the election, many (mostly the conservatives) said the crime rates were increasing this year in the city. If that is true, part of it can be laid at the feet of the recession. More people are poor, crime goes up. That's a general fact of life that no one can prevent or deny.

If any increase in crime can be traced to 20,000 people not being on bail before their trial and being free, then COAST should get a big fat share of the blame and be ridiculed for its efforts to defeat the jail tax. The problem with that notion is validating those released from jail are committing more crimes. The article uses as a source Sheriff Simon Leis, who is not shy of point out problems with solutions that would get more funding for his department.

The bias of the Sheriff aside, there is a lesson to learn. The anti-government stances put forth by COAST, like the 2007 anti-jail tax campaign, are examples of how bad ideas that are born out of shortsighted extremism come back to bite everyone in the ass. People are far to ignorant and groups like COAST prey upon that ignorance. Their strategy is to make complicated issues into yes/no questions. That is how charlatans work. They try to convince people the issues are simple, but they know that's a lie, but when your goal is destruction, lying is no vice.

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