Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Study suggests shrugging off minor crimes

From Crains:

New York City could save tens of millions of dollars a year if it did not incarcerate thousands of defendants charged with minor crimes -- like hopping a turnstile, smoking marijuana in public or trespassing -- before their trials, according to a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

In 2008 alone, the city could have kept $42 million in its coffers, had it not locked up 16,649 non-felony defendants who were unable to post bail of $1,000 or less, according to the report. Among defendants arrested that year on misdemeanor charges with bail set at $1,000 or less, 87% were incarcerated because they could not afford the bail, the report said. The average stay in detention was 15.7 days.

City officials disagreed with the report's main findings, arguing most of the misdemeanor defendants held while awaiting trial are locked up because they have prior criminal offenses on their records. The report cites data from the New York City Department of Corrections, which shows that the city could save $161 per inmate per day if the jail population were reduced by 800 or more.


Anonymous said...

I know people who smoke cigarettes like chimneys, I know drunks who get violent, or fall down on the floor drinking hard liquor. I have seen many drunken brawls, I've never seen a stoned brawl. Marijuana is no worse than liquor or cigarettes.

My friend was once charged with open container of alcohol (it wasn't even his, it was his friend's, but my friend was sitting next to it when the cops walked by). I went into violations court. Every other person was open container of alcohol or marijuana possession. "Smoking marijuana in public" - its not always so flagrant, one guy was pulled over at a traffic stop, and a cop saw a nickel-bag of weed in the cup holder.

We also have cops with ticket quotas, forced to grab these people. Who is it that gains from all these charges against people for possession of minor amounts of marijuana?

It doesn't have to be feast or famine, but some of the Rockefeller drug laws regarding marijuana need to go.

Anonymous said...

Prison Industrial Complex, look into it.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day the law must be upheld, not ignored or trifled with.

So if jail is there to scare, prevent or put someone in there for crossing the line, that is what it's all about?

So if your a stupid *ss and walking around with an open container or you have your little $3 welfare baggy in the cup holder in open view, your inviting trouble or perhaps challenging the law - so your stupid, *sshole.

Anonymous said...

When you start letting people go on the little crimes,they move up........broken windows effect.The best times were during the "zero tolerance" PC Bratton days.If you were a skell,you were afraid to even spit on the sidewalk.If you were a regular citizen you were happy to go about your business and not worry about being hassled or a victim of crime.....