Democrat Policies Fuel Crime Wave

America is becoming a place where city dwellers are trapped in a terrordome of crime, low public health standards, and political corruption. Well, they voted for the mess. Let’s see how it ultimately works out for them. Liz Peek shares her thoughts on the matter.

Peek: Let us be clear: the heinous crime wave sweeping our country has nothing to do with COVID-19, as White House spokesperson Jen Psaki has suggested, but everything to do with progressive Democrats throttling law enforcement in our major cities. This. Must. Stop.

It must stop especially because policies to reduce what Democrats call “mass incarceration,” which have included no-cash bail and looser enforcement of misdemeanors like shoplifting, are largely promulgated on a lie.

The Left would have us believe that hundreds of thousands of people, disproportionately individuals of color, are unfairly locked up for nonviolent crimes. Further, activists argue that releasing such offenders poses no threat to the public.

Neither of these statements is true. First, while some people in state and federal prisons are there for crimes categorized as “nonviolent,” that is not necessarily because they were arrested for a nonviolent crime. It is often because they have pled down to a lesser offense. Some 94% of people in jail have not been tried by a jury but have agreed to a plea deal.

A criminal charged with armed robbery, for instance, could plead guilty to possession of a deadly weapon, seeking a lesser sentence. A drug dealer might plead down to possession of an illegal substance. One 2015 study reveals that in the smaller federal prison system, which in 2020 housed 226,000 people, over 99% of those sentenced for drugs were accused of trafficking, not just possession. That’s how the system works.

In any event, most people in jail are there for good reasons. Of the 1.3 million individuals incarcerated in the state prison system in 2020, more than half – 713,000 – were locked up for violent crimes, including 183,000 in for murder and 165,000 in for rape and sexual assault. Only 45,000 were in for drug possession.

As to the wisdom of releasing people accused of violent crimes, we know that recidivism is huge; nearly every day someone already charged with a violent crime, like the accused in the Waukesha killings, commits another monstrous misdeed. We have one of the highest recidivism rates in the world; 76.6% of prisoners are rearrested within five years.

It is undoubtedly the case that some people are in jail for the wrong reasons or are serving excessive sentences. It is also true that keeping people in jail because they cannot afford bail can be unfair; prosecutors and judges must do a better job of distinguishing between those who are a danger to society and those who are not.

The Waukesha driver, let out on $1,000 bail, had a history of violence, and had recently been arrested for running over the mother of his child. Someone’s head should roll for allowing him back on the streets.

Our entire criminal justice system is being turned on its head to protect what is almost certainly a small portion of individuals mistakenly accused or who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The drive to eliminate cash bail – even for some homicides – and to no longer arrest people for misdemeanors like urinating in public means our streets are dirtier and less safe.

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