City Had to Stop Arresting Actual Criminals Because They Filled Up Jail with Non-violent Offenders

prison-370112_960_720By Justin Gardner

Greene County, MO – The epidemic of mass incarceration is coming back to bite authorities in one American city. Because the Greene County jail is completely full, Springfield (pop. 165,000) is unable to arrest more than 12,000 people accused of crimes such as traffic infractions and misdemeanor assaults.

Missouri’s third-largest city has lost almost half a million dollars in less than a year from unpaid fines and fees. These lost extortion fees are likely the biggest concern to city officials.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said offenders are thumbing their noses at police.

“They’re tearing tickets up in front of people,” Williams said. “Officers are frustrated because they can’t arrest anyone, judges are frustrated that they can’t see people, prosecutors are frustrated. It has just kind of spun out of control.”

Springfield’s citizens are taking advantage of the problem. One judge said that 82 people were supposed to appear in court under a docket of cases, but only eight bothered to show up.

There has been no significant difference in crime rate beyond normal fluctuation, and the city acknowledges that it can’t tell if the lack of arrests has any effect.

The situation is causing quite the kerfuffle between Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott and city officials. Last April, Arnott said he would not take any more municipal prisoners, even though the city says there was an agreement that the jail, which opened in 2001, would take them.

However, Arnott is taking federal inmates despite the full capacity. The county gets paid $61 per day for each federal inmate, while the city does not pay anything to the county for housing inmates.

It seems that the nature of the American for-profit prison-industrial complex is at the heart of this dispute. The sheriff is fine with taking prisoners when he makes a profit, but turns them away if there is no money involved. It’s not really about right and wrong, but about feeding the profits of the jail system.

The city of Springfield and Sheriff Arnott have filed lawsuits against each other. It has gotten so bad that Springfield Mayor Bob Stevens on Tuesday blamed the sheriff for an incident where a man with outstanding warrants hit a police officer and dragged him 150 yards.

While it is entertaining to see law enforcement authorities casting fallacies at each other, the issue in Springfield is a symptom of the malady of mass incarceration. Law enforcement is hungry to lock up people for victimless crimes such as traffic violations and “offenses” under the War on Drugs.

This demand for prisoners feeds a system where profits are reaped off the backs of mostly poor- to middle-class citizens, extorting money at every turn, from going to jail to getting out on bail to being monitored on probation. It creates an incentive for cops to intrude on the lives of more and more people, so they can justify an ever-expanding quest for more equipment and training to carry out more oppression.

Instead of fighting each other to make way for more prisoners, Springfield and every other city should consider that making people into criminals for victimless crimes is not the answer.

A simple and instant solution to end the over crowding of prisons is this — End the War on Drugs.

Even cops know ending the War on Drugs will not only fix the prison overpopulation problem, but it would dramatically reduce crime.

One of the leading groups of law enforcers working to end the drug war is LEAP, or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP lists some particularly startling facts on their website:

  • There is a drug arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S. Of the more than 1.6 million drug arrests in 2009, 82 percent were for possession alone. (1)
  • The U.S. government estimates that more than 118 million Americans above the age of 12 (47 percent of the population) admit to using illegal drugs. (2)
  • One out of every 100 American adults is behind bars in jail or prison, (3) and the U.S. houses nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners (4) despite having less than five percent of the world’s total population. (5)
  • In four years, more than 35,000 people have been killed in violence related to Mexico’s war against the cartels that control the illegal drug market. (6)
  • The Department of Justice says that the illegal drug market in the U.S. is dominated by 900,000 criminally active gang members affiliated with 20,000 street gangs in more than 2,500 cities, (7) and that Mexican drug cartels now directly control illegal drug markets in at least 230 American cities. (8)

One of the co-founding members of LEAP is former police Captain, Peter Christ. Christ travels around the country blowing the lid off of America’s corrupt and immoral war. His argument is based on facts and grounded in reality. The War on Drugs promotes violence, ruins lives, and costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year.

Below is quite possibly one of the most damning 15 minutes presented against the drug war. Please share this article to raise awareness to the horrid reality that is the War on Drugs.

Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

  • doodaa

    What do you expect when almost everyday things people do get blown out of proportion by overzealous cops and laws that will soon make breathing illegal? Ever heard of “ticket quotas”? They deny this, and rightfully so. That doesn’t exist. What the authorities won’t tell you is the police are held to “performance quotas”. I know, big difference, right? The every day cop’s raises depend on their “performance” which puts money in the city’s/county’s/state’s coffers. This is why your grandma gets stopped for doing 49 in a 45 plus a ticket because her insurance card is 7 days expired(and no previous accidents or infractions). Good money for the entities and a potential pay raise for the cop. Meanwhile, the county judge and businessman driving blind drunk and in a minor accident get an escort home. This is why people are pissed. I’m glad the majority has finally awakened. Don’t be surprised when they build a prison in your county for a private corporation. Maybe we can hold hands.

  • Ben William

    America, the great mismanagement.

  • berrybestfarm

    I got to sleep on the floor overnight in our deliberately overcrowded county jail. I was in for redressing a grievance in our district court. I was not taken before the available judge but our female associate also arrested was. She reports that two people arrested and brought in right before us for assault with weapons were cited and released “due to overcrowding”. Have to have room to make prisoners of the poor and political.

    • Brett

      Would love to hear your story, Berry…

      • berrybestfarm

        All are welcome to contact me at my screen name on yahoo.

  • Kingdom Ambassador

    This wouldn’t be occurring had the 18th-century founders (like their 17th-century Christian Colonial forbears) established government and society on Yahweh’s unchanging moral law.

    Under biblical government, prisons are superfluous. Convicted capital criminals are put to death expeditiously, per Ecclesiastes 8:11. Non-capital criminals are required to pay two to five times restitution (depending on the nature of their crime) to their VICTIMS, per Exodus 22:1, etc. If a thief is unable to pay the required restitution, he’s sold into indentured servitude until his restitution is paid, per Exodus 22:3. If he refuses to pay the required restitution, his contempt of court is a capital crime for which he’s to be put to death expeditiously, per Deuteronomy 17:9-13.

    Under such a juridical system, tax-paid-for prisons and all of their inherent problems are superfluous and crime is all but unheard of. Perfect, just like King David depicted it in Psalm 19:7-11.

    For more on how Yahweh’s moral law applies today, google free online book :Law and Kingdom: Their relevance Under the New Covenant.”

    • John Cook

      Or maybe Sharia law, that ‘works’ too and comes from the same ‘God’ too.

      • Kingdom Ambassador

        There you go again proving the inspiration and veracity of the Bible, particularly 1 Corinthians 2:12-14.

        • John Cook

          Oh that’s rich – 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 simply states that unbelievers will disagree with your bullshit. Not a difficult prediction to get right. Now I understand why you didn’t explain what it said when I asked you too.

      • God’s law, as administered through Christians in the early colonies, WAS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND for 167 prior to the CONstitutional CONvention.

        It is foolish to equate Sharia with the perfect statutes, judgments, commandments and laws of God.

        • John Cook

          Sorry Ethan but I’m sane and was not indoctrinated as a child so I don’t suffer from having an imaginary playmate in the sky and so I have zero reason to believe in your ‘god’ or his ‘perfect’ law.

          • Oh. You’re one of those.

            Well, there is forgiveness from sin, eternal life, and life abundant in Christ, for those who quit being there own god, and come to the Creator of heaven and earth for mercy through the Cross.

          • John Cook

            Yup, I’m ‘one of those” ie ‘I’m sane and was not indoctrinated as a child’ Sorry about that that but you missed your chance to do your traditional child abuse on me.

      • Bob

        James 3.15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

        Acts 13.10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of יהוה?

        II Corinthians 11.3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in the Messiah.

        • John Cook

          Go and fight over who’s ‘God’ is correct with another insane ‘believer’ like a Muslim. You both worship the same demon after all.

          • Bob

            You neither understand either said Faiths, why don’t you instead at least have a TAD bit of education before spouting nonsense from that idiot mouth of yours.

            Blessed is the man that trusteth in יהוה, and whose hope יהוה is.

          • John Cook

            Oh no, it looks like I’ve bothered a Tribe member (not many others would use a Hebrew word as if it was therefore necessarily ‘wise’).
            I cower before you oh mighty ‘Chosen One’. I shiver in my miserable goyish boots…

          • Bob

            I doubt you are Israel, and the fact is – you’ve neither the integrity nor drive to actually utilize the necessary tools needed to remove fiction from fact. I suggest you man up and only speak about things you have a certain knowledge of instead of believing fairy tales.

            The fear of יהוה is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

          • John Cook

            I didn’t claim to be ‘Israel’ (whatever that means) I said YOU were probably a Tribe member.
            And then we have a bible believer speaking of ‘certain knowledge of instead of believing fairy tales’ – that’s a good example of the ‘Opposites Principle’ Ie the exact opposite of what is true. You regard thousand year old brutal, ugly, crap ‘fairy tales’ about magical ‘gods’ as ‘Certain Knowledge’? How preposterous.
            The fact that you fear your ‘god’ is the greatest reason to know ‘he’ is just a minor demon if ‘he’ exists at all.
            It’s pathetic that grown, intelligent men accept this garbage – it can only happen by the child abuse you subject your children too. Indoctrination of a child should be seen as the crime that it is.

          • Bob

            You said Goyish – Same thing.

            Then Explain totally all aspects of Granite.

            A word from my God to you:

            Ecclesiastes 10.1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

    • Grundune

      So that’s what you mean by “Yahweh’s moral law”.

      Convicted capital criminals are put to death expeditiously, non-capital criminals are required to pay two to five times restitution, If a thief is unable to pay the required restitution, he’s sold into indentured servitude until his restitution is paid, if he refuses to pay the required restitution, his contempt of court is
      a capital crime for which he’s to be put to death expeditiously.

      While this would be great in a theocracy where a prophet of God rules. Do you really think that would work without a the prophet of God in charge?

      You mingle scripture with a strange gospel. You don’t preach the word of God, it is a strange gospel, indeed.

      • Russell Sayce

        This I agree with. Ted gives encouragement to the crusaders…

  • Gregory Alan of Johnson

    This article is the poster-child of why commerce should be eliminated from the equation of penalties for crimes. I’m in favor of getting back to a system of governance based on the Bible (Geneva). The Tora didn’t fail Israel. Israel failed the Tora and are still feeling the affects, as is this land since 1774, of 1Samuel 8.

  • drbhelthi

    A close look at the treasonous activity, “Fast and Furious” reveals which “government” controls the drug smuggling into Mexico and out of Mexico into the U.S..

    For details, search on the phrase, CIA Media Disinformation and US Proxy Wars: Fallouts of Iran-Contra’s “Lost Chapter”

  • Hortense

    Goodle “Cloward-Piven”. Protesters did that in the 1960s. Nothing new, but there’s a younger generation in charge of security now, they don’t remember that time.

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