While you were sleeping, our criminal justice system went off the rails.
Previously, cops arrested people suspected of wrongdoing. Then, depending on the crime, the suspects were either released on their own recognizance while awaiting trial, forced to pay bail so they wouldn’t skip their day in court, or held in confinement because that was considered the prudent thing to do.
In court, either the defendant’s attorney, or the public defender, if the accused couldn’t afford an attorney, would serve to protect their client’s presumption of innocence while the district attorney would prosecute the case. The judge/jury would serve as an impartial authority to ensure that justice was served.
This system is now in shambles.
Social justice warriors are seeking to defund federal and local law enforcement, while eliminating bail, jails and prisons altogether, claiming that our criminal justice system is racist and criminals are victims! Moreover, they are shielding violent convicted illegal aliens from deportation.
The justice warriors “divert” these criminals from jail to home confinement, public service, a mental health counseling regimen and wrap-around services, which include various forms of welfare checks on steroids.
Moreover, the SJ warriors are also electing activist district attorneys such as Los Angeles’ George Gascon, who is being both sued and recalled by his own deputy district attorneys. These activist D.A.’s are not only diverting criminals, they are refusing to prosecute serious crimes.
Couple all this with the fact that California lowered the status of violent felonies to misdemeanors and misdemeanors to infractions. That means that so few people are threatened with jail, tens of thousands “justice-involved individuals” no longer bother to show up for their court hearing — a phenomenon known as “failure to appear.”
I am surprised that our seriously woke activist public defender, Tracy Macuga, doesn’t wear a cape as she believes her real job is to rescue criminals from our justice system. That is, Ms. Macuga promotes a “holistic advocacy” that involves as much social work as it does applying the law.
Then you have CLUE-Santa Barbara, “Clergy and Laity United for Social Justice,” who along with our similarly woke county supervisors, namely Das Williams, Joan Hartman and Gregg Hart, are promising to defund Sheriff Bill Brown’s department and force District Attorney Joyce Dudley to reduce charges by hook for crook.
Please note, Sheriff Brown and Ms. Dudley are also elected officials, who have proven themselves amenable to diversion — but not at the expense of the law, common sense and public safety!
Memo to Mr. Williams, Mr. Hart and Ms. Hartman: The Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office are neither social service agencies nor mental health agencies, nor do they offer rehabilitation services. Accordingly, how dare you fiscally threaten our law enforcement and their sworn duty to public safety? All the while, the county spends upward of $500 million annually on departments that do serve the mentally ill, homeless, and the poor, etc.!
Really, the supes should appoint Ms. Macuga the deputy county administrator over these socially woke departments and call it a day! That is, Ms. Macuga is the tail that is wagging the dog. The burden is on Ms. Macuga to prove she can rehabilitate rather than force Sheriff Brown and Ms. Dudley to prove they are not being too tough on crime! Completely lost on Ms. Macuga and the woke supervisors as it pertains to our jail and prison population? As Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong men than to repair broken children.”
Insult to injury? It was the Board of Supervisors who relinquished a state award that would have used $40 million to build Sheriff Brown’s Treatment and Re-entry Complex, or STAR. The complex would have provided mental health and other treatment programs for inmates, just what the doctor/super-hero Tracy Macuga and the woke sups wish to order.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of “The Andy Caldwell Radio Show,” weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press Radio AM 1290.