Monday, September 12, 2016

Prison population increases because..... criminals commit crimes.

Mississippi's prison population is increasing because, gasp, judges are actually doing their jobs.  The horror.  The Clarion-Ledger reported last week:

Judges are likely responsible for an unexpected increase of about 1,000 inmates in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections in the last year, says the head of the state’s public defender office.

Last week, MDOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher mentioned the increase of inmates. He didn’t have a concrete reason for the jump....

 The significance of the increase is that the state's prison population has been predicted to continue to decrease as part of prison reform legislation with the goal of saving the state $266 million in prison costs over the next 10 years....

 With the implementation of HB 585, the number of violators returning to prison has declined as sanctions and other measures have been implemented.

However, since the latter portion of 2015, the number of revocations as well as the percent of revocations in comparison to overall admissions have begun to increase. This increase may be attributable in part to the fact that there are more offenders on parole and probation, according to the task force.

"We are seeing an increase in all admissions and a decrease in releases," said de Gruy. "It is clear that the driver in admissions is an increase in revocations to prison. Historically, parole has been the driver in releases."

July 2013: 22,626
July 2014: 20,724
Sept. 2015: 18,267
Aug. 2016: 19,436

 Kingfish note: Judges are revoking sentences and sending convicts back to prison.  Deal with it.  Criminals are convicted and given suspended sentences.  The suspended sentence can be a wonderful tool in fighting crime if used properly.  The convict is given a second chance.  If he lives a clean life, he stays free.  However, if he is arrested again, he can be sent to a technical violation center for 90 days on a misdemeanor or go to prison for the term of his suspended sentence if he is arrested for a felony.  However, the incentive only works if the convict has a reasonable fear of serving his suspended sentence if he is arrested again.

The prison population increase is thus probably due to felons committing more felonies.  Law enforcement officials in the Jackson area have repeatedly said their biggest and most common criminal is the repeat offender.  The posts of this website are flooded with cases of criminals who were given suspended sentences and went on to commit more crimes.  The criminals have all too often gotten more violent as they see the suspended sentence not as an incentive to live clean but instead as a chance to commit more crime.

HB #585 created this problem.  A fiend breaks into your home and cleans it out.  The case sits around for a couple of years in the courthouse.  A prosecutor and public defender work out a deal.  The burglary is knocked down to receiving stolen property.  The perp gets a five-year sentence but four years or more are suspended. However, he only has to serve 25% of his sentence before he is free again so he is back on the street within a few months.  He then commits more crimes and graduates up the ladder from house burglary to armed robbery or carjacking.  If he has got real talent, he will be an impact player and commit some murder.  Meanwhile, the ACLU pretty boy who whines about the criminal justice system in the pages of the newspaper ignores catch & release or this repeat offender problem.  They are inconvenient facts for his ilk. He probably doesn't even see this problem as a problem.

JJ has called out judges or pressured the criminal justice system to revoke the freedom of convicted felons and impose their suspended sentences when they are arrested for committing more felonies and makes no apologies for doing so.

If the prison population increases, then that is the problem of the bean counters.  Mississippi families have a right to be protected from career criminals despite the howls of our politicians.  . 


Anonymous said...

Life sentences without a homicide are an injustice in Mississippi. I think someone should take a look.

Anonymous said...

1) Decriminalize minor drug crimes.

We have people going to jail for years at a time because of marijuana possession. They then get out without any chance at the few economic opportunities that do exist in this State.

2) Define a difficult path forward to get certain felonies removed from your record.

Marking someone for life as a felon can be a huge waste of human capital and further cement someone's position as a "taker" to the system.

Anonymous said...

People seem to worry more about the criminal than the victim. Prisoners are given health care and a place to live, when many times, their victims have neither. Prisoners can get out of jail with good behavior but the victims remain the victim. Prisoners have a set time to pay for their crimes. Many times the victims have to suffer for the rest of their lives.

We need law enforcement that cares more about the victim instead of the criminal.

Anonymous said...

Violent crime needs to be dealt with swiftly. If someone wants to get strung out on drugs, fine. I'm not paying for them to go sit around with other druggies for a few months of free rent and then sent back out there. Violent crime and burgluaries should be our sole concern right now.

Anonymous said...

Have instances of crime actually increased in MS during this time frame? I have not seen any hard numbers on this, only anecdotal evidence. If crime is indeed going up then it should be no surprise that admissions are going up as well. Not sure why this is a story, UNLESS crime is not going up. Then that poses a question that should be answered.

Anonymous said...

Who is running Mississippi's ACLU? You would think a group dedicated to "civil liberties" would support the religious freedom law instead of complaining about it.

PittPanther said...

I have no problem with criminals being locked up. My only concern is that no one in criminal justice should have a profit motive as their driver. People who make more money given more prisoners, will always ensure we have prisoners. And will actively fight against things that reduce criminal activity, like education and well paying jobs.

Anonymous said...

This conversation was had elsewhere. Posting some good thoughts on it:

Ultimately at the root of this entire conversation is the definition of what you consider to be Justice and the philosophy of punishment.

To me, Justice is true rehabilitation.

Obviously there are some individuals beyond reform. But true Good is done when a punishment is effectively used to reform an individual's nature and approach to similar situations in the future.

It is not enough to punish an individual for the sake of punishment in order to satisfy populace. A better society is built when our punishments, when possible, reform individuals.

There are three basic rationales - deterrence, rehabilitation, and incarceration.

Deterrence means an individual who is punished has a deterrent effect on him and others who might do the same thing.

Rehabilitation obviously means the individual punished becomes rehabilitated such that he's less likely to do it again.

Incarceration means that by separating the individual from society, he won't have the opportunity to do it again (this one doesn't really apply here, but think prisons).

Is your definition of Justice like the Scarlet Letter, and you are satisfied with branding criminals like for the rest of their lives? There are benefits/negatives to all approaches.

An ideal justice system is one that tries to simultaneously maximize deterrence and rehabilitation using, among many things, effective incarceration.

This is clearly not the case in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1:11, take your well-thought out positions elsewhere, they aint welcome here.

Anonymous said...

11:14 the laws against drugs or any other crimes are no secret. Dont want a conviction.. do do the crime. You see how that works? Pretty simple. Then you keep your economic opportunities open. Glad I could help.

Anonymous said...

1:11 has some good points. I have no problem locking them up if they violate parole or don't comply with intervention programs. We have to realize that if we have an increase in the prison population we are probably going to have to increase the budget of the Dept. of Corrections.

Anonymous said...

1:11, you are missing something in your analysis. Society/the law has no control over rehabilitation because the individual has to make the ultimate decision on whether they will change their behavior. And I mean that beyond the few you eluded to who are beyond reform. There many who are fully capable of reform but choose otherwise.

Anonymous said...

11:14 - great points. I'll also add that sending non violent drug offenders to prison just teaches them how to become a real violent criminal. Even if just to survive the experience. It's not good for anyone when that happens.

Anonymous said...

3:31.."...don't do the crime." My bad on the typo

Anonymous said...

Department of Corrections. Key word "Corrections". I don't see much corrections going on when the people running the Department are guilty of white collar crimes and the cronies benefiting are too. It has gone on long enough.

Anonymous said...

11:14, and 1:11 here

Good points all around. This was one of those rare JJ discussion threads where we all seem to have a general agreement on concepts.

Where does this break down on the policy side of things and why is there not some type of tangible, political momentum to fix this? From everything I have read there seems to be bi-partisan support to reform our Justice system.

When you get in the weeds, do the partisan differences appear and is that why there is no political will to do this?

Anonymous said...

Legalize it. The war on drugs has failed. We have honest, productive, hard working individuals who can't land a job because they smoke a plant God put on the earth. The war on drugs does nothing but feed the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. It's past time Mississippi got with the times. Legalize marijuana.

Victor Fleitas said...

The conclusion that the uptick necessarily reflects an increase in crime may not be correct. There could be an increase in revocations for "technical violations" involving the terms of parole or PRS. A large increase in workload for field officers might motivate an increase in revocations for things that might not have resulted in revocation before. Just saying there could be any number of factors contributing to this increase other than an increase in crime.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at the hand wringing moralizing comments above. I was according to my mother a miscreant that needed "rehabilitation". She provided that opportunity in the form of a good switch she invited me to cut. Now I was a little devious and one time I put my baseball sliding pads on thinking she wouldn't notice. She got a good chuckle and then wore my ass out! Why would this horrible woman do this? Because I was well known to aggravate my younger sister and my mother to the point of insanity. The fact I had any meat left on my butt at all is a testament to her restraint. So my point? A little more "physical discipline" of boys might result in less INCARCERATION as adults. I was never arrested...yet LOL. And I am 57. Praise the Lord.

One of the Deplorables.

Anonymous said...

Punishment is not severe enough, swift enough, is not certain and bears no public humiliation.

Anonymous said...

God save us from all the pet issues harpies invading JJ.

Anonymous said...

@4:35, the problem is that a JJ comment section is not representative of the Mississippi population as a whole. For better or worse, our legislature does a pretty good job at representing the views of average Mississippians. And for most folks who vote, the only reform they are interested in is locking more people up longer. While these reforms pioneered by states like Texas make sense, there aren't any leaders in our legislature standing up to make the case and fight for these conservative reforms.

Anonymous said...

9:59 are you really one of them and proud? ?????

someoneinnorthms said...

Just build a fence around Mississippi and forcibly relocate the "good" people. I think that's the only way to make some people happy.

How much of the population, as a percentage, ought to be incarcerated? If you think less than 50% then you are a librul, ACLU-lovin' commie.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi prison reform law concerns

"We're having to re-handle offenders time, and time and time again as they re-offend victims in our community," says Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie. He says this problem has increased since House Bill 585 took effect.

According to the sheriff, during a recent random week he surveyed bookings for inmates. During that seven day period 24 people charged with felony offenses were booked into the jail in Lauderdale County, and of those 19 had previously been locked up behind bars there.

Anonymous said...

An increase in prison population is not a good thing. Especially if you are a so called "fiscal conservative"

Because that means you have to house, feed, and provide medical care for that offender, for whatever length of time.

Its also an indicator of quality of life for your respective state. With poverty comes crime.

High unemployment, no job opportunities, add in distance to those job opportunities, these things are never considered and often ignored by legislators.

Anonymous said...

Get 200 acres in Yazoo County... double razor wire the perimeter-dogs within. Give em Korean era tents elevated off the ground... give em a mess hall. Don't mis-treat em.

We've lost our mind with prison building. We've always expected our soldiers to rough it.

Without mistreating folks, we can incarcerate for pennies on the dollar... ask Joe Arpaio.

Too Damned Many Liberals said...

One fellow repetitively makes comments such as 'Great discussion', 'nice points', 'you make a good argument', 'poignant interlude'. All he seems to leave out is 'hang the sons of bitches!'

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