Advocates three-step program
To The Editor:
My last letter briefly described my philosophy of the justice system. Here is a condensed framework of how I will effectively carry out the actual job of town justice. All of my decisions will be focused on protection for our community with special regard to the taxpayers who pick up the tab.
First, prison will be reserved for dangerous people. There will be times that jail will also be used to temporarily dry someone out, or be a cooling off place. If a person physically takes their anger out on a spouse, child, or elderly person, they are going to jail.
For all others I will initiate a three-step solution. “House Arrest” will be the most useful alternative to incarceration, and also a tremendous cost saving measure. Almost anyone who is currently employed and has committed a victimless crime or misdemeanor will keep their job, continue to pay their bills and help us avoid a nightmare of social services and welfare taking over the care of their family.
House arrest will also be available to those who have drug and alcohol related infractions. This brings me to my second step, “Mandatory Counseling and Treatment.” I will make use of county resources, AA, NA, family and individual therapy, including anger management. Being educated as a clinical social worker, at least one a month I will oversee every person’s progress to ensure they are moving forward in their treatment process. I will also enlist motivational speakers form the community to attend and contribute to our monthly meetings.
The cost of treating an alcoholic at the county level is currently $17,000 a year. Keeping that person in jail cost approximately $70,000, not counting the welfare bill that in all probability will be needed to pay. In all likelihood, substance abuse left untreated will result in failure, the person getting out of prison starting where they left off before incarceration. Group therapy, such as AA, gives these people support and allows them an opportunity to get back in the mainstream.
“Community Service” is my third alterative to jail. Most poverty related crimes can be treated this way, or in a combination with the other plans. There are many people who cannot pay fines, end up with suspended licenses and owe lots of money, much more than they earn. These individuals can pay us back in such ways of helping elderly community members in need of assistance (I will personally reach out to them), help struggling local businesses, and permitting community governments and related services to temporarily employ them without charge.
Additionally, I will not send people to jail who do not have the money to post bail, unless of course, they have committed a hideous offense such as hitting their spouse. Far to often we waste thousands of dollars incarcerating people who are awaiting trial before we even know if they are guilty.
I pledge my unyielding belief in protecting us in every way possible, and be willing to spend the extra time overseeing a more effective, humane, and affordable solution to law enforcement.