Our Flawed Criminal Justice System

Our Flawed Criminal Justice System

Is America’s criminal justice system broken? You decide.

It seems like hardly a day goes by without seeing footage of a brazen daylight robbery of a drug store, grocery store, eyeglass shop, or big-box retailer by criminals who have little fear of being caught much less prosecuted. In response, many retailers have taken drastic steps to reduce the rampant theft by putting once accessible items in locked display cases. Others have simply shut down stores because they are losing so much money from shoplifting. Of course, the drastic increase in retail thefts isn’t the only going up. Assaults and other violent crimes such as murder are rising as well.

After falling for more than two decades, homicides began to tick up again in 2015 following the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. By 2020, there were 21,570 annual murders in the United States, a 30% increase over 2019 according to the FBI and the largest percentage increase in more than a century. In 2021, 12 major U.S. cities saw their murder rate approach or break annual homicide records, with Chicago, Los Angeles Minneapolis, New York and Philadelphia reporting an increase in murders.

According to public polling by the Gallup organization, the American people are worried, with fear of crime and violence hitting their highest level since 2016. More than 53% of those polled said they worry a “great deal” about crime and 27% said they worry a “fair amount.” With the midterm elections less than six months away, even the Democrats are suddenly concerned about rising crime and have done an about-face on their party’s anti-police messaging. President Biden even used his State of the Union speech in March to call for more funding for police and his administration is now encouraging states to spend more money on law enforcement.

So, what’s the cause of this crime wave sweeping the nation?

In a nutshell, America’s criminal justice system has been sabotaged by “defund the police” activists, soft-on-crime lawmakers, district attorneys and judges. advocates and anti-police activists have made a concerted effort to eliminate cash bail, elect woke district attorneys who often refuse to prosecute criminals and pass “criminal justice reform” measures that often put criminals, even violent criminals, back on the streets following an arrest or after serving reduced sentences.

Following the 2020 summer riots, the Democrat-controlled Virginia legislature and governor enacted a criminal justice reform bill that’s putting violent criminals back on the streets with little or no bond. The new law eliminated all presumptions against granting bail, even in cases of murder or rape. The legislature also changed sentencing requirements making thousands of criminals eligible for early release. As a result, criminals are being put back on the streets much earlier than anticipated. As someone who served as a police officer for 25 years in Virginia, I can tell you these laws are making us less safe. In New York City, crime spiked 44% in the first three months of 2022, with police blaming repeat offenders for rising crime.  In Los Angeles, woke District Attorney George Gascon refused to recommend felony charges against the man who violently attacked Dave Chappelle during a performance because “the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct.” The man was armed with a knife hidden in a replica handgun. Gascon previously refused to prosecute a sex offender as an adult and let him serve his time (two years) in a juvenile facility despite being 26 when he was sentenced.

Gascon’s soft-on-crime policies are being replicated across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New York and many others. Like the new Virginia law, many of these policies came about after the riots of 2020 following the death of George Floyd. Progressive DAs and legislatures have adopted many of the same woke policies that either prohibit or discourage our men and women in blue from enforcing the law for many misdemeanor crimes. They erroneously believe that a dismissal for a misdemeanor will curtail more aggressive criminal activity in the future by these career criminals. Thus, it should come as no surprise that these cities are experiencing significant increases in crime.

Our criminal justice system is already weak on crime control and teetering on which way to fall in our new woke society without totally losing control. It’s fair to say our new progressive justice system no longer has a revolving door, the door is continually open. Arrested, you walk in, arraigned you walk out. It should be clear by now that the only way to reduce crime is with strong, well-funded law enforcement in conjunction with a will to prosecute criminals. Unfortunately, due to a steady drumbeat of defund the police rhetoric from lawmakers, media and activists, and an exodus of well-trained officers, crime has risen across the country. If we want to fix this, we need to start by refunding the police and rebuilding police departments that have been demonized, demoralized and degraded by professional activists. We need to hire those who are most qualified and not just to meet some arbitrary diversity, equity and inclusion quota. And importantly, we need to stop letting the “small-time” criminals out with little to no punishment because they are often responsible for more serious crimes. The truth is prosecution is prevention.

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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