Friday, October 22, 2004

Complainers about high taxes take note

Even as Dallas learns that sloppy or malicious police practices typify their local drug enforcement strategies, the Dallas Morning News reports that overenforcement of low-level drug and vice crimes have forced the county to re-open a mothballed detention facility at a cost of $300K per month.

Crackdowns on prostitution and homelessness have filled up the local jail, the paper reports, and will fill up the re-opened detention facility in a week. Those additional arrests add to an ongoing problem of a small army of defendants arrested for "low-grade" drug offenses, many of whom languish in jail needlessly at taxpayers expense.

Virtually everyone in the Dallas County jail will get out in the short to medium term, so the protection of the public aspect here is minimal, and anyway we're talking nearly exclusively about nonviolent offenses causing the overpopulation problem. If anyone can justify such policies with an argument based on the public good, I'd sure like to hear it. It looks to me like the public is paying through the nose to damage large numbers of lives via incarceration, then financing a growing police state to shield the public from the ever-increasing bad consequences of that policy.

Complainers about high taxes take note.

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