Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No room at the jail? Arrest them anyway

Why would drug task forces keep arresting low-level offenders when they have nowhere to put them? Habit, I suppose, or perhaps one last stab at glory and media attention before they fade into the sunset - a way to "prove" the critics were wrong and they really were doing something beneficial.

Around the state drug task forces have been making a final series of busts winding up their long-term undercover operations before they lose funding next month.
In a recent exmple, the South Texas drug task force made 16 busts last week after a two-year long-term undercover operation. Cops actually took TV news reporters with them house to house to make the individual arrests. That amounts to pure showboating and media grandstanding, cynically using the misfortunes of defendants and their families as a cheap publicity stunt.

Most of the arrests on their face certainly didn't benefit public safety since the arrestees were immediately set free. There was simply no room in the county jail.
Reported KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi:
All the suspects arrested were first brought to the Kingsville Police Department to be checked out. Next, they were taken to the Kleberg County Jail. But after a while, the jail started turning them away saying they we were full. The sheriff later came by here to say 'next time you guys plan on arresting more than a dozen people, could you give me a little heads up first.'

"If you don't come and ask how many people we already have in jail, all you're going to do is add to the problem you have now, and you can only room so many," said Kleberg County Sheriff Edward Mata.

Officers weren't exactly happy with the explanation, but it didn't slow the round up at all as the suspects kept coming.
Well of course it wouldn't slow the roundup - after all, the media was already there and you wouldn't want to disappoint them.


Anonymous said...

Time to raise taxes and build more jails...

Anonymous said...

Also time to raise taxes to build more schools, and more roads, and to pay for healthcare, and to rebuild New Orleans, and to fight in Iraq and ... well ... why don't we just sign our paychecks over to the government and be done with it?

Anonymous said...

The South Texas Task Force has been self-funded for some time now. They therefore have no need for a "last hurrah".

"That amounts to pure showboating and media grandstanding..."
= Pots making remarks at kettles, etc.

Anonymous said...

Programs have inertia, just like people do.

The basic program of (superhero echo chamber voice) "Tough on drugs!" has always been predicated upon a "Lock 'em up and throw away the key!" premise. That premise itself was based upon the foolish notion that the economy would always have enough surplus to support such basically non-profitable enterprises.

Most of the supporting jobs generated by the War on (Some) Drugs are paid for by taxpayer's dollars and remains a net drain on the economy. (And the sales of materials generated through slave-wage prison labor undercuts the civilian economies of the areas surrounding the prisons, adding to the local misery of law-abiding workers struggling to compete with pennies-on-the-dollar prison labor.) We are now seeing nationally with this 'jobless recovery' just how wrongheaded the idea was. This just illustrates that point more forcefully.

But, just like a machine, the policy behind the DrugWar just keeps trundling along, regardless of the economic realities spelling its' eventual demise. Inertia, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

"Tough on drugs!" has always been predicated upon a "Lock 'em up and throw away the key!" premise.

"Always"? You started with fallacy early in this post.

That premise itself was based upon the foolish notion that the economy would always have enough surplus to support such basically non-profitable enterprises.

Attempting to prove fallacy with more fallacy just don't jive, amigo.

I do believe, however, that you make a good point about economic drain.

Still, that doesn't excuse our host's misinformation and "showboating".

Jim Leitzel said...

I've always wondered about the legality of the various vice operations (often involving prostitution, incidentally,) in which the media are brought along to ensure that the arrestees (who have been convicted of nothing) are punished via extraordinary publicity. If the police can fill in some elements of the media prior to the raid, who else is eligible for the advance information? Bloggers?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:05, I'd like to know what you believe in my statement is fallacious. Specifics, please; saying something is fallacious without specifying how it is doesn't make it a reality. 'Testilying' aside, it's concept that any supposed lawman would understand implicitly.

Consider the Will Foster case: a 93 year sentence for a nonviolent crime (growing pot for personal mewdical use) is illustrative of the very attitude behind the 'lock 'em up and throw away the key!' strategy of the DrugWar. In point of fact, the judge used words to that effect...

Given the publicly stated sentiments of such as Daryl "Casual drug users should be taken out and shot!" Gates, Bill "Drug dealers should be publicly beheaded!" Bennett and their ilk, it becomes obvious that the intent of the DrugWar is punishment, not reformation. Which is commensurate with my earlier statement.

I'm very interested in your anticipated refutation of my position; not very many LEOs have the strength of conviction necessary to defend the DrugWar, prefering to hide behind the power of a badge and sidearm rather than defend their positions logically. I'm looking forward to your rejoinder...

Anonymous said...

"I'd like to know what you believe in my statement is fallacious."

You make claims absent fact. If you can't back them, don't expect me to do your homework for you. Oh yeah, anecdote don't cut it.

Anonymous said...

To Kaptinemo:

Rejoinder! I doubt anonymous even knows what one is.

Anonymous doesn't understand an argument of premises, inference, assumptions, or presumption because he deals in facts that don't have them.

If that doesn't tell you anything, go to the diner he'll be at in the morning after making some right hand turns and left hand turn in his cruiser. There he'll get a big jelly doughnut, a cup of coffee and wait patiently so everyone sees him in his uniform of power.

That day, he'll probably get at least two domestic calls and have to lock up the husband who he's locked up every weekend that month. More right hand turns, more left hand turns and that night he'll read your post that undermined the importance of what he did that day and he's going to show you that he just "...wants the facts."

Even if you gave him facts without all of the other thoughtful analysis, something tells me he likes the jelly doughnuts better.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:11, I am all too well aware of the intellectual laziness of far too many of our public servants. Either Anonymous 10:05 is not schooled in the use of search engines (how many clues must I give? "Will Foster" "93 years" should have been sufficient) or as I said, s/he's just plain mentally lard-*ssed lazy.

Or perhaps there's a genuine fear on his/her part that in performing such a simple act, ideological contamination might result; I knew lots of hard-charging Cold Warriors who never read Marx, despite the fact they were all about fighting the countries that had adopted his ideas.

It was Sun T'zu who said that "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." But in 'knowing the enemy', you have to see his side of things, and sometimes in doing so, one sees one's own side as engaging in behavior that they shouldn't be...such as picking on medical marijuana patients such as Foster.

Such makes for painful realizations and moral self-examination; it's much more comfortable to wallow in ignorance than go out on a limb to get at the truth. Perhaps that is the reason for such reluctance.

Anonymous said...

Heheh, still just fallacy with a little disparagement added. Frustration can do that to those who think so highly of themselves. Yiipppeeee!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:05, You still haven't specified what is fallacious. (You do understand the meaning of the word?) If you can't defend your positions by pointing out where I am incorrect in mine, you don't have one.

But, I suppose, this is to be expected, considering...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and BTW, here's a Website that may be able to help you defend those positions. You might see where you've gone wrong in your logical presentations. Have fun :)

Anonymous said...