Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happenings: Stuff to read

Before getting back to a few extant TYC-related topics, I wanted to point Grits readers to several news and blog items I've seen this week:

More full county jails
Hays County south of Austin has a full jail, while the just-indicted Potter County's Sheriff (neighboring Amarillo) says he's not to blame for jail overcrowding. Some Howard County residents would rather live without a jail than pay to build a new one.

Interviewing Howard Witt
Shawn at the Dallas South blog has a terrific set of interviews with Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Witt (see the complete interview here), whose writing about Shaquanda Cotton and the Jena 6 put both cases on the national stage. Good job, Shawn.

Another reason why Texas prisons are full
Prosecutors seeking long, mandatory sentences for low-level, nonviolent crimes.

Professional snitch at center of "attempted capital murder" conspiracy
This case from Tyler sounds like a tangled web, and you have to wonder whether police didn't create more crime by leaving this guy out on the streets. The informant, an alleged former crack addict and thief, was arrested for burglary just one month after the investigation. He assisted police 'first to "work off' a drug charge and then for money." The drug dealer who allegedly conspired to murder the informant began a "life sentence in November 2006 for selling crack cocaine to the informant and has three pending delivery charges."

Dogfighters as victims?
Sometimes it's not just the dogs victimized in dog fighting. Reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Authorities have also been told about 'crews' of robbers with inside knowledge about high-stakes dogfights who follow the big winners to their homes, threaten them and make off with their winnings."

Will 'Plan Mexico' work as well as poppy eradication in Afhghanistan?

Asks The Mex Files. Readers may recall this Grits profile of Dyncorp, the company paid for drug eradication in Afghanistan and South America who would likely benefit from "Plan Mexico."


Anonymous said...

The habitual offender definition should include a factor that is proportional to the threat to public safety. Canadians use the term dangerous offender for person who have been convicted of multiple crimes against persons. That seems like a much better approach to me.

In my state a low level possession charge would be a maximum of five years and the weapons charge would from one to two years. A maximum of 7 years would seem harsh to many people and 30 years for someone who appears to be a minor threat to public safety sounds depraved.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Believe it or not, you see longer sentences pretty routinely. I think "depraved" is exactly the right word for it. Plus, it's expensive and taxpayers don't need to pay for some addict to sit around in prison for decades. It's just REALLY dumb, on many levels.