Friday, February 17, 2012

AG pushing warrant roundup to replenish crime victim's fund

Brandi Grissom at the Texas Tribune has the story of "big cuts" by the Legislature at the Texas Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund, noting remarkably that in order to plug the budget gap, "the AG’s office is working with law enforcement agencies statewide to conduct warrant roundups to encourage people to pay their fines and penalties to avoid arrest and to increase revenue into the fund for crime victims."

It's not often you see the government so crassly referring to traffic enforcement initiatives as driven by budget concerns, but times are tight.

Notably, court fees and fines going down likely means fewer criminal convictions. That's positive news overall, despite a shortfall in this one fund (which sounds like it resulted from optimistic budgeting, something which I suspect will be a recurring theme). On the upside, fewer fees from convictions likely indicates lessening near-term incarceration pressure.

The Statesman recently reported the statewide "roundup" is scheduled for Feb. 25.


Lee said...

This Warrant Roundup has to be one of the STUPIDEST moves on behalf of the state.

First, let’s clarify something. Those who believe that this money that the state is hoping to raise from issuing warrants going to crime victims I would refer to you the commitment made by the state years ago that money raised from the driver responsibility surcharges would go to funding trauma centers and hospitals. The state has the poorest record of keeping to their promises and this is just another lie they are feeding the public to raise money.

Secondly, The state just wants more money to foolishly squander and will take any and all measures necessary to obtain that money. Anyone or anything obstructing their path to your wallet will be discarded as a disposable casualty.

The third reason this is so stupid is that the taxpayers will pay for this in the end. The taxpayers will have to oust more money than usual because most of these delinquents are broke and will likely just serve jail time. The state has apparently not gotten the idea that it is expensive to arrest and jail someone.

Fourth, Other European nations like France for example have a per capita incarceration rate of 77 prisoners of every 100,000population. In Great Britain it is 84/100,000 and Germany has a rate of 79/100,000. Russia rate of incarceration is 98/100,000 and China has 97/100,000. The land of the free incarcerates a per capita rate of 700 of every 100,000. The United States is about 5% of the world's population but has 25% of the world's prisoners. Are Americans that much more prone to mischief or character flaw?

Fifth, if this warrant roundup were being done in the interests of safety, public good and the taxpayer the police would be focusing on arresting those who present a real DANGER to society and not insignificant traffic or administrative misdemeanors. If the police were to lockup violent criminals, those supporting the Zeta cartel, those supporting the Taliban, the psyco sicko stalking serial killer, the neighborhood pedophile or the guy running out of a bank with money bag in one hand and gun in the other, that would be a real service to society.

And Sixth, Good business practice is NOT to throw good money after bad money but that is exactly what is warrant roundup is. They are using current resources to go after broke American's on collections saying that if you don't pay, you will be incarcerated like you are a danger to society.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.
Just when you think the state can't sink and lower in their quagmire of stupidity, be amazed.

Prison Doc said...

What he said.

A purely brainless exercise that will have no recognizable benefical effect...unless people start to realize how stupid it is.

Unfortunately cops love to arrest, probation loves to revoke, and prosecutors love to prosecute.

Phelps said...

Also, they only go pick up a handful of people on these roundups. The real purpose is to generate publicity and scare people into voluntarily paying the fines. It's all bluff.

sunray's wench said...

If the crime rate is going down, then there will be fewer victims, so the Victim Compensation Fund will need LESS money, not more, surely?

Anonymous said...

When the take from 'criminal' penalties drops the state will simply make more's a racket plain and simple...and we enable it.

The Homeless Cowboy said...

So just so I understand this....We (The Citizens of Texas) are the stupidest people on earth because we allow our law enforcement people to sell us this load of manure. I must agree. Locking people up pays well here in Texas. They will even lock each other up if they can figure out a way. I guess it would be too much like right to fire all the incumbent politicians and start over. Have we really given up to that extent? My voting slip will not reflect a give up attitude. I am voting to fire them all. You do what your conscience tells you to.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is that crime victim services and rights are symbolic and not meaningful. Texas has had constitutional rights for crime victims on the books since 1989, but no tax payer dollars fund victims' rights or services. The fund relies on fees and fines from offenders only. Texas pays around 7 billion on criminal justice system funding using tax dollars and about 150 million of non-taxpayer dollars to pay for victim services. It's time society step up now and takes responsibility for helping crime victims by supporting permanent funding for these programs. If we did so, these types of desperate acts wouldn't be necessary. In addition, victim services agencies wouldn't have to worry about 50% funding cuts or compete for funding with other victim services agencies year to year for funding, and they could fulfill the promises made to victims. Crime Victims First ( doesn't accept government grants for these reasons and others and we promote and protect victims' rights through education, advocacy, and enforcement with private donations and volunteers. I think some victim services agencies could also do more with less while others desperately need something to keep the doors open. National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 22-28, 2012. Step Up Now! Learn Your Rights and support crime victims' rights, services, and funding. Let's make crime victims' rights and services more meaningful and less symbolic. Let's also find creative, innovative, and more stable ways to help those crime victims that need it.

Anonymous said...

While we are on the topic.
Q. Anyone know the statute of limitations regarding parking tickets?

And what's the deal with you folks linking Sex related links to this Post? C-mon. You are taking advantage of Grits allowing us to link to 'his' Posts. At least link something related.

Anonymous said...

Crime isn't going down in my county or many others. What has happened is that County Attorneys around the state are not prosecuting cases so that means less fines to the states. Call any rural probation office in the state and they will tell you they are hurting due to the drop in probation cases.

I think Grits needs to write an article about this.