Over the last year, I have seen more information come to light about our criminal justice system than I could have imagined in my worst nightmare. For sure, this is not the system that I even envisioned in my 24 years of military service where men have died to maintain the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’
The legacy that has passed to those that have the power has been subverted and corrupted beyond any form of recognition imaginable. Then again maybe the bar was set to high for them to maintain in my youth by the likes of Jack Webb in Dragnet.
My home for the last 20 plus years has been Alachua, Florida where the economic engines are The University of Florida, Santa Fe College, Medicine and government. There are the equivilent of two battalions of light infantry in pistol packing officers of the law in a community of some 80,000 students that represent the best and the brightest of Florida youth.
Alachua country has a higher incarceration ratio than the state of Florida. The state of Florida has a higher incarceration ratio than the USA. The USA has a higher incarceration ratio than any country on Gods green earth. How do we square that with a community where the economic engines are medicine, education and government?
The general characteristics of those going to prison are that they have a 6th grade education and a some sort of addiction problem. We know that there are not a whole lot of university and college students going to prison or even jail for that matter as the education level would be higher.
It gets better. The over all statistics are that 90 plus percent of the men, women and children that go to prison do so on a plea bargain.
Then the article is very clear that the average population of the county jail is somewhere between 900 and 1,100 inmates with the safe working load being 800 and something.
We do know that from a past article in the paper that the Sheriff’s evidence locker as less than desirable. Not only was it unsecure but it so stated that entry procedures for evidence was sloppy and that both law enforcement and prosecutors knew dates of evidence where filled in at the convenience of the lawyers and sometimes evidence was withheld from defense counsel.
Just using the above for openers, it would appear that if you had the money for a lawyer and bail bond then chances are that you would get a dropped case. If not then you would stay in jail till you got tired of it and copped a plea. This was because you came from a culture that prison was a rite of passage and with a 6th grade education you could not even do your own research in the jail law library.
However, there were some 6,000 plus men, women and children that were arrested and released without trial that are tained for life by an arrest record that will show up in any employer job search. In otherwords, they are tainted for life and will be discriminated against for jobs, rents, loans and etc.
This is not the home of the brave and land of the free but a police state in the making.