Georgia Says

The Brunswick News on the judicial system

The judicial system of this community and state must stop thinking about how it can save nickels, dimes and pennies and start focusing on how it can save the lives of countless innocent citizens who become the victims of career criminals, people who are in and out of jail all the time.

More often than not, decisions to release dangerous individuals from jail or allow them to plea down to offenses that call for light prison time are based on budgets and manpower more than anything else.

Even shoddy investigations, ones that frequently fail to result in a conviction, can be traced to cost-cutting by cities, counties and states. One could almost say, in fact, that bad economies favor bad people, though that should never be the case. Never.

There was a police chief in Charleston, S.C., Reuben Greenberg, who once told the media that if he could lock up the less than 1 percent of the population — the repeat criminals mostly, the lowlifes behind most of the stealing, shootings, stabbings, armed robberies and home invasions — then crime would drop by more than 90 percent. Of course, he knew that would never happen. The number of early releases and paroles would continue to balance out the number arrested and sent to or returned to prison.

Even a former Brunswick police chief expressed frustration at the efforts of law enforcement to fight crime in the face of a revolving door judicial system. Then Police Chief Jimmy Carter said the job of the guardians in blue often seemed hopeless, that his officers often found themselves arresting the same men and women over and over and over. It’s the same feeling of despair often voiced by police chiefs nationwide.

What can citizens do? Nothing if they’re satisfied with the status quo. Absolutely nothing. They can just keep their fingers crossed and continue to hope that they and their loved ones never cross the path of a violent criminal who’s back in the hunt for victims, courtesy the prison or parole system or some judge willing to gamble with the safety of others.

Those unwilling to trust their fate to doing nothing can start by asking politicians — the men and women elected to local and state government — what they propose to do to keep everyone safe. 

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