Preliminary jail study sheds light on incarceration problem

Published 6:11 am Thursday, July 19, 2018

Dear Editor,

Has the light been turned on my fellow Boyle/Mercer citizens? Even just the preliminary report from Brandstetter Carroll has sent Fourth and Main to scurrying.

To begin with, it’s important to know that actual bookings into the jail have trended downward over the 15 years studied. That’s fewer people being booked into jail — fewer. And violent crime has trended downward as well. Low and behold, however, incarceration rates have skyrocketed to over 200 percent of the national average. Kind of makes you want to say, hmmmm?

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Here’s where it gets sadly comical. Richard Bottoms, our commonwealth’s attorney, was heard to exclaim, “My caseload has gone up 40 percent.” Even common core math would say fewer people in should yield fewer cases to work with. Unless by thine own hand your caseload has grown.

And to hear Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Dean attempt to place blame on the heroin crisis, which she says started after she arrived in 2004. Again, bookings are down Ms. Dean, and you really need a history lesson on the heroin/opioid crisis in America.

Even in the early 1900s, the 60s through the 70s, cocaine, crack and all the derivatives of heroin. All the incarceration methods used to deal with this crisis have only made things worse You haven’t a shred of evidence to the contrary.

As we await the final draft of Brandstetter Carroll’s report, it’s important to note that accepting change is hard for some. But change is demanded. I believe the citizens of Boyle/Mercer counties require you to listen and act accordingly or get out the way.

Roger Hartner