CORONAVIRUS: Fewer suspects are booked into jail because of pandemic restrictions. Now there’s a call to further reduce the number.

(King County video: Presentation begins 55 minutes in)
“This is a tension between public health and public safety.” That’s what King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg told the County Council’s Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services Committee this morning. His presentation was related to a Department of Public Defense proposal to further restrict what kind of crimes can result in jail bookings. The proposal is rooted in pandemic-related concerns such as COVID-19 spread and staffing challenges at the jail, which has had booking restrictions since shortly after the pandemic began. Here’s the slide deck that Public Defense Director Anita Khandelwal presented to the committee today, also proposing that prosecutors cut back on filing charges:

The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says this new proposal would mean no jail bookings for suspects “including repeat felony offenders, sex offenders, and felony home burglary suspects, among others accused of serious felony crimes,” as listed in the Public Defense slide deck. A KCPAO spokesperson says, “We believe that thoughtful, individualized case reviews are better to balance public safety and public health, and we have been doing those.” At today’s meeting, the KCPAO criminal-division chief Dan Clark said, “The problem with the blanket prohibition on certain felony crimes is that it is not a nuanced approach … if you have somebody who steals a catalytic converter every day or somebody who breaks into a home every day and the police finally catch them, if there’s these restrictions in place they can’t book them anymore. The better system is the one we have now that actually takes the opportunity for those high-impact offenders to be in front of a judge and then the judge makes a call.” The KCPAO prosecutes felonies and a handful of misdemeanors. Public Defense represents many of the suspects, and its members said at today’s hearing that their clients are not just at risk of COVID, but are being kept in inhumane conditions because of jail-staffing challenges.

Since the County Council spotlighted this issue, we asked West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott via email where he stands. His reply:

Booking policy in the Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention within King County is an Executive Branch policy. The Council does not generally adopt or vote on the policies.

Through the pandemic, the County has intentionally decreased the number of people incarcerated from about 1900 to about 1350, and the January COVID spike is in deep decline already, with currently 61 incarcerated positive for COVID and 62 in quarantine, down from numbers approaching 200 and 250 respectively earlier this month.

Given the previous decrease in population and declining cases, I would not look favorably at a decision not to book further felonies at this point.

“Executive-branch policy” would ultimately be up to King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is quoted here as saying the county already has taken many steps to address concerns. Some councilmembers at today’s hearing said rather than change booking policy, they’d rather see steps taken to address some of the specific conditions cited as concerns.

90 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Fewer suspects are booked into jail because of pandemic restrictions. Now there's a call to further reduce the number."

  • Concerned February 1, 2022 (10:31 pm)

    Who is this public defense director and how did she get placed in this position? We need to know how to let her higher ups know that the citizens don’t want this.Our city is dealing with so much crime because of these repeat offenders that keep getting out! To not have sex offender or repeat felony offenders held in jail, is just ridiculous! Public safety in this city has been completely turned upside and it protects the criminal vs. the law abiding tax paying citizens.When all of the law abiding tax payers finally have had enough and move, no one will be left but the criminals and the pathetic city council!

    • WSB February 1, 2022 (11:30 pm)

      As noted toward the end, the County Executive holds the ultimate decisionmaking role on policy, so if you have an opinion to express, you could start there. Again, note this is NOT A CITY POLICY but rather a COUNTY policy – the COUNTY government is what runs the jail, Superior Court, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. – TR

    • words matter February 2, 2022 (6:59 am)

      Please don’t conflate non criminals and tax paying. Some non tax paying citizens are not criminals but rather victims of their circumstances and unable to pay their share of taxes. Not all who struggle financially, not all homeless folks, are criminals. And some who are in a fine position to pay their taxes, find ways not to, and that is criminal, though they may appear law abiding otherwise.

    • DC February 2, 2022 (8:33 am)

      A public defender’s job is literally to represent alleged criminals. They are not the decision makers. They ensure that those charged with crimes have a voice, that their constitutional rights are protected. You don’t have to agree with them to respect the importance of their job. Want your voice heard? Contact your elected officials.

  • Gatewood resident February 1, 2022 (11:20 pm)

    Well there goes the neighborhood

    • Sasquatch February 2, 2022 (6:55 am)

      Respectfully, that phrase originated from white families talking about when a black family moves on the block. Maybe it should be retired.

      • J February 2, 2022 (7:43 pm)

        Thanks for writing that. 

    • Rick February 2, 2022 (9:17 am)

      It’s already gone.

  • Tar N Feather February 2, 2022 (12:05 am)

    Well no surprise there, the region continues to shoot itself in the foot. How about stating that due to these trying times those who commit crime (albeit not stealing a loaf of sourdough) are prosecuted harder and not less. Seems like the State may be falling apart a little bit.  

  • Ron M February 2, 2022 (12:59 am)

    Schools, including UW, are doing in person classes now. Sports and entertainment events have still been going on in person as well. How is it reasonable to release offenders due to the pandemic but still have these other activities in person? This just doesn’t make any sense. 

    • Friend O'Dinghus February 2, 2022 (8:39 am)

      This    /\

      Getting back to ‘normal’ means we do all the things that we did when life was ‘normal’, including holding dangerous individuals in detention pending trial. If we can’t do it with our current facilities, then we better start breaking ground on more facilities then. Folks (including judges) at the state, county, and city level need to understand that our tourist industry will quickly dry up further unless these problems are solved within a matter of a months. The tax revenue generated by that tourism is a critical component of our local economy and must not be squandered. Tourism is also notoriously difficult to recover once (if) a place develops a reputation as unsafe, or unpleasant. It is time to secure our city, and our region’s rightful place as a great place to visit.

    • Brian February 2, 2022 (8:52 am)

      This is the same broken logic that leads people to say stuff like “there’s no difference between six feet of social distancing and three feet! The results are the same!”  The conclusion shouldn’t be that the first mitigation was adequate, the conclusion should be that neither of them are adequate. Schools should be remote and extra curricular sports shouldn’t be happening at all.  going to a concert or an indoor sporting event is 100% a bad idea right now.

      • Pessoa February 2, 2022 (11:19 am)

        Sounds like a super nifty plan, Brian:  “Let’s shut society, with the resultant incalculable damage,  in order to mitigate a very slight risk posed by Omicron.”  

        • Brian February 2, 2022 (1:59 pm)

          I have a young unvaccinated child with a couple health issues and if we had to take him to a hospital (you know the ones who just put out a full page newspaper ad pleading for help?) would prefer that he could actually be treated rather than put in line behind dozens of covid patients. But go ahead and keep spouting nonsense; it’s a good look. 

          • Pessoa February 2, 2022 (5:21 pm)

            I give you an argument that puts the well-being of the entire society ahead of those who want to shut down society – despite having the all means necessary to mitigate their individual coronavirus risk – and you?  You give me silly hyperbole centered around you and your child.  

      • m February 2, 2022 (11:30 am)

        King county achieved 70% vaccination rate back in October.  WS well over 80%.  Is this not reason enough to begin a return to normal?  

  • flimflam February 2, 2022 (4:38 am)

    not being facecious here – isn’t it already extremely diffeicult to actually end up in jail in King County these days, especially for anything “non violent”?

  • Sam February 2, 2022 (6:21 am)

    And in a totally unrelated story, crime is up!

  • Jennie February 2, 2022 (6:34 am)

    Perhaps West Seattle Resident and King County Exec , Dow Constantine, now in his 4th term, could hold a Town Hall to share his decision-making process and hear the community’s thoughts?

  • Rara February 2, 2022 (6:45 am)

    Geez, starting to feel we are living in a lawless town. Come to our town where you can get away with almost anything. 

    • Pessoa February 2, 2022 (4:20 pm)

      Try Los Angeles County and District Attorney George Gascon, who is now facing a second attempted recall for failing to charge violent criminals.  I was  just in LA and everyone is wondering if the psychopath who murdered Brianna Kupfer in cold blood – he was calmly making a purchase at a convenience store moments later – will be let back out on the streets.  

      • Rara February 3, 2022 (3:50 pm)

        Oh yeah, it’s bad there too. I have two family members who are officers there. 

  • UselessPoliticians February 2, 2022 (6:46 am)

    It’s remarkable stuff like this even gets to this point, any reasonable person (and maybe even Jort) could look at this and say it’s just not right.  You can look at the draft legislation here if you want to see a law that would prevent enforcing laws.

  • anonyme February 2, 2022 (6:53 am)

    From what we’ve seen happening in our courts, it’s not necessarily better (at least not for the public) to “…be in front of a judge and then the judge makes a call.”  If this city is so hell-bent on eliminating prosecution or jail time for crimes, then the only fair thing to do is to simultaneously lift any restrictions on vigilantism and just let victims decide punishment.  I’m being facetious, of course.  But criminals in Seattle have already been emboldened to commit blatant crimes with little fear of prosecution; do we really need to go any further down that road?

  • CarDriver February 2, 2022 (7:12 am)

    For those angry about this proposal (we all should be), I seriously doubt officials will pay attention to comments here on the blog. You need to contact county (and city and state) officials DIRECTLY. Venting here will give you a warm feeling but do NOTHING to actually fix anything. 

    • WSB February 2, 2022 (10:33 am)

      Directly commenting to decisionmakers IS always the most important thing to do. But commenting publicly is also of value.

      • Bobby February 2, 2022 (1:53 pm)

        I  called Dow’s office a few minutes ago and was told by his assistant that it’s in the council’s hands, and out of his control, which is a crock. Anyways, call! They actually pick up. 

  • Jeepney February 2, 2022 (7:29 am)

    Sheer lunacy.   What happened to accountability and consequences?

  • Pessoa February 2, 2022 (7:45 am)

    I am going to take issue with the Department of Public Defense on this one. Most evidence is pointing to the fact that we have entered the endemic phase of the coronavirus, with Omicron being a far less serious variant.  A year ago this might have been advisable but Omicron does not pose the same level of public health threat, vis a vis prison to community transmission.  Moreover, most studies cited are using old data collected early in the pandemic, from 2020.   For example:

  • What? February 2, 2022 (7:50 am)

    This must be a bad joke.  

  • Mj February 2, 2022 (8:09 am)

    Dear Public Defense Attorney, here is an idea don’t do the crime then you do not have to go to jail.  Do the crime go to JAIL!

  • Peter S. February 2, 2022 (8:15 am)

    Nobody in their right mind wants to catch COVID.  That’s completely understandable.  That seems like additional inventive, if any is needed, to stay out of jail.  As in, perhaps don’t do something that would land you there.  I know, too much rational thought to ask of around here.  SMH. 

  • Question Authority February 2, 2022 (8:23 am)

    Quite frustrating to work hard to afford belongings, vehicles or a home as a contributing member of society when all of it’s considered free and fair game to thieves not held accountable by the Law.  

  • Derek February 2, 2022 (8:26 am)

    Lots of people with “In this house we…” signs that are in a hurry to throw poor and mentally ill people into cages. I miss when we were an actual progressive city.  Jail does not work. Period. Hasn’t since dawn of time. Crime happens exponentially because things like prison don’t work. Need to fix wealth disparity.

    • flimflam February 2, 2022 (11:52 am)

      No, just people committing crimes. This new deal is not even a “get out of jail free” card, it’s no jail for repeat felons, etc.Poor people aren’t criminals, criminals are criminals.Jail isn’t simply to rehabilitate people, it’s also to keep dangerous or completely anti social criminals away from the general public. 

      • words matter February 2, 2022 (4:13 pm)

        ‘Criminals’ are ‘people’ who committ crimes. Some criminals are poor and their circumstances contribute to their making poor and desperate choices. How is society contributing to these complex people issues of crime and how can we impact change so fewer people comitt crimes? A sole focus on consequences is a more reactive vs proactive view. We might seek answers to, why do some people become criminals, and what can we do to help prevent this? We should want to prevent crime, and improve outcomes for people, wherever possible.

        • Pessoa February 2, 2022 (5:55 pm)

          With the exception of the psychopath, criminals can distinguish between right and wrong and so they make a choice either to cause suffering  and pain to someone else,  or not.  It is important to separate socio-economic factors that may steer some towards a life of crime from a conscious decision they make at that moment to commit a crime.  In the pursuit of social justice we run the risk of stripping them (criminals) of an essential human quality – free will.   

          • words matter February 8, 2022 (9:27 pm)

            I’m wondering what you’d think about something, Pessoa.

            One hypothetical scenario. Imagine for a moment, two men.

            The first man has been living outside for years, he has severe PTSD, the system has failed to help him, he deals with chronic discomfort, pain, rejection, isolation, and almost maddening hunger at times. Sometimes has difficulty finding access to a restroom, soils himself before he can find a business that will allow him access. Then doesn’t have easy access to clean his clothes. He doesn’t even have shoes at the moment, and it’s February. Oh he also is nearly blind.

            The second man, has a home, car, belly full of food, social network, has nice clean warm clothes, shops and dines out regularly and is aware of numerous nearby bathroom options because of this, where he has the capability to be a paying customer, and he has never been turned away from using a bathroom, so feels pretty confident, and is fairly healthy, with excellent vision.

            Would you hold both of these men to the same standards of free will to choose right or wrong, in regards to choosing to go to the bathroom outside, in an alleyway?

            Do you think right and wrong would be as simple, clear, or equally freely available, for each of them?

            Neither are psychopaths.

        • Roddy3 February 2, 2022 (10:05 pm)

          Those of you that say jail isn’t the answer, jail doesn’t work, etc, etc, always follow it up with “what can we do?” “how can we make this better?” You obviously don’t have the answer, and it’s obvious that the city/county doesn’t either. So stop asking the question for which there is no answer. You’re just banging on keys to make yourselves feel good.

    • Question Authority February 2, 2022 (12:45 pm)

      Will you still tout that belief after coming home to a ransacked home or stolen vehicle, or as you lay in the hospital from a random assault in public?  Your views about law and order don’t pass the reality test and negate the true feelings of crime victims who want and deserve justice.

    • wscommuter February 2, 2022 (6:08 pm)

      What is remarkable in many of these comments is the “either/or” positions.  The truth is that both have to happen.  Yes – fund services to help people get jobs, treatment (MH + SA), provide shelter, food, etc.  I’m good with being taxed more for those things.  But also yes – people who commit crimes must be arrested, prosecuted and punished.  Public safety is one of the most fundamental priorities of government.  Trying to prevent crime through providing intelligent assistance and support to get fewer people choosing crime as an alternative to functional living is prudent.  But so is apprehending and punishing those who choose – for whatever reason – to commit crime.  Yes – do drug court and mental health court and diversions and such for non-violent offenders.  But incarcerate violent offenders, repeat offenders, and so on.  These are not mutually exclusive policies or strategies.  

      • CAM February 2, 2022 (8:44 pm)

        Punishment doesn’t prevent future crime. Rehabilitation does prevent future crime. Both can happen inside a jail. But our system (and the angry mobs who pay for it and demand it feed them blood) only want one of those things. Until our system stops catering to the lowest common denominator and people who are uneducated and don’t know what they are arguing in support of and people have the courage to stand up for their convictions, nothing is going to change. But it allows plenty more time for people to yell about how much they believe other human beings aren’t humans so that satisfies them. 

        • Pessoa February 3, 2022 (10:14 am)

          You’re attacking an argument that no one is making, CAM.   I suspect everyone here believes that criminals (some) can be rehabilitated, that socio-economic conditions can steer some to crime, etc. etc.  What we can’t have out on the streets are those who can’t be rehabilitated, who are a danger to others.  There is never any justification for this.  And, we can’t reduce criminals to mere automatons, victims of their environment who can’t recognize and choose between right and wrong.  This is dehumanizing.  

          • K February 3, 2022 (12:03 pm)

            What I see CAM saying is that the angry mob is not the best at deciding who can and can’t be rehabilitated and that, as a group, we’re pretty quick to decide someone isn’t a victim and has chosen to be bad.  This is dehumanizing, and we need to empower those who are better at deciding who can be rehabilitated to make that call by supporting decisions that are made by persons who are in a better position to be making them than us.

    • Thomas A Wood February 4, 2022 (5:42 am)

      Where do you come up with this theory ?That criminal activity is because they’re poor or mentally ill.Please provide stats that law enforcement is targeting  the poor and mentally ill. 

  • noah February 2, 2022 (8:58 am)

    No jail bookings for sex offenders?

    • flimflam February 2, 2022 (11:53 am)

      Totally insane.

  • Rick February 2, 2022 (9:20 am)

    It’s all about the dollahs!

  • Bye February 2, 2022 (9:32 am)

    This is full blown insane. I have little kids who literally watched someone firing out their car the other afternoon here in west Seattle.  They unloaded their entire clip in the air.  Scared the hell out of them. That’s it.  We’re out.

  • skeeter February 2, 2022 (9:32 am)

    Seems to me we need more criminals in prison, not fewer.

  • Wseattleite February 2, 2022 (9:50 am)

    This is a good example of faulty logic in risk evaluation of an illness that causes very little death or hospitalization vs. the much higher chance of released repeat offenders committing more crime.  Crazy.

    • Brian February 2, 2022 (1:07 pm)

      Over 90,000 people died of Covid in the US alone last month. 

      • Pessoa February 2, 2022 (4:40 pm)

        I have not been able to corroborate this claim, Brian.  There are a number of sources that use the figure “90,000” but they are either speculating about about the possibility of deaths over a future 4 week period, or referring to cases, not deaths.  

    • CAM February 2, 2022 (8:46 pm)

      Inmates in the jail are at statistically much higher risk of dying from COVID than the general population. 

      • Bye February 2, 2022 (10:05 pm)

        Not true at all.  Not if they’re vaccinated they’re not. 

  • TJ February 2, 2022 (9:51 am)

    Omicron is fading fast, so this shouldn’t even be in consideration. But this is part of the bigger push to not put people in jail that was a thing before Covid, so even if this went into effect somehow these people wouldn’t want to rescind when Covid is recognized as a endemic (now). Somehow criminals lives are more important than victims here. News flash to ultra progressives; jail isn’t about rehabilitation. It’s also about legal revenge for the victims. I had my car stolen when I was 23, and while they weren’t caught, I would be beyond upset if they weren’t thrown in jail. Personal vendettas and “a eye for a eye” were common in frontier America, and the formal court and penal system were born to stop it. We look to be going backwards again here 

    • West Seattle Neighbor February 2, 2022 (10:27 am)

      It’s the baseline medical services that jails need to provide, it’s killing their bottom line, they can’t afford to take care of criminals anymore. 

  • 98126res February 2, 2022 (10:16 am)

    God help us all, that leaders work for the common good and God lights the path for those who need good in their life.

  • Long time WS resident February 2, 2022 (10:20 am)

    Well. This is a big ‘no’ from me. I was trying to get to an appointment and meet a friend for lunch last Saturday and was attacked on the C line, just outside the junction, by a person who tried to punch me, screamed incoherently into my face and intentionally spit into my eye. Fortunately I tested negative. I filed a report with Metro and spoke with an officer last night. Unless I file an assault charge, involving investigators who have to successfully locate the perhaps mentally ill and perhaps unhoused person, then forward the case to the courts there is nothing they can do. In fact, he was pretty straight forward in his warnings about safety on public transit at this time. This is not okay.

    • words matter February 2, 2022 (1:42 pm)

      Yikes, sounds scary. Do you have a sense of what happened in the moments leading up to this? What set this person off into their behavior? It really isn’t okay that people are experiencing such awful things.

      Wish everyone could try to make life easier and safer for one another.

      • Long time WS Resident February 2, 2022 (6:53 pm)

        It was a pretty packed bus. I politely asked her and another person to my right to put on the masks they were holding in their hands. It was the front of the bus, and she kept turning to face me (for no reason). My family has been testing positive (not locally) and several members have been very ill. Relatively recently there were some reports here of a woman overturning garbage cans and causing damage at smaller retail stores. Afterwards I wondered if it was the same person due to build, hair color and irrational behavior. I was very lucky that the passengers behind me stood up or I think I would have been further assaulted.

        • words matter February 3, 2022 (6:57 pm)

          I’m sorry this happened to you, and glad you’re okay. That would be so stressful!

          How did this person appear to you? Did they appear possibly housing challenged, or perhaps high?

          I understand expecting others to wear masks and feeling it’s the right thing to ask them to do so.

          Some thoughts for people to keep in mind while navigating these bus moments…

          Some unhoused people do not have the same access to news and information, do not have the same day to day reality as we do in some ways. Might not even know what day of the week it is, if it’s a holiday, what the weather forecast is, etc. These folks also regularly experience negativity, judgement, criticism, and even hositility from the general public, and can react defensively and aggressively self protective when confronted.

          Someone high on drugs, is likely not going to respond rationally.

          And someone deliberately not wearing a mask, might simply have a different perspective than you about the pandemic and masks, science based or not, it’s the reality of these times. So asking them to wear one, is unfortunately a gamble!

          Considering these things doesn’t excuse the behavior, but the more understanding and awareness we all have, the better we can choose how we handle our interactions, and hopefully help avoid unwanted conflict and escalations.

          I have been in a similar situation on a bus, someone not wearing a mask, looking around almost aggressively, openly drinking. I recognized the situation was making me uncomfortable, and I opted to get off at the next stop, this felt like the best choice for me.

          Thanks for sharing what happened to you, and some of the factors, take care!

    • Auntie February 3, 2022 (10:35 am)

      The mask mandate needs to be enforced on the buses. If a driver sees an unmasked rider, he needs to contact Metro police and have that rider removed at the next stop rather than confronting the offender or having another passenger have to confront the offender. 

  • JJ February 2, 2022 (10:28 am)

    How can schools and restaurants be open and this even be a consideration? Just hire some correctional staff already, or lower your standards of care in the jails, like the hospitals have.

    • Brian February 2, 2022 (1:09 pm)

      You’ve nailed it, honestly. Schools and restaurants should not be open either.

      • Canton February 2, 2022 (8:07 pm)

        Brian, Understand your situation and concern. My young child is unvaxed, and will not be. We had a school alert that my kid had a close contact. We both quarantined and tested negative and went back to usual. Had two instances of a classmate testing positive, tested, went back to usual. Would i want to shut everything down for my kid, sure. Then reality kicks in.  At some point you have to mitigate what is best for your situation. We cannot expect ALL of society to halt for the few. Alot of kids have had little social interaction in the last two years and that has been a tragic result to alot of young minds. You do what’s best for yours, but society needs to open back up.

  • kJ February 2, 2022 (11:18 am)

    Executive Office general contacts

    Mailing address: King County Chinook Building401 5th Ave. Suite 800 Seattle, WA 98104E-mail: kcexec@kingcounty.govMain phone: 206-263-9600Fax: 206-296-0194TTY Relay: 711

  • MG February 2, 2022 (12:14 pm)

    Jails are there for a reason…….end of discussion!

    • M February 2, 2022 (4:04 pm)


      • shotinthefoot February 3, 2022 (8:35 am)

        ding ding ding! M has the 100% correct answer. 

    • rocket February 5, 2022 (6:31 am)

      They are there for a reason: To have a cheap labor force and to fracture the communities that tried to organize for a better world.Read “The New Jim Crow”.  Or just pontificate pointlessly about things you dont understand based on a fear reflex.  

  • CarDriver February 2, 2022 (12:36 pm)

    Derek has the answer!! Take money from the “rich” and give to the criminals and they’ll STOP committing crimes!! Who knew it was so simple?

    • Derek February 2, 2022 (2:08 pm)

      Are you always this hysterically disingenuous? It’s important to fix income disparity because you will just be building prisons and paying for them to exist just to house all these poor people you hate so much. Real Rent is due soon. That means bigwigs like Bezos and the like will be paying the piper. Along with all the directors making obscene amounts of money. 

      • Pessoa February 3, 2022 (1:50 pm)

        Derek:  Not a fan of Amazon, either.   It is remarkable how this monster seems to escape scrutiny when other tech companies face at least some oversight.  Maybe because there is little separation between the government and Amazon.  After all,  the DHS and the Pentagon have migrated their biometric ID systems to the AWS cloud.  Ever obliging, that Amazon. 

    • Bus February 2, 2022 (2:27 pm)

      I know you’re being facetious, but there are literally studies saying that actually works.

  • Tar N Feather February 2, 2022 (1:03 pm)

    Gonna drop this here if I’m able :

    Looks like once a city realizes the citizens who pay more than their fair share are fed up and are leaving, the city starts cozying up to them.

    • Derek February 2, 2022 (2:27 pm)

      Until you see the costs of the jails, then you’ll prefer just letting people live in a car or tent if they choose and leaving people alone. 

  • Mj February 2, 2022 (4:23 pm)

    Derek – criminal activity in the US costs $2.6 trillion a year.  Locking up the repeat offenders is needed and could possibly reduce social costs associated with bad behavior.  

    And switching subjects the City has significantly raised the minimum wage, thus providing a legal avenue for people to work to pay for living expenses.  It’s time to get tough on the repeat offenders!

    • CAM February 2, 2022 (8:56 pm)

      It’s interesting that you quote that dollar figure. Studies have repeatedly shown that a system focused on rehabilitation vs vengeance would actually be more effective on future crime prevention and crime rate reduction and more cost efficient. It would cost more in the immediate future to convert the system and would have immediate blowbacks in people experiencing increased anxiety and fear that they would be the victim of a crime because less people would be traditionally incarcerated, but given 10 to 20 years (you know, for your grandkids the people you supposedly care about and work hard for) the system would work better than our current one and would consume less public funds, leaving more for other government programs. It will require people to handle some increased distress for a period of time while it gets going but that would likely decrease gradually. It isn’t as hard as people make it out. It’s only hard because politicians are scared of the people in this comment section or others like them who have no idea what they are raging about other than that they want to rage. That’s not how you make things better. That’s just more of the same. 

    • Admiral Resident February 2, 2022 (9:15 pm)

      The leading form of property crime in the United States is wage theft, which makes up more than 70% of the money lost to various forms of theft (larceny, burglary, auto theft, and robbery making up the remaining ~28%, with the last category accounting for an absolute pittance in comparison), and goes largely uninvestigated and unprosecuted.  Perhaps if people weren’t being illegally underpaid, they would be less driven to desperate actions that result in the kinds of crimes that everyone in these comments is having a fit about.  It’s probably a great place to start, since it makes up the majority of property crime being committed in the country!  Hopefully you agree, as someone making a monetary argument against theft.

      • Julian February 3, 2022 (8:39 am)

        I don’t understand why people love to take clear cut hard evidence that someone is to blame for something and spin it out into some unproven ambiguous claim that it is somehow an entire other group of peoples fault that were not involved in said crime period.

  • CarDriver February 2, 2022 (4:30 pm)

    Derek. You’re absolutely right!!! I DO hate the burglars, car thieves, rapists, murderers, shooters. Why is it important to call them all “poor people?” I’ve yet to hear why not having jails/prisons will make us safer and end crime. I Do agree with you EVERYBODY should pay their fair share in taxes. Reality is people have been able to “work the system” since the beginning of this country. There’s been no real effort to fix as most everyone that gets lucky and comes into money is REAL happy to not pay “their fair share” and keep it in their pocket. Oh. in case you’re wondering I’m not wealthy. Just a union worker that was taught right from wrong.

    • wm February 2, 2022 (9:41 pm)

      And the Lord said something like…

      Hate and destroy thy poor neighbor who goes without food and shelter and doesn’t pay his share of taxes, and you will be righteous

      Or, maybe it was ‘love thy neighbor?’

      • Julian February 3, 2022 (8:42 am)

        Love thy neighbor has nothing to do with subsidizing other peoples lives at the cost of others and holding them to different standards based purely on their criminal behavior.

        • wm February 3, 2022 (9:49 pm)

          I’m pretty sure the sentiment was simply, ‘love thy neighbor,’


          ‘love thy neighbor unless you feel personally inconvenienced by their suffering and difficulty.’

          Money is a construct, money is unfairly accessed and distributed, money is not what’s most important in life, and its not a reason to committ crimes on people with less of it.

      • Pessoa February 3, 2022 (9:30 am)

        WM:  There is no end to those who quote idealistic concepts from a religious book to justify unrealistic policies in the real world.  

        • wm February 3, 2022 (9:56 pm)

          And there is no end to attitudes of

  • sgs February 2, 2022 (9:42 pm)

    I wish the people presenting the stories here about jail conditions and COVID, promoting safety for those inside, would address the resulting impact to the general public as people are fast realizing that no one will hold them accountable for pretty serious crimes where the general public is no longer safe.   Dan Satterberg mentioned the conflict between public health and public safety, but the presentations were completely one sided.  It’s worrisome that these public representatives get so enamored by their cool ideas they can’t see multiple impacts.   From mass shooting violence to not paying the light rail fare after a game – the values of right and wrong have been defined out of existence even for the most basic issues.   Oh, and on that idea someone mentioned that paying criminals to not commit crimes actually works – maybe it does, but it only addresses the symptom and not the cause.  It also does not build community character.  The kind of world where people are encouraged to do good when they are monetarily compensated sounds like a grand dystopia.  Now to write to Dow and the others involved in this decision.  I hope they make a good one. 

  • CarDriver February 3, 2022 (6:58 am)

    WM. I take it if you’re the victim of a serious crime you’ll refuse to press charges and demand they NOT be held accountable because the lord demands we love and excuse-not hold people accountable for their actions.

    • wm February 3, 2022 (7:47 pm)

      ‘I take it if you’re the victim of a serious crime’…

      Why would you leap to this from my comment regarding ‘thy poor neighbor who goes without food and shelter and doesn’t pay his share of taxes?’

      Is it a serious crime on another person to be poor, to not have food and shelter, and to be unable to pay their taxes?

      I do believe it is possible to seek answers and solutions, to have concern for issues of crime, to have compassion for human struggles, and to not be supporting criminal behavior.

      Just because someone may have a different view towards solutions, rather than an angry, vengeful, view, doesn’t make them accepting of crime.

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