The Parasitic Offender & the Tax-Payer's Burden
In the city where I live there exists a parasite of unimaginable destructive power to the average working man's (or woman's) wallet. This blight has, over the past decade, cost the taxpaying citizens of this city an unknown and undoubtedly offensively large sum of money, and here's how and why.
From 2003 to January 15, 2013, this individual, a homeless woman who is around 50 years old (give or take a half-dozen years), has been arrested and convicted over 180 times by municipal (city) police officers and in municipal (city) court, with over 100 of these arrests/convictions taking place since 2010. The actual count for the arrests and convictions must surely be much, much higher than what is reflected in the online court and arrest databases. Of the 180+ known arrests/convictions, here's the breakdown...
Public Intoxication - Over 100
Drinking in Public & Other Alcohol-Related Offenses - 9
Trespassing - 25
Disorderly Conduct - 13
Prostitution - 12
Solicitation (Begging) - 6
Drug Possession & Drug-Related Offenses - 8
...plus a few others such as possession of a stolen vehicle valued at more than $5,000, property damage, loitering, resisting arrest, and public nudity. And these are just the offenses committed in the municipality in which I live; who knows how many other arrests and convictions this individual has in other locales and jurisdictions. At what point do habitual offender or career criminal laws take effect and something more than a few days in jail or a few bucks in fines get imposed to actually attempt to rehabilitate the offender or remove them permanently from the jurisdiction? (In my opinion, the second option would be preferred.)
The public intoxication charge carries with it a mandatory few days in jail plus a fine. Since this person is homeless and unemployed, how are the fines getting paid? I'm sure they are not. Also, with some of the arrests for public intoxication, they occurred on the SAME day but with different officers and at different times...which means that the law was NOT enforced because the offender was cited rather than arrested, and then went her merry way to get cited/arrested later that day.
Since the majority of these offenses are of the same type, have occurred within the past few years, and took place in the same location, it isn't as if this person is a new face appearing before the small retinue of judges laying down the law here. I'm sure everyone in the court house from the janitor to the highest ranking judge knows this person on a first-name basis and likely greets her like a long-lost friend each time she appears before them to receive her paltry punishment. And paltry it is, since she keeps offending and offending and offending.
Given the gross number of offenses, particularly the public intoxication (which is a misdemeanor here), it is glaringly obvious by the fact that this woman continues to commit the same crimes over and over that the police officers (who also know her by name) all the way up to the judges are doing nothing more than kid-gloving the situation. They aren't putting forth more than a half-hearted (at best) attempt to do anything to manage or enforce or eradicate the problem...and in fact it seems as though they are nothing more than enablers to the drunken whoring that this woman continues to do. They might as well buy the alcohol for her and toss her a $10 or $20 for a quick hand-job in the back seat of their patrol car or in the judge's chambers, since they aren't actually doing anything at all to protect, serve, reduce crime, or enforce existing laws.
I don't know exactly how much a standard "public intoxication" court process (from arrest to adjudication) costs the average taxpayer, but I'm sure it's not cheap. The fines for the offender range from around $100 to around $500, and I would guess that the burden on the private citizen is probably around $1,000. So - for grins - let's say it's a grand even. That's $100,000 just for the public intoxication charges that you and I are paying...from the salaries of the officers who make the arrest to the maintenance of the patrol car used for transport to the cost of housing the offender for however long he/she stays in jail to the salaries of the judges who sit on the bench and pass their sad little ineffective judgments, so I'm sure the amount is on the low, low, low side.
The REAL crime being committed here is the fact that this woman continues to do exactly as she pleases with no real punishment being meted out, and that the honest, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of the city and county are forced to pay for it.