This article, Shortened sentences concern DA, police, has several problems. The least of which seems like it was fed to them by the Williamson County DA and the Taylor police chief. The offender they highlight in this article about early release is a repeat drug offender and, as best I can tell from the article, NOT a violent offender.
Antwon Sanford, 40, of Taylor was arrested by Taylor police on Dec. 15, 2003 in Robinson Park and charged with possession of cocaine. According to Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, the arrest was part of a federal Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force investigation after several people reported the park as an â€œopen-airâ€ drug market. In addition to Sanford, the investigation yielded more than 10 arrests on drug dealing and possession charges.
Bradley said Sanford was on parole after being sentenced to 60 years in prison at the time of his arrest in Robinson Park.
â€œIt makes you wonder why was he out to begin with?â€ Bradley said. He said he has seen the number of repeat offenders released on parole rise dramatically during the past year.
According to arrest records, Sanford had previously been arrested and convicted four times; three of those arrests occurred after he was paroled following a prior conviction.
â€œWe have to challenge our statewide officials to focus on the importance of long-term confinement as a proper and effective method for punishing repeat criminals and thereby preventing new crimes,â€ Bradley said. â€œTaylor suffers just as much as any other city in the county when you put drug offenders back on the street.â€
Bradley said he has met with several state legislators across Texas in an effort to garner more legislative support to build new prisons in the state.
Bradley is right, it does make one wonder why he was out. But building more prisons and abetting the “prison industrial complex” – like the T. Don Hutto Residential Facility – is not the answer either. When jails fill up, non-violent offenders, mostly drug possession cases, are released and the violent offenders are kept behind bars. That’s preferable. I’d much rather have the guy busted with a couple of joints back out on the streets and make sure the child predator is still behind bars.
Another thing this article also goes to show is how bad our criminal justice system does at rehabilitating people, if that’s what it’s supposed to do, these days. The man in this article has been in and out of prison many times and there was no mention of whether any kind of drug rehab or counseling was ever tried as a solution to help end his addiction. It would seem to me if someone keeps getting busted for a non-violent drug possession crime it would be best to try and keep that person from wanting to possess those drugs again. We all know that prison/jail is nowhere to try and stop using drugs.
At the end the Taylor Chief tries to say that in the end he will get blamed for this just like local cops did in the early 80’s. There were some rough economic times in the ’80’s that helped cause much of that crime, maybe like the economy today, at least for those that aren’t in the top 1%.
More prisons is not the answer. You can read Grits For Breakfast for much more on this topic.