The narrative that gets all the news media attention, the story that Madison alders subscribe to, the article of faith among our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances is this: the criminal justice system is more draconian than Les Miserables.
Prosecutors and judges are eager to fill our jails and prisons with the victims of economic injustice, or so goes the meme. Especially if they be of minority race.
That it just ain’t so bothers our pollyannas not at all. Take these recent cases:
Not two blocks from the Stately Manor, authorities extracted three neglected children from a drug house. The two “parents” were charged with felonies for drug possession, misdemeanor child neglect, and resisting an officer. They were back in that house the next day on a signature bond.
The landlord, a good friend of mine, responded to a church appeal to help a homeless family. He cut the rent in half and didn’t get even that. As he told me Wednesday, as police surrounded the house on Hammersley Road, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Now it transpires that a 25-year-old man died of a drug overdose in the home, with all four children present, a month earlier. The children are being tested for evidence of drugs in their system. (According to an excellent report from Rob Schultz.) Were those innocent lives at risk? You tell me.
Then there is the fellow who has made a specialty of burglarizing homes here on the southwest side — 37 by one estimate. That and bail jumping. It didn’t make the news but this week he was given 90 days in jail — with credit for time served — and five years probation. He also has to complete his education, do 100 hours of Community Service, get a job, and set aside some of that pay for restitution.
We’d say Hooray for Hazel if we thought the fellow would turn his life around but he’s had his chances, as his extensive court record indicates.
We quoted Madison Police Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki before Monday’s sentencing:
Roderick Williams, the prolific burglar from the west side, has a sentencing hearing on April 10 at 1:30 pm. Roderick is the suspect that burglarized a number of Westside homes, was arrested, incarcerated, and released. Upon his release on bail, he immediately went back burglarizing homes, again in the west district.
Good luck, Mr. Williams, because if you burglarize one more home, it may be your last. Some of us are armed and dangerous.