by Kurt St. Angelo Libertarian Writers' Bureau http://www.writersbureau.org
My favorite childhood story was about a herd of hippos that played hide n' seek. The baby hippo's best hiding place was on a ledge just above – though in plain view of – herd's elders, who never found baby because they never looked up. Obvious often means overlooked.
And so it is with jail overcrowding in Circle City. County jails lack space for everyone who's been arrested. Last year there were almost 2,000 emergency releases to free space.
Led by a group of mostly Republicans, including Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and Superior Court judges Cale Bradford and William Young, there 's a move to greatly expand county's criminal justice budget, build another jail facility, expand or build a new juvenile center, elect more judges, and – if they get their way – build a brand new criminal-justice center with even more capacity to turn suspects into government prospects.
The more prospects they can harness and herd, more money taxpayers will give them.
Anyone who has watched Brizzi, Bradford or Young recently on Indianapolis television knows how callous they are toward accused. Young, who presides over county's drug court, says defendants are from 'a sludge pool." By his own count, he has personally released at least six people who have then murdered others.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Bradford chairs Marion County Criminal Justice Planning Council, which also includes Brizzi and Mayor Bart Peterson. The Council is preparing an expensive criminal justice wish list to present to City-County Council. At its January meeting, Bradford noted that county's newest jail facility, built in 1997 to handle main jail's overcrowding, was itself overcrowded.
This latest situation shows obvious, which again won't be discussed at next planning council meeting – that a new jail is not solution to latest bout of jail overcrowding. As experience shows us, a new jail will only be a standing invitation for politicians and judges to fill it.
Money is not solution, either. Since 2001, county's criminal justice budget has almost single-handedly been responsible for county's whopping 40 percent budget increase, from $126 million to $176 million.