Originally Posted by Wildwoman
The point of the strategy is the idea that big criminals commit little crimes as well. Part of the push to change tactics in NYC involved bringing in people for things like jumping the subway turnstile, which was always illegal, but used to just result in being ordered to appear at a future court date, and supposedly when they started processing farebeaters and people caught with joints in the park and whatnot, they turned up people wanted for bigger things. I am frankly su****ious of the claim that this made such a huge difference (as well as disturbed by the degree to which racism is intertwined with the practice), since I believe crime is down nationwide since 1990, even in places where they didnít use these tactics.
I get the thought behind it...but I guess that the degree of racism and classism bothers me too. I'm of the opinion that even if you have squeaky-clean intentions, if the outcome of your policy seems racist -- it's because the policy is racist. I'm sure that they did bust some people that needed busting through their tactics, but I would guess that mostly it has resulted in wasting a lot of money on boring people who are doing pretty ordinary things.
And the tactic, to the best of my understanding, has really just resulted in more drug convictions. Even in places where marijuana is decriminalized, every single one of those convictions for a joint can be used against someone in a different setting, in the case of a relatively benign crime.
Violent crime has dropped significantly, so it makes no sense to have more people than ever in prison.