More Laws Less Jail Space

More Laws Less Jail Space

This inane need for politicians to add laws on top of more laws has always puzzled me. Especially in these hard economic times when many of the same politicians must resort to emptying over-crowded jails. And still the trend of more laws less jail space continues.

And that, in my mind, can only mean one thing.

It isn’t about punishment of crime as much as it is about collecting the increased fines associated with new laws. It’s a Revenue Stream!

Unfortunately that doesn’t bode well for society as a whole because when criminals are given a pass for the sake of budget constraints that amounts to a judicial system slapping offenders on the wrists knowing that they will probably see some of the same people circulating through their courtrooms in the very near future.

Now does that mean that some of the new laws aren’t needed? Or that they all require jail time? No of course not.

However let’s look at that new Illinois Law that just kicked-in banning the manual use of cell phones while driving. Legislators made it a point to toughen-up a long lax law protecting public safety to include jail time for the worst of offenders, yet, judges will be forced to reconsider that penalty because people like Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to empty over-crowded jails under her jurisdiction.

Of course they blame lack of revenues for this move but I find it strange that the news media have decided to give Preckwinkle (and all the others) a ready made excuse without ever once questioning where the enormous sums of money the Cook County Board takes in to feed a bloated budget really goes? And it isn’t as if that that money hasn’t been collected over the decades – it has.

The real problem here is that the cost of corruption, cronyism and nepotism have diminished the ability of those charged with protecting the public safety from doing so in a proper manner. And so the same old, same old just perpetuates itself. More laws, higher fines, more revenue – and no real results as politicians divert those monies!

But lets be a little honest here and ask who is really at fault? I mean not only are the people doing the stupid ass things that requires lawmakers to impose more and more of their knee-jerk solutions onto the law books but no one is doing the right thing by holding their elected officials accountable. Especially when it comes to the gazillions of dollars collected from them (and most likely their ancestors) over the last five or six decades that they swore would patch one budget shortfall after another only to see lawmakers vote themselves a raise or hand out no bid contracts shortly thereafter.

Seems to me the more money we give politicians the more it winds up in their, their families or cronies pockets.

Someone, though, better start asking “where’s the beef” soon before breathing is fined in Illinois.



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  • I don't see how the police are going to be able to enforce all this garbage, which is why various municipalities have cameras. It also seems a function of that the legislature can't do the state's business, so the members get favorable headlines being nannies. Probably the real purpose is if someone gets in an accident and has a phone impaled in his or her hand, the police can lay another charge, but they are not going to pull 60% of the drivers off the road.

    However, it isn't directly related to Preckwinkle's problem, which is pretrial detainees. The stink in the Cook County jail is that violent offenders and drug offenders can't get a trial date and can't make bail. The first seems a violation of the 6th Amendment and the second the 8th, but I am surprised that the feds don't do anything about the 6th. Apparently the real problem (at least articulated by the Tribune) is that Chief Judge Timothy Evans doesn't care.

  • In reply to jack:

    I hear you Jack I don't see it either but as you say, the cops can pile on charges as the situation warrants. As for offenders not getting a trial date or making bail, well yes that is the main problem here as Timothy Evans has shown no regard for Constitutional Rights. On the flip side, though, not every offender wants a speedy trial either often waiving it under instructions from their attorneys. So it can cut both ways - but still I would agree that the most egregious part of this mess is Evans himself. As for the Feds - well we all know how Holder operates by now and unless he specifically directs his charges to pursue an issue pursuant to what POTUS wants him to do (or not) - fuhgettaboutit!

  • It is impossible for the ordinary citizen to go through the day and not break a law, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    The many inane laws are gateway laws that give the government access to you for the purpose of collecting a fine or ramping up the charges.

    In the last 30 plus years of driving I have been pulled over for tail lights that weren't working but suddenly were when I pulled away and looked, an unreadable license tag that looked clean to me and once, for driving while not rich in an older car in Barrington (no probable cause given). All laws on the books somewhere.

    I'm not going to posit the cause beyond some of the obvious to gather revenue, but I get laughs overseas -- taunted, actually-- about living "in the home of the free".

    I don't have an answer for them.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Oh so true and oh so sad. p.s. my overseas friends and relatives have seen the hypocrisy of America and get plenty of ribbing myself.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    For thirty years I have had to travel to different parts of the world for work, and for the first twenty-five I would kiss the ground when I got back, because there was no place like the USA. Now, the growing police state here makes me long for places where there is less order and, yes, fewer cameras. The winds of change blowing across the US are oppressive. There are no cameras in the bush or in the desert or jungle, and I'm beginning to think more and more that there are opportunities for a peaceful life outside the US. When we abided by the "rule of law" there was no place better than the US; now that we are ruled by "man", we are all in danger, life and limb. I think the system will have to implode first, and, if the gods are generous, the Republic may arise again. Do we deserve it? Not sure. We have pissed freedom away.

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