COVID-19 isn’t a Criminal Justice Issue… So Stop Making it One

Over the past week I have had many people contact me asking what I think about the impact COVID-19 on our criminal justice system.  More specifically, they have been asking me if I think it is okay to release many of the people we have in jail so that they can stay healthy and be with their families.  My answer to that is ABSOLUTELY NOT!  COVID-19 or the Coronavirus, should not be used as an excuse to release criminals from jail. Trust me when I say that California already has enough lousy ideas on dealing with criminals that they don’t need to consider another one.   What people need to realize is that the second that you become soft on crime, you become hard on victims.

And listen, maybe it is just me, but I have read nothing about how this virus makes criminals less dangerous.  I have read nothing about how this virus suddenly rehabilitates criminals and makes them productive members of our society.  And most importantly, I have read nothing about how this virus protects victims of crime.  Using this public emergency to achieve the misguided social justice objective of emptying our jails is shameful.  With all the soft on crime policies this state has implemented over the past few years and the commitment our elected officials have made to releasing violent and dangerous criminals into our neighborhoods, I am shocked that there are any more people to let out of our jails.  I am actually starting to think that our jails might be the safest places to be right now.

But seriously, we need to take a step back and focus here.  Our criminal justice system exists for a reason.  It protects those that follow the law and punishes those that don’t.  For anyone to think that we need to put that concept aside for this virus should not be someone making decisions about our safety.

If people want to keep asking what I think about San Francisco or any other city/County in this state letting people out of jail because of this virus or any other reason they think is justified (i.e., can’t afford bail, etc.), here is my answer….NO, IT ISN’T A GOOD IDEA…IT IS A REALLY BAD IDEA.  We have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable populations in our community, and when we decide to just release criminals into our streets, we are impacting the most vulnerable population of all, crime victims. So as long as I have breath in my body, and blood flowing through my veins, I will do whatever I can to oppose these myopic, irresponsible and dangerous policies.  That is a promise.

Be safe. Be healthy.