Rantz: Seattle experiment says no jailtime for crime, but has taxpayers split bill
Under an experimental program in King County, first-time criminals will not see jail time for crimes, nor pay restitution. Instead, the suspects get a pass from any jailtime or record, with the “community” choosing the punishment. Plus, as an added bonus, county taxpayers will quite literally pay for the crimes.
It’s the latest scheme from King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to give a pass to criminals, while giving himself the ability to ignore his job. And even though these crimes disproportionately occur in Seattle, it’ll be the entire county that pays.
The experiment is just that. It’s not based on a program being done elsewhere, but devised by the prosecutor who has been in charge as prolific crime has worsened and more criminals are getting away without charges or meaningful jailtime. Satterberg is a prosecutor who refuses to prosecute.
No punishment for criminals in Seattle
Under the “restorative justice” program, non-violent, first-time felons will face a non-profit community panel to decide how the offender will be held accountable. But Satterberg won’t define what he means by accountability.
“We can send that person instead (of jail) to a community accountability group, who will define what they think accountability means,” Satterberg told KOMO TV.
There’s a Seattle movement to literally abolish jails while justifying violence against cops and the destruction of corporations. Should they get to define what accountability means?
The $6.2 million funding for the program comes from what would have gone to the sheriff’s office, but like other law enforcement agencies in Seattle, they face defunding. The King County Council is reimaging law enforcement, reinvesting funds in a county experiencing a surge in violent crime.
“Locking people up is very costly and it’s not affirmative for people’s lives,” King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles told KOMO.
As Kohl-Welles offers affirmations for the criminals, there’s no word on her stance towards their victims.
Taxpayers literally pay a price
The victims of these crimes do get to recover stolen or destroyed property. We will all have to pay for it, rather than the criminal.
“Sometimes it can take years before restitution is paid to a victim and the person responsible may repeatedly come back to court when they don’t pay,” Satterberg told KOMO. “The reality of the situation right now is, victims are not being taken care of. This will help us take care of their immediate needs to a cap of, say, $500.”
It’s a tough pill to swallow even for a recent victim of a break-in. Matthew Humphrey owns Steele Barber in Ballard. After being open for just three weeks, he was victimized by a burglar that, if they are a first time felon, would qualify for this King County program.
“Of course, I would be entirely grateful to get reimbursed for damages, but I’m struggling to find the logic that it would come from the taxpayer,” Humphrey explained. “I’d like to see money going to prevent the causes of these thefts or more policing.”
More policing? Not in Seattle. As homicides rise, the Seattle City Council defunded police by another 18%. Police staffing is at the lowest deployable staffing levels since at least 1990.
Motives of new program
Satterberg is motivated by his social justice beliefs. He believes the justice system is inherently racist because people of color are disproportionately impacted, though he seems silent on who is impacted by the actual crimes. Satterberg’s office claims this one-time pass program will see racial disproportionality diminished, not due to addressing the root causes of the criminality but by simply not enforcing the laws.
“Literally, it’s a once-in-the-lifetime opportunity,” Satterberg said. “If you screw up, you’re back in court.”
If this were true, there would be merit to the argument. I don’t have some kind of bloodlust to put people in jail, especially young adults who likely are on the wrong path due to family issues, lack of education, or bad elements in their lives. They are redeemable.
The problem is that it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have a prolific offender problem in Seattle because Satterberg and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes refuse to seriously charge many criminals, no matter how many times they’re arrested. Until you fix that problem, all you’re doing is reminding criminals that they can get away with almost anything short of murder in Seattle.
Criminals get a free pass in Seattle
If you’re wondering why crime in Seattle continues to soar, it’s because we allow it to. There are no consequences in Seattle.
If you’re a drug dealer, you benefit from a permissive city that refuses to charge drug crimes if you carry “personal possession” amounts. Thus, dealers carry less product and don’t get arrested. If you’re a prostitute, cops can’t make arrests without the Seattle City Council getting up in arms, even though police could leverage jailtime for information to use to arrest the prostitute’s abusive pimp. Somehow it’s feminist to let women suffer on the streets. Throw coffee in the face of a toddler? You’ll be out of jail in no time to reoffend.
Seattle and King County officials aren’t helping the problems. They’re making them worse. But their intent, they say, is to help. Yet they keep failing. Shame on voters for giving them more time to ruin this once-great region.
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