Who needs jails? Those are reserved for people like you and me who don't cooperate with COVID fascism. The culture of leniency on violent crime even in red states has gotten so bad that a high-profile school shooter in Tarrant County, Texas, was released the very next day on just $75,000 bail.
Since the FBI released data last week showing that murders increased in 2020 by nearly 30%, the sharpest single-year jump on record, the media has been feigning ignorance as to the culprit of the rising violent crime. However, as this story illustrates, there is no mystery when nobody is deterred or punished and there are thousands more violent criminals on the streets than there used to be, thanks to "criminal justice reform."
Timothy George Simpkins, who attends Timberview High School in Arlington, is accused of pulling out a firearm and shooting his fellow classmates during a fight that spiraled out of control on Wednesday. Four people were injured, including Calvin Pettitt, a 25-year-old English teacher who was shot in the back, suffering broken ribs and a collapsed lung. A day later, Simpkins walked straight out of jail into "home confinement" on just $75,000 bail.
We already know as a given that juvenile murderers and dangerous criminals barely receive any punishment, but Simpkins is reportedly 18 years old. It appears that the only people held pretrial in jail these days are those caught "trespassing" in the United States Capitol without even assaulting anyone or damaging anything. Simpkins is already partying at home while nonviolent protesters at the Capitol remain in jail for months on end. Even Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was held in jail longer than Simpkins for simply critiquing Biden's Afghanistan policy.
The bottom line is that there is a culture of leniency that has permeated the court systems of all 50 states, and few red-state governors have even shown a desire to get tough on crime. In a previous generation, the FBI report showing a 30% increase in murder in one year after nearly three decades of uninterrupted declines in murder would have set off alarm bells and impelled major tough-on-crime initiatives in the states. Sadly, we are seeing the opposite.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported last week that through August, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear released 1,704 inmates due to COVID policies and nearly one-third of them have already been arrested for felonies! When including arrests for misdemeanors, almost half of the original 1,700 have had a brush with the law. Any wonder why there is more crime than ever before?
The problem is we are finding a crime surge in states with Republican governors as well. Texas already has a crisis of dangerous criminals being released on zero or low bail, just like New York. Its major cities are therefore seeing an unprecedented rise in crime. Homicides have increased 56% in Austin over the past year. The city is facing a crisis of retiring cops. Houston has experienced a 30% increase in homicide this year and a 73% increase since 2019.
This is the result of several years of the bipartisan obsession with de-incarceration. Earlier this year, the Vera Institute of Justice celebrated the plummeting incarceration rates with quite revealing statistics:
The number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails in the United States dropped from around 2.1 million in 2019 to 1.8 million by mid-2020 — a 14 percent decrease. This decline held through the fall. This represents a 21 percent decline from a peak of 2.3 million people in prison and jail in 2008. State and federal prisons held an estimated 1,311,100 people at midyear 2020 — down 124,400, or 9 percent, from 2019. Prisons declined by an additional 61,800 people in late 2020, bringing the total prison population to 1,249,300 people, a 13 percent decline from 2019 to late 2020 (the end of September or beginning of October).
Well, what they view as a worthy mission accomplished, normal people see as a bloodbath in the streets. It's truly hard to suggest that the unprecedented spike in crime is not related to the fact that more of the people most likely to commit violent crime remain out on the streets.
I have previously outlined numerous policies red-state legislatures should pursue to attack rising crime, but few legislators seem to have an appetite to push back against the criminal-industrial complex. Until we get dangerous criminals off the streets, crime will continue to spiral out of control.