Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Austin Chronicle sets the record straight

Jordan Smith's continuing spot-on coverage of the citation option dispels the myth that this cost-savings program in any way changes the criminal categories of the charges covered under the option. She writes:

"The law does not decriminalize any of the offenses ... but allows an officer, under specific conditions, to decline to book a person into jail for initial processing, thereby saving time, money, and police manpower. The law does not eliminate the possibility of eventual jail time for the Class A and B offenses covered..."

There are forums to debate decriminalization and legalization, but cite and release policy discussions simply have no place in them.

Smith also goes onto explain why Williamson County is stalling, noting Wilco DA John Bradley--also responsible for putting forth the decriminalization myth--has been outspoken against the option despite it not being under his political purview.


Anonymous said...

Does the fact that someone disagrees with this hair brained scheme make them out of touch? He obviously sees the flaws in this program. While some of the facts on this site are correct, others are not. The cite and release program does not save time. Officers still have to do the same amount of paperwork and go through all of the same booking procedures, with the exception of booking prisoners in the jail. This saves about 15 minutes. This program also is not concerned with the victim. How would you feel if someone spray painted your property and the police just let them go with a citation? Just because one agency adopts this program does not mean that it is the best solution.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous... Fact is that the Cite and Release program or "Hair Brained Scheme" as you put it, does save tax dollars and time. You aren't considering all the costs throughout the overall arrest process in your rant above. Obviously you prefer an arrest over citation. In the example you give if someone spray painted my property and was caught I would want the officer to cite and release with the deal that the offender cleans up what they have done and not do it again. That is fair justice. Now if the painter does not follow up in some way on that deal that is another story. We have records of the previous citation and a case for arrest.

Deb said...

6:41 -- you cite one fact that you assert is incorrect: yet the time it takes for either came directly from APD's information. Anything else you'd like to dispute? We can back up all our facts, so I'd be happy to share.

As far as your opinion about not being concerned for the victim...this program doesn't change the outcome: it doesn't change the conviction process or the sentencing whatsoever. It only means someone doesn't spend the night in jail before it goes through the courts.