Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ah, Chicago. The Land of 396th Chances...

After 396 arrests, Chicago woman ordered to get mental health, substance abuse treatment
CHICAGO – A homeless Chicago woman who has been arrested 396 times in the past 35 years has been ordered by a judge to get mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Shermain Miles, 51, appeared in a Cook County court on Monday, accused of attacking a city alderman. She pleaded guilty to trespassing and public drinking in separate cases.
Three hundred and ninety six arrests. Starting at the tender age of 16. That is very nearly one arrest a month over an entire lifetime. Now, trespassing and public drinking, here's the thing. These aren't generally the kinds of things you get arrested for unless you are really pushing the limits. Also, there are "dozens of convictions for felonies and misdemeanors" - it's not just drunk and disorderly getting her run in. Felonies are in that mix, which leads one to believe she's not just a drunk who doesn't know when to leave...

At what point do you just throw your hands up and admit that the system isn't working for everyone? At what point do the costs - both financially and emotionally in the community - suggest that, I don't know, keeping this woman in jail might work out for the betterment of all parties? That her getting arrested, jailed, tried, convicted, sentences on a monthly basis isn't the best use of police manpower and time, of court manpower and time, of the community's manpower and time? She's obviously harassing certain establishments in the community - one florist called police more than two dozen times in one summer. The people of the community have a right to be secure in their businesses, right?

Oh, but the 396th time, oh, that's different! She's going to learn to straighten up and fly right from now on - she's been ordered to get treatment! You know, like she was ordered to stop drinking in public and trespassing probably dozens of times - and how many times was she released on "time served" for drunk & disorderly, or trespassing, or drinking in public? How many times does she need to go before a judge before they take the radical step of putting her in jail and keeping her there?

I know, I know; while I'm dreaming I'd like to see ammo back on the shelves...

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I disagree.

She attacked an alder-creature, that's the difference between the first 395 times and #396

Gerry

Ed said...

Ah, at what point do you acknowledge that processing her through arrests, trials and convictions does not act as a deterrent for her behaviors?