Friday, September 2, 2016

Local county becomes America's biggest prison state

The Cincinnati media is ignoring the fact that a county in greater Cincinnati has become America's biggest prison state - leaving the New York Times to report it.

Dearborn County, Indiana, now sends more people to prison per capita than any other county in the United States. Even in raw numbers, this mostly rural county sends more people to prison than the major cities of San Francisco and Durham, North Carolina, combined. One out of every 10 adults in Dearborn County is behind bars or on probation.

Corrections reform has helped reduce crime elsewhere, but Dearborn County is mired in 1995!

It doesn't help matters that Dearborn County is awash in heroin - thanks in part to outdated policing and corrections practices, not to mention the Tea Party's involvement in the drug trade. Indeed, rural counties have lagged while urban counties have progressed. Rural areas still favor the "lock 'em up" methods of 20 years ago. Dearborn County's elected prosecutor Aaron Negangard even gloated, "I am proud of the fact that we send more people to jail than other counties."

He's proud of that?

There's actually an element of entrapment. Drug penalties are less severe in Cincinnati, so Cincinnati authorities actually try to steer drug suspects to Dearborn County just so they get punished more harshly. Dearborn County even spent almost $12 million in taxpayer funds to double the size of its jail.

Don't tell me that this "lock 'em up" approach keeps our neighborhoods safe from heroin. After what I was forced to tolerate last year, I know that's a lie.