June 10, 2020

Defunding the Police is About Reallocating Funds

About a year ago, I did jury duty on a methamphetamines possession case. Long story short, with the evidence we were given, it added up to the woman being found guilty. She was given a sentence of two years jail time.

There’s a portion of the conversation my fellow jurors had over the evidence that’s sticking with me. We had one hold out juror who I believe felt bad for the woman in question. The point was actually made to this juror that the best thing for this woman is for her to go to jail and get clean and not be let directly back out onto the street. This was followed by speculation this woman was a repeat offender (I found out after the case she was).

The questions that have been ping-ponging in my head over the last couple of days is why do we put the burden on the criminal justice system to rehab drug abusers? Why aren’t we putting that job in the hands of specialists?

Much of the discussion of defunding the police has revolved around the reallocating of funds to things like social services, drug addiction services, & mental health services because the police are simply being asked to do more than they’re trained or even care to do.

Going back to the woman in question, she had already been to jail multiple times. Jail wasn’t helping her. That much we know. Further, by sending her to jail again, she now has another mark on her resume for when she tries to get a job again, making it harder to get a quality job and making it more likely she’ll end up caught in the same cycle she’s been stuck in for the last decade.

I’m also not the first one to think about this. Former Dallas Police chief David Brown said as much in 2016.