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Friday, April 16, 2010

Charlotte's Pre-Trial Release Program Under Attack, No New Jails!

Charlotte's Pre-Trial Release programs are under major attack!

Its all about Racial Discrimination & Federal Dollars (again) disguised as "Controlling Costs".

I want to be clear that in the state of North Carolina these type of racially-sensitive issues are not solely Democrat or Republican problems because both Political parties practice extreme Racism on a regular basis.

Which is why I'm no longer a Loyalist to either party.

Looks like some Charlotte Officials and Political Candidates are trying to do away with Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Pre-Trial Release program as an excuse to build New Jails.

What is a Pre-Trial Release program you ask?

I'll be happy to explain.

(This information was obtained from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Sheriff Dept. and Charlotte's Neighbors For a Safer Charlotte organization.)

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office Pre-Trial Release Program - Risk Assessment /Case Management is designed to identify those arrested individuals who can safely be released on their own recognizance or to the supervision of a third party custodian prior to their first scheduled court appearance.

After a security screening, medical screening, fingerprinting, and photographing, the paperwork involving the individual is organized in one packet and the individual is presented to the magistrate for action to be taken upon the case.

After seeing the magistrate the person is afforded the option of securing his or her release through the County Court Services Division.

Once done with court services, the individual is afforded time to secure release if bond conditions permit this.

If the individual cannot make bond or has a "No Bond" condition, he or she is "dressed-out" and "classified" according to their charge, medical circumstances, risk, and or other criteria to be housed in one of the county facilities.

If Charlotte Officials decide to build New Jails who will be housed in those units?

You already know the answer to that question don't you?

That's right African-Americans and Hispanic citizens!

Caucasian Criminal Offenders will STILL be allowed to walk away Free or released on Low Bonds, while Minorities are imprisoned until their Trial dates.

What's the purpose of this "Eliminate Charlotte's Pre-Trial Release" campaign?

To procure more Federal Dollars and lock up more Minority Youth.

You see due to Charlotte's Racist history many Charlotteans, especially Caucasian citizens think the ONLY way to bring down Crime is to just lock up ALL Blacks & Hispanics, regardless of the offense....FOREVER!

Yet these same people will continue to offer Charlotte's White Criminal Offenders "Deals" & lower Bonds for having committed the SAME types of Crimes.


I'm NOT down with eliminating Charlotte's Pre-Trial Release program. Yet.

Please don't give me that sorry argument about the program's "Cost".

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sheriff Dept. staff it cost $3.00 per day for Offenders to participate in the Pre-Trial program versus $100. per day to lock them up.

So how will cutting this program help control Charlotte's Law Enforcement budget as it relates to eliminating waste?

It won't!

I repeat!

This is all about locking up more Blacks & Hispanics and building new jails.

Charlotte Officials and Political Candidates if you want me to support eliminating Charlotte's Pre-Trial Release program and building New Jails, you need to prove that Black Offenders and White Offenders will receive Fair or Identical treatment when allegedly committing the SAME crimes.

You also need to demonstrate that Charlotte's District Attorney's Office will NOT continue down the same path of Discriminating against Criminal Offenders based on their Ethnicity or National Origin.

Check out the videos and articles I've included below on this issue.

Charlotte's Pretrial Release Program: Can We Afford It?

An electronic kiosk is a key part of the Mecklenburg County Pretrial release program. It's where accused criminals show up about once a month to place their hand on the reader and "check in" with their case manager.

On any given day the county lets 1,900 people out of jail for free before their trial because they don't think they're dangerous or a flight risk. Being in the program costs $3 a day versus the more than $100 to keep each defendant in jail.

Attorney Brad Smith's been studying the $1.7 million dollar program in depth for the past year. He says, "I think it's a bad use of tax payer dollars considering the economic climate, considering the cuts the county is going to be forced to make in the next couple of months."

Smith says too many people are admitted into the program and that the check-in system, which in addition to the kiosk can include weekly phone calls, is bogus. He says, "I don't know how a phone call once a week does anything about ensuring somebody appears in court."

Jessica Ireland has headed up the program for the past year and says it does work. 87% of the program participants show up for their court appointments. She also says participants are carefully selected. "Anything involving a death, use of a fire arm, high level drug charges, all of those are excluded from pretrial consideration,” says Ireland.

We found several people with violent records are also part of the program. "I think there's people that are slipping through the cracks and are getting out on it,” says Smith.

County commissioner Harold Cogdell is on the public safety committee. He says while the program isn't perfect, it is necessary. "We simply don't have the jail space to house individuals that don't have the financial means to be able to post a bond pending their court date,” says Cogdell.

So how do you fix the program? Smith suggests scaling it back and making sure people who are in it really need to be and have very minor offenses on their record. As it stands, he says, "We've basically inserted the tax payer dollar into every single facet of the criminal justice system."

Last year, the county paid a consultant $81,000 dollars to review the program. She gave them two suggestions. So far, neither has been implemented, although FOX Charlotte is told leaders are working on it.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sheriff Predicts Program Cuts With Budget Shortfall

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office predicts it will have to cut three programs due to the county's budget shortfall.

Sheriff Chipp Bailey says he'll cut non-mandatory areas, including courthouse security and the work release program at the jail, which trains inmates to get and keep a job.

Bailey says the percentage of inmates in the work program who become repeat offenders drops from 70 percent to 32 percent.

Also at risk for cuts is substance abuse and domestic violence counseling for inmates and the high school program for juveniles.

"If they are not in high school then they're going to drop out of school and become criminals more so than they are now," Bailey said.

Bailey says cutting those programs will only save $5.6 million. The Mecklenburg County Commission has projected it will cut $9 million from the department's funding.

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Sources: Fox News Charlotte,, McClatchy Newspapers, Neighbors For a Safer Charlotte, WCNC, Google Maps

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