100 Strikes And You’re Not Out?

I’ve written about (and largely approve of) the various criminal justice reforms that have worked their way through the legislature and been signed by Governor Deal.  At the heart has been making sure people aren’t locked up for long terms for smaller petty thefts and most initial drug violations.

On the flip side, however, are blights on humanity like Ronald Lockett.  He’s been arrested 114 times:

Indeed, Lockett, who faces one to five years in prison if convicted, has been arrested 114 times for various crimes.

“He’s never served more than two years,” Lamar said. “This time, we’ve got to make him learn.”

Assistant Fulton DA Keith Lamar Jr. is asking Inman Park residents to show up for Mr. Lockett’s latest sentencing in the hopes that he won’t be back for another sentencing for maybe 5 years.

The problem, as is illustrated in the same East Atlanta Patch article by Peralte Paul, notes that the problem is Fulton County’s revolving door sentencing (my words, not his) and perpetual jail overcrowding.  Even Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has shown division with Fulton County on the issue, ripping Fulton County officials a new one for abdicating their responsibility.

Reed, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said the county has repeatedly failed to solve its jail crisis and should build a new facility to lock up more violent criminals. He also accused some judges there of being too lenient with repeat offenders.

In the past month, Reed has unleashed a barrage of vitriol at the county unprecedented for an Atlanta leader.

“A responsible government would have at least come up with a proposal to build a facility rather than releasing violent criminals back into the communities that they were elected to serve,” Reed said.

If Atlanta is to be a world class city, it is going to have to have at least a coach class law enforcement system.  And to do so, it doesn’t matter how many Keith Lamar Jr.’s it has, if it won’t detain those who prey upon its citizens over and over and over.

Fulton County spends a lot of money on a lot of things.  But the residents of Milton County North Fulton will be keeping an eye on this one.  For Fulton’s long history of jail mismanagment, after all, is the least defensible when the role of the county is to be discussed.  If Fulton County is to continue anywhere near its present form, it’s going to need to learn to run a jail system (correctly).

H/T to Clay Duda at Creative Loafing

10 comments

  1. MattMD says:

    What do you mean by North Fulton is the the “least defensible when the role of the county is to be discussed”?

  2. DavidTC says:

    Erm, being _arrested_ 114 times is completely meaningless.

    How many times has he been _convicted_ of something? (And how many of those were felonies?)

    It’s worth pointing out that, _by law_, the second charge of ‘entering an automobile’ is a minimum of two years. And yet he ‘faces one to five years in prison if convicted’.

    For all the claims of Lockett being a repeat lawbreaker, he could not ever been convicted of the crime ‘entering an automobile’ before this point, or he would be facing a minimum of a two year sentence.

  3. saltycracker says:

    According to some retired NYC detectives in my Fla golf group – so it must be true – the big drop in major crime there is related to being tough on petty stuff.

    We are a bit more adverse to big tax hikes so maybe we could make some jail room by dealing with some drug issues as health problems.

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