The Cost of Early Release is High – For Law Enforcement

The United States is currently in a period of increased sympathy for convicted criminals and calls for criminal justice reforms. Eventually, each of the proposed reform plans includes the early release of thousands of prisoners and an increase in parole opportunities. One of the most often repeated justifications for these actions is the decreased cost to taxpayers, but what is the cost of letting convicted criminals back on the streets – and who pays this price?

Yes, when compared to other civilized nations the United States has a higher rate of incarceration. Yes, it is more expensive to house prisoners than to allow them to serve a portion of their sentence on parole. However, the United States criminal justice system is designed to protect citizens from further criminal activity – either by reform or removal. Prisoners are incarcerated because the nature of their crime or personal history means this is the best means available to protect society. Releasing these criminals does not make them better members of society, nor does it prevent future criminal actions.

Most Americans are willing to turn the other cheek, letting politicians use convicted criminals as pawns in their own personal social experiments. However, it is our law enforcement officers who are often forced to combat the results and even pay the ultimate price in doing so. Take for example the following cases from my home state of Pennsylvania.

  1. ReleaseFolcroft PA, June 24, 2016 – Officer Christopher Dorman was shot 7 times after responding to reports of a man selling drugs behind a neighborhood building. The shooter, identified as Dante Brooks Island AKA Abdul Wahi, was described by the District Attorney as a “career criminal.” A review of his public criminal records showed arrests for a variety of violent offenses including forcible rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, sexual assault, carrying an unlicensed firearm and resisting arrest. All told, his criminal history stretches for 8 pages – but he remained walking the streets.
  2. Philadelphia PA, March 7, 2015 – Officer Robert Wilson was shot and killed by two robbery suspects who attempted to rob a local video game store while Officer Wilson was inside conducting a safety check. The shooters, identified as Charlton Hipps and Ramone Williams, were subsequently taken into custody following a shootout with police. Hipps, like so many others who assault and kill police, had a lengthy criminal history including robbery, assault and carrying an unlicensed firearm.
  3. Philadelphia PA, September 23, 2008 – Officer Patrick McDonald was shot and killed during a traffic stop. The shooter, identified as Daniel Giddings, was later shot and killed by other responding officers. Despite being only 27 years old, Giddings had already been arrested for numerous crimes including robbery, aggravated assault, carjacking, theft and carrying an unlicensed firearm.

Seeing a pattern yet? In each of these situations, officers were attacked, injured and even killed by individuals who had previously committed violent crimes and carried illegal firearms while doing so. Despite the evidence to the contrary, each were allowed to continue walking the streets while placing citizens and law enforcement officers in danger – either while on parole or even bail. Those who consider the criminal justice system broken should not focus on why other violent criminals are still behind bars, but rather on why these individual and many more like them were released far too soon.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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