Stop jailing addicts, those who can’t afford fines

Stop jailing addicts, those who can’t afford fines

By Ned Pillersdorf

November 21, 2017 07:53 PM

UPDATED November 22, 2017 12:50 PM

The Herald Leader story about the surge in the number of women we incarcerate was not a surprise to anyone who has attended a criminal docket call. What you will see is a depressing long line of young female prisoners, that sadly parade into our local courts on a daily basis. The fact that one in four is either pregnant or has a child less than one year old is simply too depressing to think about.

At the risk of being politically incorrect and hurting the feelings of the judges and prosecutors I see every day, most of these young ladies don’t belong in jail.

When I started practicing criminal law 36 years ago, my clients were overwhelmingly men who received stolen property, got into fights or broke into homes. Today my criminal defense clients are mostly female opioid addicts who can’t shake their habit. They sell some pills, commit various forms of petty theft out of economic desperation and end up in and out of jail, and back in when they fail a drug test.

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Posted: November 27, 2017