Justice in America
By Lt. Patrick J. Ciser, C.P.D. (Ret.)

According to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 2.2 million adults were held in America’s prisons and jails at the end of 2016. While some would argue that this number is way too high, and that we are in need of a criminal justice reform; I have a different take on the subject. Yes, we can reduce this number while helping those nonviolent offenders who can still be saved. And no one should be locked up for possessing a couple of ounces of marijuana. Fines and community service in states that haven’t yet legalized it should suffice, but possession of weight (pounds for instance) is another matter.

I’d like to see New Jersey decriminalize “MJ” but not legalize it; however, I know that our liberal governor has other ideas. Many lament about the cost of incarcerating over two million people, but what would the cost be in letting many of them out? The cost to the many victims who would otherwise not be victims could be staggering, especially in the case of lost lives. As mentioned before, save the ones who can be saved, but ensure stiffer sentences for those who cannot. Why do you think crime went down in America since the ‘80s? It’s in large part because our prison population went up. Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction, which I believe will only cause crime to rise.

As the decades went by, “progressives” have increasingly felt sorry for the perpetrators of crimes, at the peril of their victims. The death penalty became life in prison and life in prison became 20 years. How many times have we seen murderers released early, when they weren’t supposed to ever see the light of day; including “cop killers.” America over time has become soft on punishment. Why doesn’t China have as high a percentage of incarceration as we do? It’s because their death penalty and “work” prisons are a great deterrent. Why do you think that theft in some Middle Eastern countries isn’t rampant? Because some of those countries will cut your hand off for punishment. Now I certainly don’t support these draconian penalties, but we’ve definitely gotten too soft.

When I worked narcotics, we would routinely lock up drug dealers for possession, possession with the intent to distribute and distribution in a school zone. This is, as I’m sure you’re aware, three third-degree crimes. Why is it ALWAYS downgraded to one? Yes, in some cases they ratted out a high-level dealer for clemency, but I’ve seen reductions simply because the prosecutor didn’t want to go to trial. And hell, with the overburdened court system, who has time for a trial? But unfortunately, this prosecutor’s way of thinking isn’t just for the punk dealing on a street corner. It’s also many times, for armed robbers, rapists, and murderers. Did it ever occur to anyone that if we give a murderer a life sentence, and we actually keep him locked up until he’s dead, we’ll never risk him killing one of our loved ones? If we make the armed robber actually do the ten years, that’s ten years that he won’t be able to pull a gun on anyone else. Those street thug drug dealers we locked up would laugh, and say, “No problem, I’ll get my three squares a day, hang with some friends, and be back out dealing in no time; my boy will watch my corner.” Jail was just an “occupational hazard,” nothing to be overly concerned with. Does ANYONE actually think our feckless system is a serious deterrent?

Today, at times, it seems like the insane are running the asylum. How wonderful that New Jersey now has bail reform. Drug dealers are released so they can continue peddling poison to our youth. (Didn’t I hear something about a heroin epidemic?) Perps elude police officers in high-speed chases; others resist arrest by fighting and/or running away, proving themselves to be incorrigible. People arrested on warrants for not coming to court are released, so they can “not” come to court again. And worse, NO ONE seems concerned with officer safety, especially with these insane sanctuary city policies. Allowing someone to abscond from the law only puts officers and the public at risk when there is a later confrontation in re-arresting the wanted person. Politicians across the country have totally lost their minds in supporting sanctuary cities, just ask Kate Steinle’s parents. Hey, some liberal politicians want to eliminate ICE, what’s next, the sheriff’s department?

Pat Ciser is a retired lieutenant from the Clifton Police Department, and a 7th Degree Black Belt. He was a member of 5 U.S. Karate Teams, winning gold medals in South America and Europe. He is the Author of BUDO and the BADGE; Exploits of a Jersey Cop (BN.com/Amazon), and is a guest writer for Official Karate Magazine.