Inmates committing crimes out on bond frustrate local law enforcement

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Law enforcement officers are constantly dealing with a disturbing cycle.

Suspects who have been arrested and released on bond return to the streets to commit more crimes.

That’s resulting in more arrests and more frustration for officers.

Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins explains some problems his deputies feel.

“It’s very frustrating for us. When we have seen a defendant commit multiple crimes, we get him in custody, we put them in jail now we can take a deep breath and relax a little bit and say okay our problem is solved this guy is in jail. He makes bond gets out of jail and now he’s right back on the street committing the same crime again,” said Hawkins.

West Point Assistant Police Chief Meaders and many in law enforcement feel there is a misconception of how much authority they have after they book a suspected criminal.

“Our job as law enforcement we can only to enforce the laws that are on the books and once that person is arrested he’s taken back before a judge, then that judge set that bond. If a person is out on bond and they go out there and commit another crime, it’s not our fault that this person is out on bond. The system gives that person that opportunity,” said Meaders.

Judges consider many factors when setting bonds.

They also have the ability to revoke, raise, or lower those bonds.

Meaders says he’s concerned for the community when bonds are reduced.

“If the bond is reduced then family members need to know that this person’s bond has been reduced and there is a likelihood of getting out of jail. Let the family of the victims know and if the victim is still living let the victim know,” said Meaders

Crime is always going to be with us, and those in law enforcement know they can’t arrest their way out of the problem.

Sheriff Hawkins says one way to get criminals to give up committing crimes is to give them the skills to do something better with their lives.

“We can’t just throw everybody in jail and expect the problems to go away. We’ve got to have programs in place to rehabilitate these people while they’re in custody. Programs that educate them, a GED, make them more marketable when they get out of jail so they can be more productive,” said Hawkins.

While there is no one solution to this problem.

Many in law enforcement believe higher bonds would keep suspects off the streets until they can go to trial.

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