Boston police officers arrested Anthony Williams three times in two days last weekend–for drug possession, trespassing, and auto theft. The issue of the justice system’s allowing repeat offenders back on the streets despite serious charges is not a new one but one that has reached a crescendo. Last week, 18 defendants arrested on default warrants for jumping bail in a Boston police initiative dubbed Operation Red Zone were released within hours – back out on bail on a second charge after failing to show up in court in connection with the case that prompted the default warrant.
“In many instances, we are locking up the same people multiple times. We see the same impact players time and time again,” said Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole. “There are huge serious systemic challenges that the police cannot solve alone.” Those challenges have prompted Mayor Thomas Menino to insist on changing the law to give judges more power to set tougher bail conditions –and give felons the maximum sentence for their third offense. Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley announced creation of a gun court that would deal with defendants charged with weapons crimes, decreasing the potential for offenders with several firearms arrests to be released on low bails.