Carlos Eldon Alcon of Colorado is a “one-man petty-crime wave,” says the Denver Post. He has been been arrested more than 90 times since 1975. He is also one of the under-the-radar problems Gov. Bill Ritter’s new criminal justice task force faces as it looks at sentencing laws and the problem of repeat offenders. No one knows how many criminals like Alcon there are out there. There is no database to set off alarm bells when arrests creep into high numbers. Misdemeanor offenses add up to a huge, and expensive, problem. Says Kathy Sasak of the Colorado Department of Public Safety: “It’s a sad commentary but a reality of the system. They keep going through the sieve.”
For many, the pattern involves repeated bad habits. After release, they dive into alcohol or drugs, shoplift, trespass, violate restraining orders, blow off court dates or violate probation and end up back in the booking room – sometimes within days. A member of the new Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice calls Alcon’s situation “a fascinating case study that capsulates many of the issues” the group will examine. Sasak says “some very good things are happening in Colorado,” with a few jurisdictions taking quick post-court steps to lessen recidivism.