Reports of recidivism are cropping up as several states continue to take the highly questionable measure of releasing suspected and convicted criminals from jail to prevent coronavirus outbreaks.
According to Fox 32, Joseph Edward Williams, a drug suspect with a lengthy record, was released as part of Hillsborough County, Florida’s effort to reduce jail populations and protect inmates, along with deputies and civilian workers, from the virus.
The very next day, however, Williams was arrested for murder.
According to the sheriff’s office, Williams was in jail on charges of possession of heroin, a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor.
The 26-year-old was one of 100 inmates given bond last month, but now he is in custody for a murder that took place on March 20 along Ash Avenue in Tampa’s Progress Village neighborhood.
Williams now faces new charges of second-degree murder, resisting an officer with violence, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Records show he was arrested Monday.
“There is no question Joseph Williams took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail awaiting resolution of a low-level, non-violent offense,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said this week, announcing the arrest. “Every murder, every violent crime, especially those involving a gun, is a sickening example of the worst in our community, especially at a time when our community is working relentlessly to fight against the spread of this deadly COVID-19.”
The sheriff’s office also reported that Williams’ rap sheet included two felony convictions, including burglary of an unoccupied conveyance in 2012 and felon in possession of a firearm in 2018, along with five misdemeanor convictions.
This latest incident marked Williams’ 35th arrest. He is currently back in jail with no bond.
We’ve already seen incidents of convicted pedophiles being released and even put up in Holiday Inns just minutes from residences with children—and all without so much as a warning to local law enforcement.
“We weren’t told by anyone,” said Greece, New York Chief of Police Patrick Phelan. “I think good practice would be if you’re going to release convicted felons. Some of them very violent some of those level 3 sex offenders, you might want to give law enforcement the heads up.”
States and localities participating in this dangerous experiment clearly need their priorities readjusted. The safety of the community is not below the safety of any individual, especially a convicted criminal.
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