With an overcrowded jail the District Court here in Whatcom County tries to hand out fines, when it can, for misdemeanor offenses. My question: Is this really a good idea?
Many of these misdemeanors are for shoplifting and other minor offences and are often committed by people who have drug addiction issues. Many of these people also do not have any kind of employment. And if you don't have a job then you have no way to pay a fine unless you go steal something and either pawn it or otherwise sell it on the black market. And to me this just seems to be a little counterproductive.
With our state still feeling the effects of recession and our parks and trail systems falling apart doesn't community service work with Department of Natural Resources make more sense?
Wouldn't trail clearing and park cleaning be cheaper then a night in jail or a fine that isn't going to get paid anyway? Even with a meal and a ride to and from the trail or park this seems to be more of an appropriate sentence to me.
And why not reopen the Boy Scout camp near Silver Lake and use it as a community service workers camp when not needed by the Scouts? That way the camp could be reopened with the costs being shared by the Scouts and Whatcom County with the community service workers performing all of the maintenance when not doing trail clearing work.