Seattle Considers Plan To Give the Poor and Mentally Ill a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

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What one critic calls “a green light for crime” is now under consideration by the Seattle City Council. A legislative proposal would allow individuals accused of most misdemeanor crimes to use substance addiction, mental illness or poverty as a legal defense to avoid punishment, according to KOMO-TV. The proposal has been bandied about as part of the city budget process. Council member Lisa Herbold said it would be a way to reduce the $20 million the city spends jailing people every year. “This bill as proposed only provides a defense,” she said, according to KOMO. “It’ll still be up to a judge or jury to decide whether or not it’s a good defense.” Herbold said the city cannot afford to continue its current policy.

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