Mayor Opposed to Arresting Drunks

Mayor Blake Caravati, in an interview in today’s Progress, said that he favors bringing drunks to the Mohr Center (the detox house on East Market) instead of arresting them. Said Caravati, “[P]utting them in jail when they’re dead drunk doesn?t do any good.” Sounds like a good policy to me.

2 thoughts on “Mayor Opposed to Arresting Drunks”

  1. How do other states handle this situation? In Massachusetts, public drunkeness isn’t a crime, as I recall.

    When I was growing up there, I remember my mother explaining to me – while we were watching a scene in an old movie about a drunk person being hauled off to jail – that people weren’t treated that way any more.

    She said that that was how drunk people were treated in the bad old days, before more enlightened, compassionate voices were heard. This conversation took place in the late 1950s.

    It’s 2001, and in Virginia, those voices, perhaps led by the mayor of Charlottesville, are just now making themselves heard.

    About bloody time, don’t you think?

    Janis Jaquith

    author of “Birdseed Cookies: A Fractured Memoir”

  2. This would be a smart move for a whole bunch of reasons.

    Does anyone remember the guy (what was his name) a few years back who got hauled into the C-ville jailhouse for public drunkeness and died there? He had sustained a head injury shortly before being arrested. The cops had mistaken his symptoms of concussion and skull fracture for drunkeness.

    That kind of thing can happen again and it’s a major lawsuit waiting to happen. By allowing medical professionals to deal with all the drunks, the city can avoid the situation of requiring police officers to make medical judgement calls that they just aren’t equipped to make.

    Besides, creating an arrest record for someone over a victimless crime is only going to it more difficult for a recovering alcoholic to return to the world of the living. I see no public interest in permanantly branding those who are merely obnoxious for an evening.


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