San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

The Police Should Not Be Allowed
to Manufacture Criminals

Manufactring criminals means the police practice of enticing someone who otherwise would not have committed a crime to do so. Take this true case. The police had captured A selling the drug Methamphetamine. He was offerred a reduced sentence if he would get them another arrest for selling Meth. A then called B, an acquaintance of his he knew to be a user of Meth. A depicted himself as a user who temporarily could not get the drug from his usually source and was desparate. He offerred an unusually high price for a quantity that he was sure that B as a user would have on hand.

B fell for the enticement. Meth is a drug that severely affects a user's judgement either directly or indirectly through the lack of sleep. Meth in effect makes a user stupid but makes him think he is smart. So B decided to sell A a portion of his stock for a substanial amount of money and to help out a fellow user in a desparate situation.

When B took the drug to A's place and turned it over in return for the money the police tackled him and put him under arrest for transporting and selling Meth. He got a three term in prison; the state got the substanial cost of incarcerating him for three years, something on the order of $50,000 per year. The police were able to record two arrests for drug dealing instead of just one. B's life was more seriously degraded than it already was and his family accordingly devastated.

It is hard to believe that society's interests were served in this episode that is repeated time after time. It is unfortunate that many, and perhaps all, will break the law if the reward is high enough. In the real world people are not faced with that high enough inducement and therfore they do not break the law. But in a situation of police enticement a high enough enticement can plausibly be offered. Therefore the police are manufacturing criminals and then incarcerating them at g.reat public expense. The only purpose served in this abominable practice is that the police are able to show the public a higher arrest rate.

Enticing someone to sell drugs results in a cost of about two hundred thousand dollars to try that person and incarcerate him or her for three years. Is the public's interest really served in manfacturing criminals to be arrested?

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