We’ve written from time to time about America’s under-incarceration problem — the fact that criminals whose records clearly show they should be in jail are instead free and on the streets committing violent crimes, including some very bloody, high-profile ones.
Here’s the latest example. Two brothers have been charged with the murder of 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge in Chicago. Aldridge, the cousin of basketball star Dwayne Wade, was shot to death while pushing her new born child in a stroller. She was returning from registering other children of hers at school. Aldridge was not the intended victim, according to the police.
The brothers charged with the murder of Aldridge are Derren Sorrells and Darwin Sorrells. Both have extensive criminal records and would have been in jail had they served their full initial sentence.
Derren Sorrells is a documented gang member, according to this report. He has a total of six felony arrests.
When he shot Aldridge, Derren Sorrells was on parole for motor vehicle theft and for escaping custody, and was on his daily break from an electronic monitoring bracelet. He had been sentenced to six years, but served only four.
Darwin Sorrells was on parole for receiving, possessing or selling a stolen vehicle and for unlawful use or possession of a firearm by a felon. In 2013, he was sentenced six years in prison. However, he was released in February of this year, according to police.
In 2011, Darwin Sorrells had been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and sentenced to five years — a term he obviously did not complete. He also has felony convictions from 2007 for aggravated battery in a public place and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.
It seems inconceivable that this guy was on the street rather than in prison. But to those who are aware of America’s under-incarceration problem, Darwin Sorrells’ freedom comes as no surprise.
Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is all too aware of the under-incarceration problem. Responding to Aldridge’s murder, he said:
This tragedy isn’t just noteworthy because Ms. Aldridge has a famous family member. Rather, it shows that the cycle of arrests, convictions and parole isn’t changing the behavior of those who repeatedly commit crimes.
Clearly, they don’t think we’re serious. Clearly, they don’t think there’s a consequence to their actions. And to be quite honest, we’re showing them that there’s not. If we’re not going to keep you in jail because you choose to use a gun — then what are we doing?
The question should be put to President Obama. Approximately 20 percent of the nearly 600 federal prisoners whose sentences Obama has commuted are criminals who violated firearms laws.