Friday, December 2, 2016

Jail: A Learning Experience?

The Lafayette County Detention Center stays busy,
especially on weekends.
Oxford police have recently been cracking down on DUI and public intoxication arrests. It is not surprising that a lot of these arrests are students at Ole Miss. What is surprising is the amount of repeat offenders OPD sees. The return rate in America's prisons is 62.8 percent, with Mississippi at 60 percent.

"There are a number of programs we have in place with the University and government agencies trying to help people avoid being repeat offenders," Major Sheridan Maiden of the Oxford Police department said.

Jail is supposed to be a punishment that teaches you a lesson, but are the people who continue to break the law really learning anything? Perhaps law enforcement is too quick to arrest. Many people believe Oxford police prefer to arrest students because they're an easier target. Oxford police have in the past used students they arrest, put them in harm's way even, as a means to reach an end.

"I really don't feel police in Oxford like arresting students as much as some people think," sophomore Lindy Stevenson said. "When they arrest you, they have to."

Stevenson was recently arrested for driving under the influence. She said she would rather be arrested than hurt somebody, and her arresting officer was just doing his job.

In contrast, sophomore Matt Wyatt has been arrested four times in the past ten months. Three of these incidents occurred in Oxford. All of them were either DUI or public intoxication charges.

"It was bull****," Wyatt said of his second arrest. "They arrested me just for falling over. I mean I was drunk but I was fine."

Wyatt is under the age of 21, so he was aware he was breaking the law. Although the crime rate in Oxford is not very high, he feels that "law enforcement should focus less energy on arresting drunk college students and more on arresting actual criminals."

So what is it really like to get arrested in Oxford, MS? Many people think things like this won't happen to them, but Wyatt and Stevenson thought that too. Watch the video below for a closer look:

Check out OPD's social media!

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