When a Hartford, Connecticut woman awoke to the sound of glass breaking, her instincts were to flee to safety. Finding a safe room in her home, she locked the door behind her and immediately dialed 911. Officers, along with a K9, arrived on the scene within minutes.
Approaching the broken glass door where the intruder was able to gain entry, the K9 immediately alerted officers that someone was still lurking inside. After searching through the various rooms within the home, police found their culprit.
56-year-old Leroy Mims was found hiding in a bathtub brandishing a knife and stolen jewelry. Mims attempted to flee the scene, but police K9 Rosco was able to corner him while human officers took him into custody.
As it would turn out this wasn’t the first time Mims had a run-in with the law. The occasion would mark the 131st time Mims, a convicted felon, had been placed under arrest within the city of Hartford and had amassed a total of 46 convictions throughout his lengthy criminal career.
While Mims’ arrest record seems prolific, his case is not unusual. According to Deputy Chief Brian Foley, “There’s an issue with re-entry. People get arrested and they get put back on the streets. Resources aren’t there. It becomes less an issue of crime and more an issue of poverty.”
A study conducted by the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics followed 404,638 inmates after their release in 2005. Within five years of their release, over half of the former inmates studied “had a parole or probation violation or an arrest that led to imprisonment within five years.”
Lack of opportunities are likely to drive a person into poverty and those with a checkered past are likely to fall into old habits in order to survive, Foley explains.
“People want to be frustrated with the cops and the courts for putting these people right back out into the city,” Foley told Fox 22. “But the fact of the matter is, when they’re getting released, the resources just aren’t there for them, for jobs education and they fall back into the same habits.”
With this in mind, there has been heated debate whether rehabilitated felons deserve a second chance at both job opportunities and education. While organizations like the Goodwill and the Salvation Army work towards rehabilitating former felons and assist them in getting back to work, some cities are pushing for area businesses to employ felons who can “prove they’ve been rehabilitated” by abstaining from committing crimes for a certain number of years.
Poverty has the potential to increase crime and crime creates poverty. It becomes a vicious cycle that can only be stopped if county jails, state-run prisons, and local representatives are willing to step in and push for companies to employ more individuals with a criminal past. Refusal to provide meaningful employment to past offenders has only proven that it can produce life-long criminals like Mims and many others.
Mims is currently being charged with home invasion, second-degree larceny, first-degree criminal mischief, carrying a dangerous weapon, and interfering with police. His bond has been set at $100,000.