Armed Robbery & Batman: Funding Heroin Addiction in the Dead of Night
When darkness descended, clad in the raiment of long-loved vigilante Batman, the Family Dollar store clerk may have found the Bruce Wayne impersonator eccentric, but not an armed robber. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he was, according the police authorities in Orlando. Juan Carlos Nieves Morales, our unjust robber of the night, was arrested and is suspected of eight armed robberies, according to UPI.
Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself:
The reasoning behind the string of robberies between January and February? Addiction. Heroin addiction to be specific.
Sheriff Jerry Demings is quoted by Click Orlando,
“We had some witnesses that chased him from [I Love New York Pizza- his latest robbery] in an attempt to apprehend him, or at least see which way he was going; our detectives followed up which way they had gone and recovered a phone,”
“He appears to be a heroin addict with a probably $1,000-a-day addictions habit,”
“We still have a significant issue in this community with heroin addicts and this is just a way, even though we’re working on prevention and intervention side, enforcement had to be a part of the overall strategy for reducing the prevalence of heroine in this community,” said Demings.
For those who would argue drug “addicts” spur crime where there would otherwise be none; their solution? Lock them away. Time and time again, as states begin to amend their laws regarding treatment VS incarceration, treatment always outperforms the latter. Yet this argument is typically slated for non-violent drug offenders.
Perhaps it begs the question, should Nieves Morales be allowed to circumvent his sentence by completing treatment? I can hear the resounding “NO” already. But consider this:
If Nieves Morales’ crime spree is perpetuated by his chronic addiction, why should we not treat him? Not only would this solve the underbelly of his criminal activity, but it would restore his ability to eventually become a successful contributor to society.
As for the aggressiveness of his crime? I agree he owes a debt to be paid. Perhaps a time of incarceration, but this cannot be the singular answer. A well designed reform school with measurable objectives of helping inmates to live wholly and without the behaviors perpetuating things illicit would serve both our communities and inmates well.
What can we hope for inmates to learn locked up in a cell? If we treat criminals like “animals,” they will always remain so. The structure of our current criminal justice system isn’t working, so perhaps it’s time for a new approach.
What do you think about treatment for violent drug offenders? What about reform programs?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.