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Dept. Of Pre-Crime: Florida Sheriff Harassing Pre-Criminals

What could possibly go wrong, other than civil rights violations?

Pasco County in Florida has created its own office of Pre-Crime, just like the Minority Report! (Only with the Sheriff's Office playing the part of the pre-cogs.) Now they're sending out letters to the people they're surveilling. Via the Tampa Bay Times:

Last year, a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that the Sheriff’s Office creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks and other unspecified intelligence. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.

Targets and their relatives, including four who are now suing the Sheriff’s Office in federal court, described the tactics as harassment and a violation of their constitutional rights. National policing experts drew comparisons to child abuse and surveillance that could be expected under an authoritarian regime.

The Times also found that the agency has a separate program that uses schoolchildren’s grades, attendance records and abuse histories to label them potential future criminals.

Sounds kind of like Catholic school, only with actual cops, fines and threats. Now they're sending out letters to the pre-criminals warning them nicely that they'd better shape up!

But the four-page letter from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office goes on to tell recipients they will be facing enhanced police scrutiny under the agency’s controversial intelligence program.

“You may wonder why you were enrolled in this program,” the letter continues. “You were selected as a result of an evaluation of your recent criminal behavior using an unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community. As a result of this designation, we will go to great efforts to encourage change in your life through enhanced support and increased accountability.”

The way they "encourage change"?

Deputies showed up at homes at all hours of the day and night, writing tickets for violations like overgrown grass and making arrests for any reason they could find.

By 2020, some 1,000 people had been ensnared. About 100 were 18 years old or younger.

The new letter to so-called “prolific offenders” says its purpose is to communicate the agency’s “sincere desire” to help recipients “begin a new path.”

I'm sure it'll be just fine. Who wouldn't benefit from all that special attention?

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