Citizens in cook county in Illinois on April 10th woke up without a county judge. Early that morning around 5 a.m. 66-year-old Judge Raymond Myles was fatally shot outside of his home. His girlfriend, 52, was wounded but is thankfully not in critical condition. I would describe this as an attack on the justice system I participate in. But it also highlights a fundamental flaw in the correctional prison system. This is not the prime suspect, Earl Wilson’s first altercation with Illinois law. Having already served 12 years back in 1992, Wilson shows how certain prisoners should have changed through the correctional system but have found themselves in a loop instead.
This story gained national recognition as the first murder of a judge from the Chicago-area in thirty years. Wilson is being charged with 27 counts including attempted murder, first-degree murder, aggravated battery, armed robbery, and unlawful restraint. Bruno Law Offices states that the potential punishment for first-degree murder is anywhere from 20 years to life in prison. Joshua Smith, 37, is a suspected accomplice in the case as the getaway driver Wilson supposedly used to escape the crime scene. All in all, Chicago saw 762 total murders back in 2016. This number is higher than 2015 but lower than 1992, the year Wilson first faced criminal charges which saw 943 murders. Wilson’s first charge in 1992 was an attempted murder and his release was back in 2004. Something failed Wilson the first time he found himself blown through the correctional system and now he’s back on the loop of unresolved conflict and potential crime. The National Institute of Justice states that back in 2011 approximately 1,900 prisoners were released daily back into American society. The hardest thing for a former convicted person to accomplish post release is finding work. Research from the Urban Institute indicates that only about half of all released prisoners find work in the first year they are released. Earl Wilson was officially arrested on April 26 of this past year.
The Judicial System in America may not be perfect but the murder of a county judge will never change anything. Grief and anguish can only follow such acts of violence. If found guilty Wilson should spend long years in prison to reflect on his life and hopefully grow wiser with age. The point of the prison system is to reform convicts back into law-abiding citizens so that they can go back to work, and fuel the ever running economy. However, when people like Wilson slip through the cracks good people can pay with their lives.
Whether or not the court finds Wilson guilty, a larger problem rests under the surface of the legal system. Unless some reform is done throughout the entire correctional system, many more people like Earl Wilson will continue to be stuck in a feedback loop of being forgotten and a life of crime.