A recent court filing indicates that the Washington State Attorney General’s Office believes that denying a prospective tenant with a felony conviction is racially discriminatory. Ref; Kiro7 report “WA Attorney General: Racist for landlords not to rent to felons”
“In Washington, racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system. African Americans are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated at higher rates than non-African Americans. As a result, criminal history restrictions on housing justified by a legitimate nondiscriminatory interest and is tailored … a housing provider’s blanket policy prohibiting tenants based on criminal history discriminates based on race or color.”
In my experience as a landlord, and looking up laws concerning “civil asset forfeiture”, it makes sense to discriminate against felons. The laws are so loose regarding civil asset forfeiture, that if a property is connected to a crime in any way, even if there is no criminal conviction, the government entities investigating the asset can seize the asset just based on alleged association with a crime. Whether it is city, county, state or federal entities, there are many agencies that make 10s of millions of dollars a year in civil asset forfeiture, even with there has not been a single conviction. Back in 2008 I wrote a blog about this phenomenon;
As a former landlord, and a potential investor, I would have major anxiety about investing in Washington state, because it is an established fact that most felons do not get rehabilitated and continue to commit more felonies.
Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found high rates of recidivism among released prisoners. … Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested. Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year. Dated Jun 17, 2014
Since felons more often than not become repeat offenders, there is a 76.6 percent chance that a landlord’s property will be used in the purposes of criminal activity. So why would any landlord be comfortable allowing a felon rent in their property? There would have to be some assurance from the regulating agencies (police, sheriff, DEA, DOJ, etc) that if a landlord rents to a felon, that the landlord’s property will not be at risk of civil asset forfeiture. Otherwise this precedent and the new renter protection ordinance in Seattle will only drive more housing opportunities and more investors out of the city. Which will only make rent prices go up, and will decrease housing opportunities for those who are in low income brackets.
This is another case of the government creating more harm out of trying to do good.
KTTH’s Todd Herman state’s the AG is using a “web of dictates” rather than looking to change the standards and deal with the real issues: Getting families back together, increasing graduation rates, etc.
“Is there any concern here in this state at all about why — Why more African-Americans are arrested and charged?” Herman asked. “Or is this the way we’re going to solve the problem, by not letting landlords screen out felons? Which one will solve the problem?”
I fully agree with Mr. Herman on this.
In a recent facebook discussion on this issue, I was called a racist by a social justice warrior who agreed that it is racist to discriminate against felons.
This was my response to claims that discriminating against felons is racist.
The SJW says before I commented:
“Clearly you people did not read the article, or it went right over your head. Felony convictions are handed out in a racist fashion, disproportionately distributed to people of color – thus any judgments based solely on a felony conviction, without regard to the crime committed, time served, etc., is going to perpetuate the impact of said racism, and continue the inequality we see in our country that leaves our citizens of color struggling to survive amidst the weighty burden of discrimination.”
My response to this was:
“Still, a felony is not a race.
Also yes black violence is extreme, and thus that group gets more attention from police. Last FBI stats I read. Which I think were from 2011, I would have to check. But basically 6.6% of the population (black males) are responsible for just less than 50% of the murders in the USA.
That is not that police pulled a person over, planted crack on them, and then took them to jail. That is that one man, pointed a gun at another man (or a knife or whatever) and took his life.”
So it may seem that one group is more effected by felonies than other groups. Well yes, they are.
The SJW responds:
“First off, i would like to see what stats you are quoting because those numbers seem unlikely, second, disenfranchisement due to racism leaves people in shitty situations, in bad neighborhoods, desperate for resources, etc. So if you want to start going off on how black men are criminals and they deserve a disproportionate amount of felonies compared to the rest of the population, why dont we start talking about the racist sentencing practices that leave white offenders free to go about their business without a felony conviction for the same crimes; or we could talk about the perpetual racism that leaves black families disenfranchised to begin with. Either way, its clear that every aspect of our judicial system is racially biased, and suggesting that black people are just criminals so they deserve what punishment they get is just a way to excuse the racism that keeps black people stuck in a cycle of disenfranchisement. And excusing racism is the same thing as racism. Im not interested in hearing any racist bullshit rhetoric.”
So I gave her the facts, since she would not look at the Breitbart link that I had provided in the conversation, I copied the links from the Breitbart article to the FBI data on the FBI website.
“You said that you doubted my sources because it was from a Brietbart link. Which I suspect the knee jerk reaction from you, means that you didn’t even follow the link to find that the research comes from the FBI and DOJ, and the links were provided all over the article directly to the FBI website and the DOJ website.Please any 3rd party follow this link and tell me if you are able to easily find the links to the FBI and DOJ website’s where this data is linked to?These are the links to the sources:Now all that I have asked you for is for you to do the same thing that you asked me to do, which is to provide correct facts and reliable sources.
I can accept that the FBI is wrong, if you can prove it. “
This video uses the words of Ben Shapiro and a mentor of mine the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Black Lives Matter Now and Then