Ed Driscoll

The Barbarism in Chicago

“Arrested 396 times, woman knows how to work the system,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports in a droll headline, which minimizes the real reason she’s been arrested so many times:

Since 1978, Chicago Police alone have arrested Miles 396 times, mostly on the North Side — under at least 83 different aliases. Those arrests include 92 for theft, 65 for disorderly conduct, 59 for prostitution-related crimes and five for robbery or attempted robbery.

The frustrating truth: The system — strapped by overcrowded prisons and cuts to mental health funding — hasn’t been able to save Miles from herself or to help the communities she menaces. Nothing has worked. Not jail. Not prison. Not countless psychological exams for the woman described as being “acutely psychotic.”

Miles is a master at working the system, says Rolon. She fakes seizures that mean costly hospital visits. She gets judges to delay her cases. And then she returns to the streets to be arrested again and again — so many times that she ranks in the top 1 percent for all current CPD arrestees.

To the relief of many, Miles, 51, is currently in prison in downstate Lincoln. Police arrested her last August, when — after a day of allegedly slapping, punching and generally harassing folks on a stretch of Broadway in Uptown — she is accused of chasing after Ald. James Cappleman (46th). That arrest landed her back in prison for a possible parole violation of a 2010 conviction for robbing a 75-year-old Bosnian immigrant at knifepoint.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board is set to decide whether Miles violated the terms of her parole; if she did, it’s likely she’ll be held until April 2014, when her parole expires.

Mujo Cesic, Miles’ victim in the knife robbery, wants another option.

“She should never be released,” said Cesic, a firefighter in his native Bosnia who spoke through a translator.

“The perils of deinstitutionalization. Might as well give Clayton Cramer a plug here,” Glenn Reynolds adds.

It’s yet another reminder that Chicago, despite its gleaming Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture, vestiges of better days, really is a 21st century sinkhole:

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