The left is at it again, looking to provide leniency to criminals while attacking the rights of law-abiding citizens. We wrote yesterday about the left’s attempts to paint deserter Bowe Bergdahl a victim, while demonizing SFC Charles Martland, whom many of us would argue should be deemed a hero.
And, of course, we’re all painfully aware of heightened attacks — from the White House and the left at large — on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment freedoms in the wake of last week’s Oregon shooting. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s making a move to expand the freedoms of 6,000 inmates.
From Fox News:
A push to overhaul criminal sentencing is prompting the early release of thousands of federal drug prisoners, including some whom prosecutors once described as threats to society, according to an Associated Press review of court records.
About 6,000 inmates are due to be freed in the coming month, the result of changes made last year to guidelines that provide judges with recommended sentences for specific crimes. The Justice Department says roughly 40,000 inmates could benefit in coming years.
Many of them are small-time drug dealers targeted by an approach to drug enforcement now condemned by many as overly harsh and expensive. But an AP analysis of nearly 100 court cases also found defendants who carried semi-automatic weapons, had past convictions for robbery and other crimes, moved cocaine shipments across states, and participated in international heroin smuggling.
Supporters of lighter drug sentences say there’s no evidence that longer punishment protects public safety. Studies show that inmates released early aren’t more likely to reoffend than those who serve their entire sentences.
Still, the broad spectrum of defendants granted early release — including some about whom prosecutors not long ago raised dire warnings — underscores the complex decisions confronting the government as it pursues an overhaul of drug sentencing.
Of course, the narrative being espoused around this unprecedented release is that these are all “small-time” criminals who’d received unduly harsh sentences — that ultimately result in overcrowded prisons that come at a high cost. But the AP reports finds there are significant exceptions to this. Exceptions that could present a real threat to citizens once they are back on the streets.
“I’m a career prosecutor. I’m a law-and-order girl, and I believe that you need to send dangerous people to prison for a very long time,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. “But I think that we need to be smart about deciding who are those dangerous people.”
Willie Best, a one-time District of Columbia drug dealer whose sentence was already cut under crack guideline changes, had an additional month taken off and is due out in 2016.
Prosecutors in 2008 said Best helped run a drug-dealing organization, shot at someone he believed had stolen from him and, after fleeing, was found in a stolen car with an assault rifle. His lawyer described him as the product of a troubled, impoverished upbringing. Best, in an interview from prison, called himself a loving father who bears no resemblance to his past self.
“It’s been a long time coming. Eight years is a long time,” he said. “I came in one way. I’m coming out another.”
This is another issue. Even in the best case scenario that an offender was not truly violent, what’s happened since being incarcerated? What’s the mindset now? We’ve seen plenty of cases where a criminal goes into prison and simply learns to become a better criminal while locked up.
The first wave is due around Nov. 1, and most of those getting early release are already in halfway houses or under home confinement. Others will be released to immigration authorities for eventual deportation.
Though the commission has repeatedly amended the guidelines, including narrowing the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences that resulted in disproportionately long penalties for blacks defendants, the latest revision is its most sweeping because it covers all drug types. It delayed implementation by a year to allow judges time to review requests and weed out inappropriate candidates.
“Nothing to date comes close to what this shift is likely to produce over the next decade or so, starting this year,” said Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project, an advocacy group.
The action, along with an Obama administration clemency initiative and directives against mandatory minimum sentences, is part of a national effort to rethink punishments for a drug offender population that comprises roughly half the federal inmate count.
New bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing spending on a prison system that sucks up nearly one-third of the Justice Department budget would give judges greater sentencing discretion and ease penalties for nonviolent criminals.
I really have to wonder if deportation will actually happen to some of these ex-cons. This administration has always been less than enthusiastic about deporting anyone — and we just reported here, that situation is even worse than we’d imagined.
You also have to wonder — what does the Justice Department plan to do with the budget savings it realizes from releasing these prisoners? Perhaps something worthwhile like studying the gender identity of the prison population? I shouldn’t joke, as it may just be a little too close to reality, given that just this week our nation’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declared that Border Patrol agents must now consider not only the sex of the criminal they are detaining, but the “gender identity” of the individual and how they feel and identify.
It goes without saying that crime in this country is out of control, and you really have to wonder if releasing this many criminals out in to the population is the best course of action.
Meanwhile, the attack on law-abiding gun-toting citizens continues…