Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Trick or Treat?

While many Americans were stocking up on Halloween treats for neighborhood children, that same weekend, the Obama administration released 6,000 felons from federal prison. This is the largest one-time release of prisoners in American history. I doubt that federal halfway houses have the capacity, or that federal probation officers have the ability to supervise that many prisoners released all at once. Yet the 6,000 felons are just the first group of 46,000 federal prisoners who are now eligible to apply for early release, and 8,550 more of them were to be set free by October of 2016. All those prisoners had been convicted of serious drug trafficking offenses and sentenced to at least 10 years in federal prison.

Even those numbers don’t tell the whole story. A bill pending in the Senate – which has attracted the support of several Republicans who should know better – would permanently reduce the prison sentences for serious drug trafficking. There are many things wrong with our criminal justice system, such as federalizing crimes that should be handled at the local level and criminalizing offenses that don’t deserve to be punished with prison time. I have written many columns pointing out examples of unjust criminal punishments, but the sentencing reform bill doesn’t address any of those problems.

The sentencing reform bill and the impending prison release are built on the false premise that it’s unjust to punish “nonviolent” drug offenses.

The drug traffickers who were released in October, and will be released over the next several months, are not in prison merely for using drugs or possessing a small quantity for their own use. They were convicted of trafficking, transporting or delivering a substantial quantity of dangerously addictive substances, under direction of the Mexican gangs who control the drug trade in our country.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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