Is this the country for which our soldiers sacrificed their lives?
By now, most Americans are familiar with the shocking stories of everyday Americans getting arrested for simply opening businesses that don’t even attract large crowds. However, fewer are aware of the other side of this dystopian and tyrannical equation. As salt-of-the-earth small business owners are being marched into the jails, career dangerous criminals are being marched out of the jails and prisons in astounding numbers.
According to UCLA, which is tracking this data, 67,000 criminals have been released throughout the 50 states. The majority of the criminals, 43,000 of them, have been released from the nation’s jails, and 24,356 were released from prisons.
Consequently, given that we know the shocking degree of recidivism even among criminals more carefully selected for release, we can add victims of crime due to coronavirus jailbreak as the latest long-term death toll from COVID-19, or at least from the governmental reaction to it.
Remember, this has nothing to do with fear of prisoners dying of coronavirus. Just a few hundred deaths have been recorded out of a population of 2.2 million inmates, lower than that of the general population. In most prisons, the overwhelming majority of those who got the virus have been asymptomatic and are now already immune and have been for quite some time. Thus, there is no reason to release large numbers of convicted criminals, most of whom are young and healthy.
This has everything to do with accelerating an already dangerous de-incarceration movement, which is why you shouldn’t hold your breath and wait for them to be re-apprehended after the virus burns out.
According to a brand-new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2018, the combined federal and state incarceration rate in prisons had already dropped to the lowest levels since 1996. Over the past year and half since that data collection, that decline has likely accelerated given the recent sweeping jailbreak policies enacted in so many states.
Despite the common complaint of over-incarceration among African-Americans, the incarceration rate fell 28 percent just in the 10 years from 2008-2018. That is for prisons. In the nation’s jails, the incarceration rate has plummeted so steeply that, for black residents, it was lower in 2018 than at any time since 1990. Again, that was before some of the recent law changes abolishing or limiting bail in many states and counties.
As such, those who had remained in prison as of early this year were the worst of the worst.
Consider the insanity of Hawaii. The state has released roughly 38% of the state’s entire jail population. This is a state where there are just 17 COVID-19 deaths overall and no confirmed cases in jails. Yet they emptied them of criminals. In early May, a 20-year-old Hawaiian was arrested for murder just two weeks after being released out of fear of the virus! At the same time, the state has the strictest lockdown in the nation. One man was arrested for posting photos of himself at the beach after the fact!
As I’ve noted throughout this crisis, so many of these criminals are extremely dangerous and have dozens of arrests on their rap sheets, yet they are deemed eligible for release if the last crime for which they are serving time is supposedly “low-level.” In the dystopian thinking of these politicians, that entitles them to a lower risk of dying of the coronavirus than the rest of the country. Yet, at the same time, they have zero problem placing the ultimate low-level “criminals,” aka you and me, in jail with no concern that we may catch the virus there.
The recidivism of these people is unbelievable. According to the New York Post, out of the 276 shooting incidents in New York City so far this year, 19 percent of suspected or arrested gunmen having been released this year. Also, 13% of the incidents’ more than 315 victims were also out on parole. Thus, we have created a shooting war among released criminals. Ironically, they are much more likely to die from homicide than from the virus.
It’s not just other criminals who are victims of those released from prison. In Washington State, a career felon who was just released was arrested after allegedly attacking a woman on a hiking trail and nearly choking her to death. A man convicted of armed robbery was released early in Denver and is now accused of murdering a young woman less than a month after his coronavirus jailbreak.
As of 2018, at 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 persons, anyone outside a nursing home is several hundred times more likely to be victimized by a violent crime than to die of coronavirus. With the release of so many more criminals since 2018, that risk has likely grown exponentially. Has anyone asked Dr. Fauci to simulate a model of these forgotten COVID-19 deaths?
Between releasing criminals while arresting small business owners and locking down the healthy while downright infecting nursing homes with 4,300 sick patients sent back from hospitals, this is no longer the country for which our soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice. For the sake of their memory, it’s time to take back our republic this Memorial Day.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the data came from the ACLU. It actually came from UCLA. The article has been corrected. CR regrets the error.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.