Everything seems to be making its way into the coronavirus rescue bill, except of course for what should be in there. But now, some elements of the White House are looking to include a bill that will release some violent federal prisoners.
Throughout the country, blue-state politicians have been insidiously using the coronavirus outbreak to release prisoners under the guise of not spreading the virus. The logic makes no sense, but it’s not surprising given their long-standing desire to reduce the prison population at all costs.
On Saturday, the White House office of legislative affairs sent a message to Senate staff requesting they pass H.R. 4018, a bill to grant federal prisoners over the age of 60 early release, “as soon as possible.” In case you thought the convoluted logic of using the coronavirus crisis to push the jailbreak agenda was limited to big-city liberal politicians in Baltimore and California, this memo made clear there are those in the White House pushing it.
“Older inmates are at a unique risk to be affected by the Coronavirus,” read the email from the White House legislative affairs office, which I obtained from a Republican Senate office. “A congressional fix to allow older inmates to be placed in home confinement can help reduce the risk of community spread in a crowded environment.”
This is utterly ridiculous. The Bureau of Prisons has long shut off visitation to prison facilities and has taken proper precautions to prevent an outbreak. Prison is the ultimate quarantine.
H.R. 4018 would expand on a jailbreak program under the First Step Act. Currently, the prisoners in question are eligible for home confinement after serving two-thirds of the term of imprisonment to which they were sentenced. This bill would make them eligible for release after serving just two thirds of the reduced sentence after all the new good time credits recently created by the First Step Act are factored in. It therefore allows them to double-dip and further accelerate the date of their release.
By and large, those serving time in prison at that age are those who committed the worst crimes imaginable. This bill would lop several years off their existing sentence reductions.
However, we must also be concerned that Jared Kushner and the Koch staffers working in the White House will use this as an opportunity to let out even more people immediately. On Friday, the infamous Al Sharpton claimed in a tweet that he called the White House to “consider the homeless and incarcerated amid COVID19.” According to Sharpton, Trump personally called him back to discuss it.
This week, in the spirit of unity, I made a moral appeal to the @WhiteHouse to consider the homeless & incarcerated amid #COVID19. To my surprise, @realDonaldTrump called me to discuss it. If Trump can call a critic like Al Sharpton, we can *all* find it in us to come together.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) March 20, 2020
Then, during Sunday’s night’s press conference, in response to a reporter’s question, President Trump acknowledged he is considering such a jailbreak. Given the zeal of Jared Kushner in pushing jailbreak and his involvement in the coronavirus task force, we must be concerned that they will follow what the blue city mayors did, on the federal level.
This is creating a second-order public safety concern amid the health concern, because criminals are being released and others are not being arrested, while many businesses and stores remain vacant. Meanwhile, some of the same cities, such as Anchorage, Alaska, that are leaving open marijuana stores are now forcing gun stores to close. For example, in New Jersey, where they are contemplating a mass prison release, it’s now impossible for a first-time gun owner to purchase a weapon to protect himself, because all gun stores have been closed down by the governor.
Consider that in Hawaii, you are facing up to a year in prison for violating the mandatory stay-at-home order. But what happens if a criminal attacks your home or property? Good luck getting him arrested or protecting yourself. In much of the country, you cannot open your business, but if you loot a business under mandatory vacancy, you will not be arrested.
One would expect such policies to be rigorously opposed by this White House. Is it too much to ask that we don’t have Senate Republicans pressured by this administration into passing the most extreme liberal bills amid all the vital policies they should prioritize instead?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.