The purpose of locking up criminals is to remove them from society for a time. This is both a punishment to the criminal and a bit of protection to society. After all, a locked-up crook can only break so many laws and almost none of them impact ordinary citizens.
Right now, we’re having something of a surge in violent crime. It seems communities of every size are dealing with a spike in violent crime.
Into this maelstrom, the city of Washington, D.C. has a plan to release a number of violent felons from prison.
In its last legislative session of the year, the D.C. Council passed legislation to allow some violent felons to seek early release, despite pushback from the mayor and Metropolitan Police.
The Second Amendment Look Act now goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser for approval, but the 12-1 council vote means the bill is veto-proof. The sole opposer was outgoing council member Brandon Todd, Ward 4 Democrat.
Congress, which has oversight of D.C. laws, must give it final approval.
The measure was introduced last year by council member Charles Allen, Ward 6 Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. It expands the age limit of the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act, which the council enacted in 2016.
To qualify for early release, an inmate must have committed the crime before the age of 25, up from age 18, and have already served 15 years in prison.
Council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, suggested two amendments that were rejected by her fellow lawmakers. One would have required a judge to consider the underlying nature of the crime; the other would have given substantial consideration to the victim or family, not just the victim impact statement.
I mean, sure, 15 years in prison is a long time, sure, but for some people, it’s simply not long enough. Many of these are people who hurt others in carrying out their crimes. Further, these are likely to be very serious crimes. You don’t get more than 15 years for jaywalking, after all.
And this is during a massive spike in violent crime? How does anyone think this is a good idea?
And the group pushing for this? Oh, their take is amazing.
“This new law will not let everyone out of prison, but it will stop us from throwing everyone away,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “No one is safer when people who pose no risk to the public remain in prison. In order to reduce unnecessary incarceration, reunite families, and give people second chances, we have to revisit extreme sentences.”
These are people who hurt others in many cases. You don’t get these long sentences for petty theft or vandalism. You get these for some pretty serious crimes, including violent crimes. Further, while many of these are drug cases not directly tied to violence, you’re deluding yourself if you think someone moves up in a drug organization enough to warrant a 15-plus year prison sentence without being part of some violence.
And they’re just going to let hundreds of these people back out onto the streets. At a time when every community is seeing some degree of increase in violent crime.
Honestly, is it any wonder the District of Columbia isn’t exactly a nice place to raise a family?
Don’t be surprised when violent crime increases in the city and they start screaming about how they need more gun control. They don’t. They need criminal control. Plus, it seems they need politician control as well, because that is going to be at least part of the problem.