DECEMBER 15, 2015
In the aftermath of President Obama’s mass release of federal inmates, the administration is spending huge amounts of taxpayer funds to help the prematurely discharged convicts reintegrate into society, most lately $20 million to assist them in finding jobs.
It’s all part of the commander-in-chief’s broader effort to reform the nation’s criminal justice system as a way of ending racial discrimination. The initiative was technically launched back in 2010 when the president signed a measure that for the first time in decades relaxed drug-crime sentences he claimed discriminated against poor and minority offenders. This severely weakened a decades-old law enacted during the infamous crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged urban communities nationwide in the 1980s. As part of the movement the U.S. Sentencing Commission lowered maximum sentences for drug offenders and made it retroactive.
Last month the administration began releasing 6,000 drug convicts it claims are “non-violent” offenders whose sentences were too long under the old guidelines. News reports have already surfaced contradicting the administration’s assessment that the newly released convicts are not violent. Among them is the leader of a multi-million dollar operation that smuggled drugs from Canada to Maine. Prosecutors refer to the 29-year-old con as a “drug kingpin” who was one of “America’s Most Wanted.” Shortly before the administration’s mass release of drug convicts, federal prosecutors warned that drug trafficking is inherently violent and therefore the phrase “non-violent drug offenders” is a misnomer. The nation’s prosecutors also cautioned that reducing prison sentences for drug offenders will weaken their ability to bring dangerous drug traffickers to justice.
Nevertheless, the convicts will continue being discharged from federal prisons nationwide before completing their sentence and Uncle Sam will fund their transition into society. Just a few weeks ago Judicial Watch reported that the administration is spending $1.7 million on a “re-entry program” to ease the transition from prison and ordering public housing facilities not to reject tenants with criminal records. A key component of the program is a joint venture between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help public housing residents expunge or seal their criminal records. The administration considers these “Americans who’ve paid their debt to society” and need the government’s help to “rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.”
This month the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it is spending “$20 million in additional funds” to help end the “cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration.” State and federal prisons release more than 600,000 people annually without the benefits of a steady job, according to an agency announcement, that concludes “far too many are likely to return.” So this allocation, on the heels of the administration’s mass release of federal inmates, will fund programs that educate and train ex-cons for jobs. “Throughout our nation’s history, we have always been the land of opportunity, even for those who have made mistakes or fallen on hard times,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “As a country, America remains strongest when everyone has a chance to contribute to our communities and our economy. These grants extend ladders of opportunity to formerly incarcerated adults to make a positive difference in our nation.”
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