Law to Shield Black Youths from Prison Stigma Led to “Pattern of Violent Offenders Returning Rapidly to the Streets and Committing More Crimes”
A law enacted in the nation’s capital by a crackhead mayor to “protect African American youths from the stigma of lengthy prison sentences” has resulted in a pattern of violent offenders returning rapidly to the streets and committing more crimes. A disturbing series published by Washington D.C.’s mainstream newspaper reveals that hundreds of criminals who received lenient sentences under the measure have gone on to rob, rape or kill.
The law, Youth Rehabilitation Act, was passed in 1985 under Mayor Marion Barry, who resumed his political career after serving time in prison. During his third term as D.C. mayor in 1990 Barry famously appeared in an FBI surveillance video smoking crack and subsequently got convicted on drug charges. After completing his sentence, Barry was elected mayor again before successfully running for a city council spot. Barry’s legal troubles continued until his 2014 death, with tax evasion charges, illegally steering a bogus city contract to his girlfriend and taking a cut for himself and stalking a former lover. Shortly before his death, Barry got busted for steering millions of District funds to dozens of his favorite groups, including at least six “nonprofits” founded by him.
Much like Barry’s political career survived a multitude of scandals and illegal behavior, his effort to protect fellow criminals has endured. The measure was intended to give minority offenders a second chance by letting judges issue shorter sentences for violent crimes and allowing the convicts to erase their criminal record. “The original intent of the law was to rehabilitate inexperienced criminals under the age of 22,” the news story states. Instead, it has enabled many to embark on crime sprees with little consequences. The newspaper investigation found that “hundreds have been sentenced under the act multiple times.” The law allows offenders to avoid mandatory prison time for certain violent gun crimes and gives judges the power to assign “rehabilitation” instead of jail. In dozens of cases D.C. judges issued sentences below mandatory minimum laws crafted to deter violent crimes. “The criminals have often repaid that leniency by escalating their crimes of violence upon release,” the article states.
The frightening consequences of the 30-year-old D.C. law come in the aftermath of President Obama’s efforts to rehabilitate—rather than punish—criminals and lower federal prison sentences to reduce racial discrimination. The administration asserts that minorities, especially blacks, are disproportionately incarcerated for longer periods, especially when it comes to drug-related offenses. So, the president signed a law that for the first time in decades relaxed drug-crime sentences he claimed discriminated against minority offenders. The measure severely weakened a decades-old law enacted during the infamous crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged urban communities nationwide in the 1980s. Under Obama’s measure, the feds released thousands of drug convicts whose sentences were too long under the old guidelines.
Earlier this year a convicted crack dealer who left prison early as part of Obama’s mass release of federal inmates was indicted for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her two kids in Columbus, Ohio. The gory crime drew national attention because the children, ages 7 and 10, were murdered to eliminate them as witnesses in the brutal massacre of their 32-year-old mother. The crack dealer, 35-year-old Wendell Callahan, should have been in jail when the crimes occurred.