On Friday, over 3,000 nonviolent offenders are planned to be released from prison thanks to criminal justice reform legislation passed last year by Donald Trump.
The First Step Act was passed in 2018 and designed to give relief to crowded prisons and those who had committed nonviolent crimes who were serving unduly lengthy sentences, due to harsh crime laws passed in the 1980s and 90s.
Feds release 3,100 inmates under First Step Act https://t.co/0PFtx01d7I
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) July 19, 2019
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The Daily Wire reports:
The Wall Street Journal profiled Derrick Walker, who has spent the past 13 years in prison on a mandatory life sentence. Walker plead guilty in 2006 to possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. He had two prior drug convictions and was sentenced to life in prison as part of a mandatory sentencing policy.
On Friday, he will walk out of prison along with around 3,100 others.
The Journal reported that more “than 1,690 federal inmates have qualified for release under the resentencing provisions of the law, and nearly 1,100 have already walked free.”
Many of those were, like Walker, sentenced for crack cocaine, which carried a stiffer penalty than powder cocaine. Crack was used more prevalently by African-Americans while whites mostly used the power.
There shouldn’t be stiffer penalties for crack over cocaine, which has led to a wide racial disparity in incarceration. Nonviolent offenders also shouldn’t be spending a better part of their lives in prison when murderers and rapists sometimes spend less time.
President Trump agreed.
The First Step Act was pushed by Republicans like Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Democratic supporters, but also high profile celebrity advocates like Kim Kardashian.
Once the bill passed Congress, President Donald Trump signed it despite some pressure within the GOP to veto the legislation.
But Trump did as he pleased, as usual.
First Step Act Righted Some Old Wrongs
Touting the First Step Act in his State of the Union, Trump invited Matthew Charles, the first person to benefit from the new law. Charles had been given a 35 year sentence in 1996 for drug charges.
35 years? That’s not right.
The DOJ shared achievements of the bipartisan First Step Act, citing sentence reductions for crack cocaine offenders & the implementation of federally-funded inmate programs to reduce repeat offenses, such as:
• drug treatment
• job training
• trauma counseling
• education pic.twitter.com/KEansKVULh
— POLITICO (@politico) July 19, 2019
While in prison, Charles became a preacher and taught GED classes to other inmates. He was released in 2015 after receiving a shorter sentence, and then, tragically, an appeals court ruling sent him back to prison.
Thanks to the First Step Act, Matthew Charles is a free man today–for good.
This is one of the crowning achievements so far in the Trump presidency, but don’t expect to hear as much about it in the left-leaning mainstream press.
But rest assured, nonviolent offenders who are finding a new lease on life today and in the future due to the new law are more than thankful.