House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) latest Chinese coronavirus relief package includes a mandate that federal inmates, as well as local convicts and illegal aliens, be released from jail so long as a court considers them “non-violent” offenders.
Pelosi’s plan would order the release of federal prisoners, illegal aliens in federal immigration detention facilities, and local convicts if they are considered by the courts and judicial officers to not be a threat to the community.
Of course, violent criminals often plead down to shorten their prison sentences. Federal data released in 2018 revealed that more than 97 percent of federal convicts had taken plea deals rather than going to trial for more serious criminal charges.
A summary of the legislation notes:
During a declared national emergency relating to a communicable disease, mandates the release into community supervision of federal prisoners and pretrial detainees who are non-violent and, for instance, pregnant women, juveniles, older prisoners and detainees, and those with certain medical conditions. Modifies probation and supervised release policies to avoid unnecessary in-person contact with probation officers and to reduce the numbers of those supervised and those imprisoned for violations. Mandates the release of non-violent pretrial defendants on their own recognizance. [Emphasis added]
Provides $600 million in funding to address the COVID-19 crisis in state and local prisons and jails, including $500 million to states and local governments that operate correctional facilities to provide testing and treatment of COVID-19 for incarcerated individuals by creating two grant programs—one focused on the release of low-risk individuals who are currently incarcerated and another aimed at reducing COVID-19 exposure for those individuals who are arrested; $75 million in funding to a new grant program to encourage states and localities to adopt practices that promote juvenile safety and rehabilitation without unnecessarily exposing youth to incarceration during this crisis; and $25 million for a grant program for state and local governments that operate correctional facilities for rapid testing of inmates who are leaving correctional custody. [Emphasis added]
This section requires DHS to review the immigration files of all individuals in the custody of ICE to assess the need for continued detention. Individuals who are not subject to mandatory detention shall be prioritized for release, either on recognizance or into an alternative to detention program, unless the individual is a threat to public safety or national security. [Emphasis added]
Two provisions of Pelosi’s plan allow judges to reduce the sentences of felons and abolishes fees for pre-trial inmates so they can be released without posting bail:
During the COVID-19 emergency, expands court authority to order compassionate release for federal prisoners and to reduce sentences, and removes administrative barriers that slow the ability of prisoners to seek compassionate release. Authorizes courts to temporarily release persons who have been sentenced, but have not yet been transported to a Bureau of Prisons facility, to protect them from COVID-19. [Emphasis added]
Authorizes the establishment of a grant program that distributes funds directly to state and local courts, with the condition that they impose a moratorium on the imposition and collection of court-imposed fees and fines during the COVID19 crisis. [Emphasis added]
Already, thousands of inmates are being released from county and local prisons across the U.S. — including nearly 200 illegal aliens convicted of violent crimes, convicted sex offenders, suspects accused of murder, and repeat violent offenders. In New York City, alone, nearly 1,700 inmates have been freed from prison in the last two months, along with 830 inmates in Massachusetts, more than 4,500 inmates in Illinois, and more than 5,500 inmates in California.