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Is the First Step Act working as planned?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2019 | criminal defense |

The First Step Act was a wonderful bipartisan plan to help reduce the populations in federal prisons. The goal was to release low-level offenders while leaving the violent criminals behind bars. The focus was really on releasing drug offenders who committed minor acts. This was quite a popular idea that received a lot of support since such offenses are often a part of the narrative in Florida when discussing the racial issues associated with incarceration and the movement towards legalizing marijuana. However, Fox News presents information that shows the release of prisoners has included violent offenders, including sex offenders.

The first wave of released inmates included 2, 243 people. There were only 960 of those who were in for drug offenses. That left 118 who were in there for burglary, 106 who were in for robbery, 496 who had weapon charges and 239 sex offenders. Others released had homicide or aggravated assault charges. They are all now back on the street.

The sad part is that there are many low-level drug offenders still inside prison walls. Plus, there were more white inmates released than minority inmates. So, the goals of the Act are not being met in the first wave.

The excuse was that many of the people released would have already been released despite the Act due to coming to the end of their sentences. Although, that is little comfort if you or your loved one is behind bars for a low-level drug crime and you thought this Act would help you. This information is for education and is not legal advice.