On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 79 prison inmates in an effort to expedite his clemency push before the next president takes office.
“We have two months left before the inauguration,” said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston. “I anticipate we will keep going until the end.”
To date, President Obama has commuted the sentences of more inmates than all of the last 11 presidents combined. With his guiding hand, a staggering 1,023 inmates have had their sentences commuted. The majority of those granted special clemency were convicted of non-violent offenses, in particular drug-related crimes. However, exactly 342 inmates were serving life sentences in prison. The president began his clemency push in 2014, and he’s been unapologetically expanding the initiative ever since.
In the last month and a half alone, the president has shortened the sentences of 351 federal inmates.
The disaster releasing all these criminals into the general public is compounded by the fact that recidivism rates are astronomically high for even “non-violent” criminals. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports: “Prisoners released after serving time for a property offense were the most likely to recidivate. Within five years of release, 82 percent of property offenders were arrested for a new crime, compared to 77 percent of drug offenders, 74 percent of public order offenders and 71 percent of violent offenders.”
Not surprisingly, high recidivism rates across the spectrum of criminal offenses are clearly evident in the data compiled by the bureau. “An estimated two-thirds (68 percent) of 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 were arrested for a new crime within three years of release from prison, and three-quarters (77 percent) were arrested within five years, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today,” cites BJS.
Drug offenses, often linked to other violent crimes, are a bane to society. Drug slingers invade urban communities and damage the moral fiber of that society. They hook children and adolescents on gateway drugs, making them a victim of a lifetime of addiction. These very criminals are now set to retake communities all across the country, putting the safety and security of America’s urban residents at risk.
Simply put, rehabilitation has not been an effective method of solving the drug problem in this country. The data prove that point. Criminals incarcerated for drug-related crimes return to jail like windup toys:
Released prisoners who were incarcerated for a violent, property or drug crime were more likely than other released inmates to be arrested for a similar type of crime. Regardless of the incarceration offense, the majority (58 percent) of released prisoners were arrested for a public order offense within five years of release. An estimated 39 percent of released prisoners were arrested within five years for a drug offense, 38 percent for a property offense and 29 percent for a violent offense.
Sadly, President Obama ignores the facts. Worse, his own administration oversees this very research on recidivism rates. The danger of Obama’s prison release plan is as clear as day. Yet, this president refuses to do his primary job as Commander-in-Chief and look out for the safety of the American people. Adding insult to injury, he endangers public safety behind a comfortable desk in the Oval Office. Brace yourselves for a brave new world. This is Obama's America.
Obama has attempted to justify his clemency initiative with the idea that releasing prisoners will save taxpayers millions of dollars. The flaw in this logic is clear. The only good reason for the federal government to collect taxes is to keep the public safe. Tax collection for the purposes of military and law enforcement services serve the public good. If the president had actually cared about saving money for taxpayers, he would perhaps consider slashing increasingly expensive entitlement programs, which comprise the bulk of the federal budget.