John Bel Edwards wants to release 5,500 inmates in Louisiana. The Republicans have accused Edwards of being a local version of Barack Obama. Edwards has refuted this time and again. And then this happened, which should really throw a wrench in things:
Local sheriffs across America are voicing concern for the safety of the citizens they’ve sworn to protect after the biggest one-time release of federal inmates in U.S. history — though advocates of criminal justice reform maintain the release is being handled responsibly.
The 6,112 inmates were released from federal prison at the beginning of November in response to a decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce sentences for most drug trafficking offenses and apply them retroactively. It coincides with a broader and bipartisan push for rethinking federal sentencing.
But the mass release raises immediate practical questions about how the ex-inmates can adjust.
“There’s no transition here, there’s no safety net. This is the biggest sham they are trying to sell the American people,” Sheriff Paul Babeu of Arizona’s Pinal County told FoxNews.com.
Of course, John Bel Edwards is nothing like Barack Obama. He wants to release only about 600 fewer in Louisiana than Obama did nationwide.
The sheriffs around the nation are asking the absolute right question for this situation: How do we guarantee this doesn’t go badly? The answer is, of course, you can’t. It’s one thing to decriminalize certain drug charges, but it’s a whole other thing to just take a bunch of people and release them at once. The problem is that you can’t guarantee those who were simply arrested on drug charges weren’t into some other shady stuff as well. It’s just an assumption.
And this is what Edwards wanted to do in Louisiana? And the Sheriff’s Association is down with this? Man, are we screwed. Luckily, David Vitter is going to win, so it’s all gonna be okay.