The U.S. is Getting Smart on Crime

4.2 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated $125 million wholesale, seized by the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier February 16, 2017 (photo: DEA)

Almost Everyone Likes the First Step Act

What do the ACLU, Charles and David Koch, Kim Kardashian West, Van Jones, Mark Cuban and President Donald Trump all have in common? They all support the First Step Act. Rarely has any issue gained as much of this kind of bipartisan, widespread support. Considering the vast number of people imprisoned in the U.S., there is little doubt that prison reform is long overdue.

Now, the First Step Act includes measures such as:

  • Plans to reduce federal incarceration with a new system for calculating early release using “good time” credits.
  • Plans to immediately release 4,000 people convicted on low-level drug offenses through retro-active credits.
  • Improvement to prison conditions; placement of inmates closer to their families and the banning of shackling women in labor.
  • Increased inmate exposure to rehabilitative programs that help reduce re-offending.

One More Small Change

Among others, the Association of Federal Narcotics Agents, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Major County Sheriffs of America and the Major Cities Chiefs Association have all called for one more critical change before the First Step Act is passed:

13 tons of dangerous drugs worth more than $220 million seized by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard in 2008 (photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles)

Don’t Ignore Experts

With so much to recommend it, and so much bipartisan support behind it, plus President Trump’s recently expressed eagerness to sign it, let’s not in our haste ignore the experts and dismiss their objections to relaxing sentencing rules for drug traffickers and criminal warlords. “Billionaire druglords” with vast criminal networks and major financial resources. As the security at the currently ongoing trial of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in Brooklyn alone proves, these individuals are incredibly dangerous.

Will “El Chapo” Stay in Prison?

Under the First Step Act, can the American public, and the brave men and women who brought him to trial, be sure that “El Chapo”, if convicted, will remain in prison?

The Opioid Crisis in the U.S.

Drug and Terror-linked Crime

Manufacturing and distributing cocaine, heroin and opioids is a violent crime; it creates widespread and systemic violence. Violence is an unavoidable tactic for a vast illegal organization whose members are criminally inclined, cannot rely on authorities to redress wrongs and cannot ever be fired.

Not a Victimless Crime

In the U.S. 49,068 people lost their lives to opioid addiction in 2017 alone. They left behind families devastated by loss. In their appeals to Mr. Kushner, members of federal law enforcement agencies also remind us, rightly, of another incalculable loss in human lives.

Major Drug Traffickers and Terrorist Organizations

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