Last week, a handful of conservatives, including Lt. Col. Allen West and Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz, went after the bipartisan First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that has the backing of the President and many conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Our complaint: why would the GOP support a bill that releases violent criminals and illegal immigrants?
According to legislative proponents of the bill, protections and benefits for both of these groups of felons have been eliminated in the next version of the bill that will reach the Senate floor. They reached out to West over the weekend to let them know they heard the concerns and are addressing them.
The First Step Act is supported by many conservatives and law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National District Attorneys Association. There are other proposals offered by those on the far left under the same banner of “criminal justice reform” that would release people from prison without regard to the danger they pose, including illegal immigrants and serious violent offenders. We must remember that there are some folks who are, well, as the ol’ folks would say, “just bad.” Additionally, some left-wing professors even propose abolishing all prisons partly based on their notion that the system is racist in nature. Hmm, I tend to believe that skin color or race has nothing to do with a person deciding to break the law. I just do not want us to go down the path of having criminals believe that there are no consequences, ramifications, for their actions and behaviors.
The legislators echoed our concerns and said the version that is currently available doesn’t reflect the changes that cut the loopholes. They say it will be impossible for these two groups – serious violent offenders and criminal illegal immigrants – to get the benefits of the bill. Many felons will be released early. Future felons will be given lighter sentences. That makes sense for many, but by no means should anyone in either of the two most dangerous groups receive sentence reductions, according to the letter to West.
Call me cynical, but lately I’ve changed my general rules regarding promises of politicians. It used to echo President Reagan’s stance on nuclear disarmament: “Trust but verify.” I now have to go with a more adversarial stance on political promises: “Show me proof, then we’ll talk.”
When the legislation is made available to the public, many will take a close look at it. I’ll personally be checking to see if there are any loopholes that would put violent offenders or criminal illegal immigrants back on the street sooner. If so, it’s a no-go for me.