Legislation nearing passage in the Senate will reverse decades of progress in reducing crime.
Originally designed by Republicans to improve conditions in prisons, the bill has been hijacked by Democrats to slash sentences and release dangerous criminals.
But because of its earlier incarnation, President Donald Trump — perhaps impelled by advice from his son-in-law Jared Kushner (whose father was in prison) — is backing the bill.
He's mistaken. It's a bad piece of legislation.
The bill, called the First Step Act, would:
1. Immediately make retroactive Obama's Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced crack penalties to the lower levels imposed for cocaine possession. The theory was that blacks used crack and whites used cocaine. But the bill equalized the sentences by lowering the crack penalties. It should have raised the cocaine sentences instead. This change will trigger the almost immediate release of 2,600 federal prison inmates.
2. Give judges the authority to bypass federal sentencing guidelines and impose lower sentences — precisely the kind of judicial discretion that led to the slap-on-the-wrist sentences that caused the crime wave of the '60s and '70s.
3. Dilute the "three strikes" sentencing provisions imposing 25-year terms for a third felony conviction.
4. Increase time off sentences for all criminals — violent and otherwise — by one week per year served, allowing the release of 4,000 inmates the day the law takes effect.
The bill is really the "first step" in pursuing the Democrats' agenda of decriminalizing crime by sharply reducing the number of people in prison.
Citing statistics on the racial composition of the inmate population and the higher incarceration rates in the U.S. relative to European countries, progressives argue that we have "mass incarceration" in America.
It is not racism that leads to the disproportionate incarceration of blacks, but the fact that African-Americans commit more crime.
According to 2013 federal crime data, blacks accounted for 51 percent of murder arrests and 57 percent of murder victims.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is leading the fight against the bill. Despite its highly liberal provisions, a majority of Republican senators are indicating that they are likely to approve it.
We need to stop the momentum behind this dangerous bill.
Please sign the petition opposing it, found at https://dickmorris.rallycongress.net/ctas/demand-congress-vote-no-first-step-act. When you enter your ZIP code, we will send your email to your senators and congressman.