The U.S. Justice Department announced this week that thousands of federal prison inmates who were sent home due to the pandemic will not be required to return to prison to serve their sentences. The DOJ reversed an opinion by the Trump administration’s Department of Legal Counsel stating that the Bureau of Prisons “must recall prisoners in home confinement to correctional facilities” if they do not meet the normal home-arrest criteria.
Nate Hochman at NRO has the details. He calls the Garland DOJ’s reversal what it is — “effectively a jailbreak, engineered by left-wing activist groups such as the ACLU and the Justice Action Network under the pretenses of public health.”
Hochman notes that the Biden DOJ originally agreed with the position of the predecessor administration. However, after months of pressure from activist groups, the pathetic Garland did an about face.
It appears that approximately 3,000 criminals will avoid returning to prison thanks to the Garland jailbreak. Many, I assume, will be characterized as “low-level offenders.” But we’re talking about criminals who broke federal law, including drug laws. Federal prisons house very few drug offenders, or other kinds of inmates, who properly can be characterized as “low level.” And a great many federal prisoners committed more serious crimes than they were convicted of, but benefited from plea deals.
A deal is a deal. These prisoners must be presumed to have committed only the crime of which they were convicted. But by the same token, they should serve the prison sentence they agreed to in the deal.
There is no justification for the Garland jailbreak.