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Horowitz: The rarity of police shootings compared to black homicide victims is astonishing

Planes crash all the time. How do I know that? We always hear about them on the news.

That is the sort of intellectual rigor most people apply to the assertion that there is a public policy problem of police shooting unarmed black people. They believe in this premise and take it on faith simply because the media focuses on every single one of them, even though most of the shootings are justified. It’s the ultimate optical illusion the media is able to create, the same way it often appears that planes are crashing all the time and that somehow, we need systemic reform of flight safety.

In February, the Los Angeles-based Skeptic magazine published a survey showing that roughly half of self-described liberal or very liberal respondents believe 1,000 or more “unarmed black men” are killed by police every year. Approximately 35% of them believe that number is as high as 10,000 or more. Even among self-described moderates, 66% believe “about 100” or more unarmed black people are killed every year, as well as 54% of self-described conservatives and very conservative respondents.

The reality? According to the Washington Post’s database on police shootings, 18 unarmed black people were killed by police in 2020 and 13 in 2019. It should be noted that “unarmed” doesn’t necessarily mean unarmed. In some cases, media reports are often wrong or don’t give proper context, such as when the criminal doesn’t cooperate and then reaches into his pocket while running away and whips around back at cops. Other instances include a suspect severely beating another cop or civilian. The overwhelming majority of these cases tend to be justified, if also tragic, shootings.

Likewise, when people were asked what percentage of those killed by police were black, every group overstated the reality by a factor of 2-4, including even self-described conservatives. Liberals believed black people accounted for 56%-60% of police shootings, moderates estimated the share at 46%, and conservatives ballparked it at 38%.

In reality, 23%-27% of fatal police shootings in 2019 were of black people. While that is more than their share of the general population, as I’ve noted many times, given the disparity in violent crime rates and how most murder and armed robbery occur in non-white neighborhoods, the number of fatal shootings per capita is likely greater among white people. This is what a Michigan State University study found before the author was fired after woke protesters intimidated the school when authors like Heather Mac Donald and I began citing it.

Everyone knows that cops feel much less inhibited in responding with quicker and more deadly force when dealing with a threatening person who is white. As we saw with Ashli Babbitt, not only was the cop not charged, but to this day his name has not been released. Every single cop who kills a black suspect, no matter how justified, has his name dragged through the media within hours, endangering his entire family. This is a natural deterrent against unjustified force, particularly when dealing with black suspects.

Thus, this notion that unarmed black people being killed by police is somehow an epidemic is the new UFO sighting. It’s a myth because, if anything, the trend is going the other way. Overall police shootings have been down dramatically, as much as 90% among NYPD officers over the past five decades. In 1971, NYPD officers discharged their weapons on the street 810 times. That number has declined steadily over the years and has remained well below 100 in recent years.

A black individual is more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a policeman. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, there were 6.5 million police interactions with black people in 2018. At between 1 in 300,000 and 1 in 500,000, their chances of being killed by a cop are pretty similar to the chances of being struck by lightning. And of course, for those who don’t run from or fight with the police, their chance of death is essentially zero.

What is the true epidemic of violence among black people? Black victims of homicide, most often at the hands of black career criminals who are undeterred because of the wrong public policy focus. According to the CDC, the black homicide rate was 12.9 times higher than the white homicide rate from 2010 to 2015, and homicide was the leading cause of death for black people under 35.

How often do you hear that in the news?

What’s worse is that those numbers have likely deteriorated with the growing crime wave, tragically and ironically born out of the policies built upon the lie of police indiscriminately shooting black people. Thanks to the BLM agenda on policing and sentencing, as well as the effects of the rioting, we experienced the sharpest increase in homicides in 2020, a trend that has continued into 2021.

Crime expert Sean Kennedy of the Maryland Public Policy Institute estimates there were at least 4,000 excess homicides last year. Given that, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 55% of homicide victims whose race was known were black, that means that the BLM agenda caused at least 2,200 excess homicides last year, 116 times more than the number of unarmed black people shot by police. The numbers are likely much worse because, given the geographical distribution of the excess homicides, they were likely heavily weighted toward black victims as well as black suspects.

What is it that BLM ultimately wants? They want police stops and arrests to end and incarceration to be abolished. Well, according to a new research report from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), police stops and arrests indeed declined, on average, 48% in 10 major cities from June 2020 to February 2021 relative to the previous nine-month period from 2019-2020. The results? Murders rose 56% in those cities. For example, in Minneapolis, arrests were down 42%, while murders rose 64%.

This graphic presentation from the LELDF of five violent cities is worth 1,000 words:

Indeed, this is what happens when our politicians allow the media to exacerbate a real crime epidemic with a panacea targeting a fake one.

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Horowitz: Why Daunte Wright’s aggravated robbery charge matters so much

Here we have yet another example of a saintly youth needlessly shot dead by police simply because he was black.

That is the narrative the media wants you to believe about the Daunte Wright shooting, but the reality is that while the shooting was obviously a clear mistake, his criminal record and the fact that he was not behind bars are precisely why the police are now confronted by violent fugitives who either run or fight with them.

No, Daunte Wright was not just a young man living an upstanding life who wound up dead because the police pulled him over for an expired car registration or for an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. According to documents obtained by the U.K. Daily Mail, the outstanding warrant police were attending to after they pulled Wright over was for aggravated robbery at gunpoint.

According to charging documents, Wright was sleeping over at the house of a young woman after a party on Dec. 1, 2019, when he suddenly pulled a gun on her and demanded she hand over money she had obtained from an ATM. He proceeded to choke her and threaten to shoot her while she kneeled.

After he was arrested, Wright was released from jail after a bondsman posted $40,000 bond, but in July 2020, his bail was revoked by a judge when he was caught with a firearm, a violation of his bail, and failed to check in with his probation officer.

Wright is one of thousands of young males in every major city of this country who have become increasingly violent, successfully thwart the law, suffer few consequences, and thus feel invincible against law enforcement.

We often hear protests and hand-wringing over the fact that young men, black or otherwise, wind up dead because of “stupid crimes” or a traffic stop. But in almost every case, there is a reason for it. In a previous era, these people would have been behind bars, but recently our justice system keeps them on the streets. When police confront them, either to serve a warrant or often because of lower-level traffic stops, the criminals – either because of their violent nature or because they know they have reason to fear the law – explode. They fight because they are criminals and they know that police are now watched closely and treated as if they are the ones on probation.

Many violent career criminals are often caught committing low-level crimes. Cops approach them as if they are innocuous, just as in this case, where clearly the cops treated him just as anyone else pulled over during a traffic stop. But there’s something interesting about violent criminals who barely serve time for past offenses: They are not deterred from acting violent again. Cops never know when someone is going to turn violent on them.

Obviously, this particular case is anomalous, because the cop meant to fire the Taser after Wright resisted, but tragically picked up the gun, a reality borne out clearly by the bodycam video. But police are confronted with these situations more and more, which will trigger stress-related responses — appropriately or inappropriately — that get themselves or others killed.

So what is the answer?

Do we terrorize the police into being even more passive? Well, we need not speculate about the consequences of such a strategy. The past 11 months or so show that the body count in our major cities is set to skyrocket to levels we’ve never seen before. Those who fight with the police are not the sort of people who will live very long within the civil population without exhibiting violence. If the police ratchet down their encounters by laying off warrants and terminating traffic stops, law-abiding citizens will be the new line of defense … and body count. That is already happening.

With woke judges refusing to hold almost any repeat violent offender and with few of them ever getting convicted and serving meaningful time, we will have more people like Raquan Wilson out on the streets. This is just one of endless examples, but a Brooklyn, New York, judge recently released Wilson on charges of illegal weapons possession, even though he had four open cases for packing loaded pistols and for armed robbery.

Just like Wright, Wilson, 19, had been charged with pointing a gun at someone’s head. At just 15, he was also arrested for attempted murder and then a slew of other crimes over the past two years, including one incident in which he allegedly pistol-whipped his victim in an armed robbery. All through the process, he was bailed out on extremely low bail and appears never to have served time in prison, despite breaking the condition of his bail in the most dramatic way imaginable.

Wilson was arrested a few weeks ago during a traffic stop and was caught in possession of a gun. Luckily for the cops, Wilson did not resist arrest, but his criminal record was never even brought up during his bond hearing by the woke judge or Soros prosecutor, and he is out again. Multiply this story times 1,000, and you have endless scenarios where cops are pulling over people and discovering their violent records, often with outstanding warrants or bail/parole violations, and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize why police will likely face more violence than ever before.

This is exactly what the “criminal justice reform” crowd wanted — more people out on the streets rather than behind bars. What that means is that cops will be dealing with prison-like situations in the volatile environment of the open streets. Many criminals are on drugs more than ever and are emboldened to fight with the police more than ever. Most of the time, the cops will react appropriately, and often, even with underwhelming force (although you never hear about those cases). But once in a while, mistakes will occur.

To continue promoting the de-incarceration agenda and the war on cops as the solution will only lead to even more record crime and thousands more homicide victims every year. The real story is that repeat violent gang members with a history of armed robbery and gun charges are given endless chances, not just “second chances,” as called for by the liberal governors in both parties with their mindless tropes and slogans.

So no, this is not just a case of “driving while black” or getting pulled over for hanging an air freshener from a mirror. It’s that the same liberals who cry over gun control suddenly don’t find gun violence to be a problem when it’s perpetrated by career criminals. In this case, they think Wright was a saint and had no problem with him remaining on the streets, despite his violation of the conditions of his bail for a violent gun crime.

At its core, “criminal justice reform” is the agenda to keep repeat violent gang members out of jail whenever they are caught with more gun and drug charges and probation violations. But those are the people who go on to commit murder and mayhem, which is why the crime bubble is exploding. Yet rather than speaking with one voice against the cause of this entire cycle of violence and volatile police interactions, Republicans like Tennessee Governor Bill Lee suggest that this agenda “is a natural fit for conservatives” and will “make Tennessee communities safer.” Yes, sort of the same way Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson believes chemical castration is a natural fit for conservatives and would have been embraced by Ronald Reagan and Bill Buckley.

Because a generation of Republicans forgot what it meant to be conservative on crime, the Left has been free to pursue a radical de-incarceration agenda with impunity. They use examples of the symptoms of this problem to aggravate rather than cure the underlying ailment of undeterred violent crime. We will pay for it on our streets, one way or another.

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Horowitz: NYT admits homicides in 2020 likely topped 20,000, most since 1995, but can’t figure out why

It was one of the greatest public policy achievements of our lifetimes — the generation-long decline in violent crime. Since the early 1990s, violent crime and murder have dropped by two-thirds, with almost every subsequent year showing a new drop in crime levels from the previous year. Many people thought this was a permanent and irreversible trend and even forgot what it was like to live with ubiquitous violent crime. Well, new data presented by the FBI shows that the entire generation-long gain against murder has been wiped out, with no end in sight.

For the past seven years, I have been a lone voice fighting the trend of de-incarceration promoted by both parties and the Koch brothers. Those who forgot that we achieved the drop in crime by locking up career criminals used the low crime levels to justify “criminal justice reform,” aka jailbreak. Well, now those policies have come home to roost.

Although the FBI doesn’t release its full uniform crime reporting until later in the year, on Monday, the agency released preliminary statistics showing a 25% increase in murder reporting last year from an incomplete set of major city data reporting. What does that mean? It’s not just a reversal of the downward trend, but according to the New York Times, “A 25 percent increase in murder in 2020 would mean the United States surpassed 20,000 murders in a year for the first time since 1995.”

The data does not even include New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, which experienced particularly sharp increases in murder in 2020. Also, a sample of 37 cities shows that the trend of higher crime is persisting into 2021, with those cities reporting an average of 18% more homicides for the first quarter of this year over last year.

While the NYT recognizes the sharp increase in crime, the paper criticizes the FBI for changing its method of reporting and feigns ignorance as to the source of the rise in crime. “Although it’s not clear what has caused the spike in murder, some possibilities are the various stresses of the pandemic; the surge in gun sales during the crisis; and less belief in police legitimacy related to protests over police brutality,” speculates author Jeff Asher.

Well, the stress of the lockdowns (not the pandemic) certainly didn’t help, but in fact, crime went down last year from March until the Floyd riots in late May. Also, most of the increased murders are in inner cities, not across the board, which is what one would have expected if the virus was the cause. Furthermore, where is the evidence that the gun sales are to the criminals (who get them on the black market) and not to the people protecting themselves against the criminals? Also, “less belief in police legitimacy” is an uncanny way to describe lack of deterrent, which is the real culprit. We have simply stopped deterring and punishing crime in this country.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Portland, Oregon, where BLM and ANTIFA, including some career criminals, have been able to riot, beat, burn, and occupy public and private property with impunity for nearly a year. The result? According to crime policy expert Sean Kennedy, a fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, since June 2020 (just after the Floyd riots), there has been a 255% increase in murder in Portland through February 2021 and a 173% increase in shootings.

Remember, Portland is not known for murder. As Jeff Reynolds of PJ Media explains based on Kennedy’s data: “The numbers are truly alarming. From January through April 2020, there were a total of three murders in Portland. Just in January and February 2021, we’ve already seen 20 murders. For the period of June 2020 through February 2021, 71 murders have occurred in Portland. That’s a staggering 255% increase over the same period one year prior.”

“Less belief in police legitimacy,” indeed! It’s more like the criminals know they will not be punished for their crimes.

The bottom line is that a mixture of pretrial criminal releases from jail, early prison releases (both accelerated under COVID), hands-off policing, unpunished rioting, and virtually no prison time for juvenile carjackers has created a perfect storm to reverse the downward trend on crime we once thought was irreversible.

There is no city that showed the drop in crime in the 1990s better than New York City, yet it now also serves as the poster child for the reversal of that trend, with a 47% increase in murder and a 100% increase in shootings. Police unions in New York place the blame squarely on the mass pretrial releases of gun and other violent felons. It’s not that more guns are on the street as a result of first-time suburban moms buying guns to protect themselves; it’s that more gun felons and gang leaders are on the streets and not behind bars. The same people who promote locking up the guns are working overtime to release those who commit gun violence.

According to the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services, the average daily jail census in New York in 2020 was less than half the level from just a few years ago. That’s an awful lot of criminals who used to be locked up who are now out on the streets.

Couple that with the war on cops, and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out why crime is spiking.

What about Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love? After a year of record homicides, murders are already up 32% in 2021 compared to this time last year. The refusal to clamp down on juvenile criminals, gun felons, drug traffickers, and gangsters by Soros DA Larry Krasner has ensured that city streets are full of black homicide victims, in addition to carjackings, drugs, and homelessness. Democrats have scared Republicans into changing their views on sentencing by playing the race card and falsely claiming that black criminals are unjustly incarcerated. The result of the reversal in tough-on-crime policies has created record homicides, in which black people make up 86% of the Philly murder victims, even though they only compose 44% of the city’s population. Indeed, only the lives of black criminals matter to the political class, not black victims of crime.

What’s interesting is that our government understands deterrent when it wants to. Notice how there has never been another right-wing gathering, much less riot, since Jan. 6. Let’s just say the government more than effectively deterred such behavior by holding people without bail for simple trespassing. Now imagine if the government wielded such a stick against violent criminals throughout the country.

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Horowitz: Oklahoma career criminal accused of killing 3 and cooking a human heart had been released by Gov. Stitt

It’s not just in San Francisco and New York City that violent career criminals are being released en masse, only to commit more crimes. Republicans in Oklahoma and other states have bought into this “criminal justice reform” lie – that somehow our system is too tough on criminals, rather than too lenient by a mile. The deception of “low-level criminals” propelling last year’s mass prison release in Oklahoma has now been laid bare by the case of Lawrence Paul Anderson.

Anderson is accused of killing his neighbor, Andrea Lynn Blankenship, 41, on February 12 in Chickasha, cutting out her heart, and cooking it with potatoes at his uncle’s house. He then allegedly killed his uncle, injured his aunt, and killed the couple’s 4-year-old granddaughter.

As soon as I saw the story, I figured that a person like that either had to be a career criminal released early from prison, a known criminally insane person who should have been known to law enforcement, or both.

Well, remember that mass commutation by Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) a little more than a year ago? On Nov. 4, Gov. Stitt commuted the sentences of 527 criminals, in the largest single prison release in U.S. history. To a cheering crowd, he bragged about “second chances” being offered to “low-level” offenders. This was part of a broad effort that has infected even the most conservative states – convincing the public that we have an over-incarceration problem, rather than an under-incarceration problem.

I warned at the time that crime had begun to skyrocket in Oklahoma as a result of several of these measures being implemented in a similar fashion to what was observed in San Francisco.

The people of Oklahoma deserve blame because they ultimately voted for State Question 780 in 2016, which downgraded drug and theft crimes across the board. Proponents spent over $4 million dollars with almost no opposition. But lawmakers followed up in 2018 by making those changes retroactive. They also teed up the ballot intuitive and misled the public about the nature of these crimes.

As I observed in my Nov. 22, 2019, column, “We are not locking up people for minor crimes, and even those locked up for so-called minor crimes are usually not incarcerated for that long — and it’s usually because they had a longer rap sheet of violent crime and violated their parole with theft, drugs, or driving offenses.”

When criminals are locked up for a while, with few exceptions, there is a reason. As Jason Hicks, the president of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council, warned, many criminals are barely serving time as it is. “A five-year sentence or even up to a 10-year sentence, those folks are serving a very, very small amount of time in DOC on a nonviolent crime,” Hicks said at a 2019 hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. “In fact, you’re going to serve roughly 90 days on a 10-year or less nonviolent crime and, if you haven’t done anything else, you’re getting an ankle bracelet and getting sent back home.”

Well, that brings us back to Anderson, who was released on Jan. 18 as part of this same parole program. As the AP reported: “Anderson had been sentenced in 2017 to 20 years in prison for probation violations on a drug case, the newspaper reported. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted the sentence last year to nine years in prison, and Anderson was released after serving a little more than three years.”

The public has been convinced that the sort of people who get those sentences are low-level. Drugs and probation violations don’t sound like a big deal. And they might not be for some people, most of whom will never serve time in jail anyway.

According to court records, he was charged in 2006 for attacking his girlfriend with a gun. In 2016, he was charged with felony possession of a firearm, and in 2017 with felony possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, bringing contraband into penal institution, molesting a motor vehicle, and possession of meth. When he was resentenced in 2017 for pointing a gun at a woman, he also told the judge he was taking medication for bipolar disorder. He fits the profile of someone who might be a career violent criminal or mentally ill. This was overlooked when he was released. He had a slew of other drug charges too. Those people tend not to be nonviolent.

Crime in Oklahoma and across the nation is skyrocketing precisely because we reversed the very policies that reduced crime. Since the bottom of the two-decade decline in homicide in 2014, the homicide rate was 34% higher in 2019, according to the FBI Uniform Crime statistics (table 6), and even higher in 2020. 2017, the year after the criminal justice “reforms” were passed, was the highest of all. The homicide rate in Oklahoma City rose 48% from 2014 to 2019.

The reality is that most people with multiple gun and drug charges are the most violent criminals in the country and will go on to commit other violent crimes if left undeterred. Kevin Stitt continued to push even more jailbreak because of coronavirus as well.

The governor, the legislature, and the people got this issue wrong five years ago. But now that we see the results of the jailbreak policies, it’s time to revisit the definition of “low-level offenses.” With Oklahoma experiencing an increase in theft and homelessness just like San Francisco, why will policymakers not re-examine their erroneous premises on criminal justice?

Kevin Stitt and other pro-criminal RINOs incessantly speak of “second chances.” But very few criminals get locked up without having had endless chances, like Anderson. Moreover, “parole violations” are often for gun crimes, as was the case with Anderson. Yet in their rush to brag about releasing as many criminals as possible, they failed to analyze the profile and criminal history that led to the final incarcerations on their respective records.

Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks is right that the legislature needs to shift its focus to protecting citizens, not criminals. “This has to be addressed by the Legislature, sooner rather than later, because more people are going to get killed,” the prosecutor said. “We’re seeing this all over the state. Repeat offenders go to prison. They’re not there very long. And they come home and they’re committing crimes just like this.”‘

As Hicks noted, at the time, the parole board was considering hundreds of cases in order to release as many people as possible. It’s one thing to carefully comb through files to see if some people don’t need to be incarcerated. However, any honest reform would have to simultaneously focus on all those violent criminals who should be locked up who aren’t in prison, which are much more numerous. But this was never about proper reforms; this was always about de-incarceration at all costs.

Maybe someday, Republicans and the phony “conservative” special interest groups will go back to focusing on victims of crime instead of criminals. Until then, red-state governors will continue to pursue the same dangerous and radical policies as the Soros prosecutor in San Francisco.

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Horowitz: As criminals take advantage of hands-off justice system, feds clamp down on political prisoners

For the past decade, I’ve been trying to raise awareness about the harms of the weak-on-crime policies being advocated by both parties. As crime continues to surge, even the most violent career criminals are released on little or no bail, a growing phenomenon that is responsible for most of the violent crimes committed in the country. The insipid mantra of the de-incarceration crowd is that we shouldn’t lock people up for low-level offenses. I have long wondered what they consider to be high-level offenses. Now we have our answer. It is you and me.

We are now living in an America where accused murderers and rapists with long rap sheets are released without bail, while Trump supporters are being held without the opportunity to post even high bail for nebulous charges of trespassing on public property. All of us want violent criminals punished, but as Julie Kelly of American Greatness found after examining 200 indictments related to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, nearly all of them were charged with trespassing for simply taking selfies in the Capitol.

Take the case of Jessica Watkins. She is being charged with disorderly conduct, entering a restricted building, and obstruction of an official proceeding. She has no prior record, and these are the quintessential “low-level” crimes I’ve been hearing the left lament for years in the context of the discussion of over-incarceration. Yet the Feds are asking that she be held without bail because she has spoken to friends about the need for a revolution.

By that standard, tens of millions of Trump-haters could have been held without bail for the comments they regularly spewed about him for years, especially when they were involved in Black Lives Matter riots. The fact that people are being charged, much less held without bond, for taking selfies in the Capitol, with no evidence that they engaged in assault or theft, is further disturbing because by the government’s own admission, some police officers let them in. Last week, the Capitol Hill police announced the suspension of six officers and an investigation into the actions of 29 others because they are suspected of letting in the crowd. Absent evidence of other criminal behavior, it is indefensible to charge civilians with trespassing before this investigation is complete.

It’s also disturbing that they continue to lie about the death of Officer Brian Sicknick to use it as a pretext for labeling any and all opposition to the Left as insurrection and sedition and treating the entry into the Capitol differently from any other commensurate crime.

Let’s be clear: The only political violence that has taken place since Jan. 6 fomented by a group that wants to overthrow the government is from Antifa. Antifa’s adherents have committed clear-cut violent crimes, yet few of them are arrested and none of them are held without bail. Thus, when attorney general nominee Merrick Garland compares Trump supporters to Timothy McVeigh and vows to focus on “domestic terrorism” but refuses to mention Antifa, you know this is not about justice, but about a sadistic persecution. In fact, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that Antifa’s attacks are not terrorism because they occur at night. It’s all about a two-tiered system. Which is why, when Garland promises to fight discrimination, he doesn’t mean the systemic anti-white bias at every level of the corporate culture.

The two-tiered justice system is even more appalling when you examine the number of rapists and murderers who have been set free on low or no bail in recent years in all of America’s major cities. While there is zero evidence of any of the Capitol Hill protesters committing crimes outside that day, most crime in this country is committed by repeat violent offenders released under “criminal justice reform measures.”

Just to pick a recent example from Chicago, America’s murder capital, Oscar Grissett was just bonded out of jail again by a liberal advocacy group despite a history of manslaughter, robbery, and committing crimes while on parole. Here is his timeline according to CWB Chicago:

  • In 1992, Grissett was paroled from a two-year sentence for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.
  • Just four weeks later, he was charged with murder after driving a stolen car and killing a pedestrian with it while fleeing from police. He received a 25-year sentence, but despite 100 disciplinary actions while in prison, he still got out early, even though this was during the two decades of “tough on crime” sentencing.
  • In 2010, he was convicted of theft and robbery again and sentenced to two 15-year terms and a 9.5-year term, but of course wound up being paroled by 2018.
  • Shortly thereafter, he was convicted for another robbery of a store and sentenced to just four years, but was released after less than two years in March 2020.
  • While he was on parole, prosecutors charged him with two counts of felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony burglary in September of last year. One would think that given his rap sheet and the fact that he was unrepentant from three decades of crime, he would be held without bail. But instead he was offered just $25,000 cash bail, which was paid for by “the Bail Project,” a left-wing group that is against pre-trial holding (but would never bail out Trump supporters for low-level charges of trespassing on public property).
  • So, what did Grissett do while out on bail again? Police arrested him on December 8 for stealing a car and then holding up a store clerk at a pet store and stealing money from the cash register.
  • Yet despite all this, last Friday, Judge Susana Ortiz set his bail at $100,000 for the pet store robbery and ordered Grissett to go onto electronic monitoring if he posts bond.

Rather than pushing reforms to stop this leaky justice system, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill nearly abolishing cash bail.

The case of Oscar Grissett is not an aberration. It represents the prototypical career criminal who is never properly deterred or stopped in our justice system. It’s in this world that Trump supporters are now being held without possibility of even posting bail on charges of trespassing in a public building, even if they didn’t engage in violence and did not have a prior record.

While the DOJ and the DHS focus on the nonexistent threat of ubiquitous violence from Trump supporters, nearly every major city is seeing a surge in crime thanks to the reduction in prison and jail incarcerations. Philadelphia is experiencing an even worse crime year than last year, which was the worst in a generation, when Philly had the second highest number of murders on record. Over the weekend, the violence spread to the suburb of Norristown, where one was killed and four were injured while children were enjoying a night of bowling with their families.

Perhaps it will take the violence spilling over into the suburbs, where some suburban voters have become woke, for them to realize that it is the career violent offenders who need to be locked up to ensure their family’s safety, not Trump voters.

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Horowitz: Houston accused murderer released from jail arrested 5 months later for another murder?

If you think the problem of murderers being released only to commit more murder is limited to blue states like California and New York, think again. The latest case of a violent self-confessed murderer in Houston being released only to allegedly murder again five months later should serve as a wake-up call to state legislators in Texas and other supposedly red states. There is a dramatic need for criminal justice reform that is actually aimed at locking up violent criminals, not releasing them.

Homicides are up 44% this year in Houston. The reason likely has a lot to do with people like Edward O’Neal, who was released from jail this year. O’Neal is being charged with murder in Harris County for allegedly shooting 39-year-old Derrick Mike to death at an apartment complex on Nov. 28. Like most murders, this one was 100% preventable had our criminal system been functioning properly by focusing on public safety, not sensitivity for murderers.

KTRK-TV reported that O’Neal confessed to stabbing his friend Ryan Roberts to death almost five years ago. Yet somehow, five years later, he still hadn’t been convicted and sentenced to prison because his lawyers kept using O’Neal’s mental state as a means of gumming up the wheels of justice.

The dysfunction of our treatment of violent, mentally ill criminals lead to the next dysfunction of jailbreak policies. In June 2020, Felony Mental Health Court Judge Mark Kent Ellis lowered his original $50,000 bond to $25,000. O’Neal bonded out of custody. Again, this is a man who reportedly confessed three times to a brutal murder that is believed to be part of a devil-worshipping satanic ritual, yet he bonded out on just $25,000. This is not a college student picked up for possessing marijuana.

According to court records, even O’Neal’s own mother told investigators she was afraid of his release. The mother of the original victim, Ryan Roberts, informed KTRK that she also warned against his release. “I told the DA he should not get out. He killed my son, he’ll be killing again,” said Christina Roberts.

This is a case that reveals the dark side of the criminal justice “twindemic” of the violent mentally ill not being locked up and the general jailbreak policies of Harris County.

President Ronald Reagan railed against the treatment of mentally ill criminals in the justice system for years and how it was so hard to keep them off the streets. It has only gotten worse since his time. It’s one thing to say that the mentally ill should be confined separately from other criminals; it’s quite another to suggest they be released. If anything, those who are mentally ill are the biggest danger to society if they have proven violent proclivities — you know, like satanic murder. Yet leftists are simultaneously pushing de-incarceration of lucid criminals and abolishing of mental asylums for the criminally insane. They desire every public safety threat to remain on the streets.

Harris County has become just as bad as New York with pretrial bond releases. Last year, a Harris County judge initially offered an accused cop killer relatively low bail, despite his history of being released on crimes and bragging about it. In February, Gerald Washington was accused of murdering a random man in Houston just hours after being released for another murder despite his prior criminal record.

In August, the Texan reported, according to Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers Houston, 57 victims have been murdered in Harris County over the past two years by defendants who had been released on multiple felony bonds and personal recognizance bonds. That doesn’t account for all those who served light prison sentences or were let out of prison early and went on to murder. And the momentum toward more and more leniency is getting stronger in the system with each passing day.

The reality is that the spike in homicide throughout the nation is the direct result of known violent criminals simply not being locked up. From Nov. 21 through Dec. 4, Houston has experienced twice as many murders as last year over the same period of time.

The jailbreak is also mixing in with the mental health crisis induced by the panic policies from some of the very same Houston politicians who are pushing draconian lockdowns. The same politicians who decriminalize murder are now criminalizing living, and it has made people more violent. There has been a 65% rise in domestic violence calls to a hotline at the Houston Area Women’s Center since September 2019. According to police, the number of strangulation incidents in Houston has nearly doubled this year.

Indeed, the mix of coronavirus panic-driven fascism together with release of criminals has made an entire civilization mentally ill — dangerously so.

Next month, the Texas legislature is set to reconvene. There is a Republican governor as well as Republican lieutenant governor and attorney general. Addressing the loopholes for violent criminally insane people in the justice system should be the first priority. They must also clamp down on the power of these judges to release all violent criminals. While they are at it, they should end the lockdowns.

All those measures would go a long way in maintaining ordered liberty. If they fail to address these issues, they can’t blame the fallout on Biden and Democrats. They control all of government, yet the state’s policies increasingly look like those in California and New York. Who needs Democrats when you have compromised Republicans selling out our citizens with criminal justice deform?

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Soros-backed Los Angeles district attorney announces extreme criminal justice reform policies after being sworn-in

The newly elected district attorney of Los Angeles County announced that his office would implement a slew of extreme criminal reform policies after being sworn-in.

District Attorney George Gascón won the office from incumbent Jackie Lacey with the help of millions of dollars in donations from billionaire leftist George Soros. Lacey, the first woman and first black person to head the office, served eight years.

Immediately after being inaugurated into the office Monday, Gascón implemented the drastic law enforcement reforms he promised. In an open letter to Los Angeles police officers, Gascón scolded them for engaging in “unconstitutional policing” and outlined his reforms.

“Those who engage in unconstitutional policing have severely hindered the standing and safety of us all,” Gascón wrote, according to KNBC-TV. “We are all scarred by their misdeeds, leading many in our communities to perceive police as persecutors instead of protectors.”

Gascón, 66, went on to say that he would do away with cash bail, not pursue prosecution enhancements for gangs and guns, and his office will not seek the death penalty for any offenses.

He said that he wants law enforcement to focus on rehabilitation instead of jail and prison.

“We will, for example, divert rather than prosecute many low-level first-time offenses due to the collateral consequences and destabilizing nature of a criminal conviction,” he explained.

“You can expect that I will work to reduce incarceration and punishment except in those circumstances in which punishment is proportional, is in the community’s best interest, and serves a rehabilitative or restorative purpose,” Gascón added.

He has also promised to reopen four cases that were previously closed involving police shootings.

Gascón had previously worked as the police chief of San Francisco and later as the district attorney for San Francisco. He also received support in his election from wealthy donors in San Francisco.

Here’s more about Gascón’s inauguration:

George Gascón sworn in as Los Angeles County district attorney, pledges sweeping changes

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Horowitz: Murder rate surging in 2020 as COVID policies keep criminals out of jail

Aside from the viral epidemic, 2020 will be remembered for a crime epidemic that broke the back of the criminal justice system, which has successfully reduced crime since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, criminals continue to be kept out of jail and prison in order to keep “social distancing” in prisons, when data show they have a lower fatality rate than the rest of the population. More criminals on the streets, more crime, and less freedom for law abiding citizens. What will 2021 bring us?

On Monday, the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ) released an updated crime data report, which examined weekly changes in major crime offenses across 28 cities from January 2017 through October 2020. The findings were quite alarming.

Overall, homicide rates between June and October 2020 increased by 36% compared to the same period in 2019 in 21 cities, amounting to 610 more lost lives than last year. Aggravated assaults increased by 15% in the summer and 13% in the fall of 2020 over the same period last year; gun assaults increased by 15% and 16%. Residential burglaries, on the other hand, declined significantly because so many people remain at home.

NCCCJ is a program created by the Council of Criminal Justice in July and is co-chaired by former U.S. Attorneys General Alberto Gonzales and Loretta Lynch.

The study observed, “The precipitous rise in homicide and assaults in the late spring of 2020 coincided with the emergence of mass protests after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, although the connection, if any, between the social unrest and heightened violence remains uncertain.”

While the rise of Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioting certainly contributed to the rise in vandalism, arson, and assaults, there have only been a few homicides traced back to the riots. What the study fails to point out is that the increase in homicide is mainly from career criminals who are increasingly not locked up, especially while awaiting trial. The other variable this year, aside from the “protests,” is the mass de-incarceration under the guise of protecting prisoners from the spread of COVID.

The NCCCJ study concluded:

Finally, policymakers must take police reform seriously. Protesters have called for increasing accountability for police misconduct and shifting functions such as addressing the day-to-day problems of the homeless and responding to drug overdoses to other agencies and personnel better equipped to handle them.

But what does that have to do with the increase in homicide? So, unless they enact “police reform,” the beatings and murder will continue? Most murder is gang-related. Are they really murdering in order to protest “police misconduct”? Sure, there is more murder because police are taking a hands-off approach on the streets, but how does handcuffing police help that?

The reality is that there are more potential murderers on the street, not to be deterred by police in any capacity. According to UCLA’s data tracking on COVID-related incarceration releases, over 123,000 criminals have been released from prison and jail this year because of COVID-19, capping several years of gradual release under other jailbreak programs. On top of that, there are countless thousands of new criminals who are not being locked up initially because of the stigma against adding to the prison population at a time like this. Judges are increasingly taking this into account.

Now it turns out that all the deaths that will result from these criminals on the streets were built on a false premise that prisons would be deaths traps, with the virus killing prisoners at a higher rate than the general population.

In the early spring, the ACLU warned that “detention centers would be petri dishes for the spread of COVID-19 — and a death trap for thousands of people in civil detention.” But in reality, they indeed were good petri dishes to study what would happen if the virus actually spread to a fully confined population. And it turns out it’s not the death trap the ACLU envisioned – not any worse than it is in the general population. Yes, the virus spreads far and wide in confined spaces, but as we’ve seen from the natural epidemiological case study of prisons, most people are asymptomatic and very few required hospitalization.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that despite the widespread transmission of the virus in prisons, “the case-fatality ratio, or the percentage of coronavirus cases that are fatal, is lower among inmates than the broader population.” According to their data, the case-fatality rate among inmates was about 0.7%, one-third that of the general population (2.1%).

Now, obviously, the true fatality rate is likely not that much better in prison, because case fatality rates only measure the deaths against the known cases. In jails and prisons, a much larger percentage of the true infections have been confirmed through mass testing than among the general public. But it still appears, based on overall deaths per 100,000, that the fatality rate among the incarcerated population is at least somewhat lower than the general population.

There are roughly 2.2 million incarcerated individuals in the country, and as of Dec. 1, according to the UCLA tracking project, there were 1,449 COVID deaths among inmates. That is a death rate of 65.9 per 100,000. At 269K COVID deaths in the general population, that would be 81 deaths per capita.

While it is true that prisoners are a younger population, they also have a lot of underlying conditions. Plus, the population is disproportionately black and Hispanic. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 death rate among black and Hispanic people is three times higher than among white people. If the premise of those pushing for corona jailbreak were correct, we’d be seeing a bloodbath in prisons relative to the population. That is simply not playing out.

Thus, the same overstating of the severity of the virus, along with overstating our ability to stop the spread, that has spawned the criminalization of human living has also wrongly enabled the release of thousands of dangerous criminals. We are the criminals, and the criminals are the victims.

After all, the only crime that is considered serious by our governing elites is not wearing a mask. And given that most violent criminals seem to be wearing masks, there is nothing to see here.

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Horowitz: Chicago man wanted in double homicide was recently released on bail for reckless homicide, gun offenses

Jessica Beal and her brother, Damian Beal, are the latest black victims of the jailbreak “criminal justice reform” agenda promoted by Black Lives Matter, which ensures that dangerous criminals like Clarence Hebron are not behind bars.

While liberals living in suburbia enjoyed their Thanksgiving week vacation, people living in America’s major urban areas experienced more violence at the hands of undeterred repeat violent offenders. On Nov. 27, Chicago police put out an AMBER alert after 1-year-old K’marion Hebron was abducted at his house, which was the scene of a double homicide that included his mother, Jessica Beal, and her brother, Damian, as the victims. Police believe that the boy’s father, Clarence Hebron, who is Beal’s ex-husband, was responsible for the homicides and the initial abduction. The baby was later dropped off at a Riverside police station and was unharmed.

Who is Clarence Hebron? CWB Chicago, which closely monitors crime in America’s murder capital, noticed the picture of Hebron released by police was identical to a mug shot of him from April 2019.

After digging into his history, CWB Chicago discovered that Hebron, 32, had been in jail in 2019 for allegedly killing a woman while fleeing police and for two separate Class X felony armed habitual criminal gun crimes. So why was he out free? One of those notorious Cook County judges agreed to release him on just $15,000 bond in July!

Hebron was charged on April 18, 2019, for reportedly hitting a woman with his vehicle while fleeing police and driving with a suspended license. While Hebron had been released in the prior months after two separate gun charges, the judge finally decided to keep him locked up after he was charged with reckless homicide by motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing causing bodily injury, and driving on a revoked license resulting in injury or death.

However, the pressure to release criminals has been strong in recent months. Three days after Hebron’s lawyers filed a motion to have his bail reduced, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter agreed to lower the bail to just $50,000 each for the three offenses, allowing him to go free on a $15,000 cash payment (10% of the total bail). As of this writing, police are still looking for him in connection to the double homicide on Nov. 27.

Hebron was out free while awaiting trial for two counts of Class X armed habitual criminal, five counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and four counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. This is the quintessential rap sheet of so many criminals who are released these days only to go on and commit homicide months later. This, at its core, is why homicide is skyrocketing in most major cities, with some of them approaching new records.

We often hear tear-jerking stories about incarceration taking fathers out of homes, but violent fathers should be outside the homes, as this 1-year-old child will tragically learn when he discovers he has no mother. Repeat violent offenders need to be locked up — plain and simple.

It’s not clear if COVID was a consideration in Hebron’s release four months ago, but criminals have been released because of the virus and for other reasons en masse. At the same time, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is threatening residents with jail time if they simply breathe free air or live their lives. “We will shut you down, we will cite you, and if we need to, we will arrest you,” the mayor said back in May in a threat she is ratcheting up again during the holiday season.

When have you ever heard her speak this assertively and threateningly to violent criminals? Instead, she uses the same virus that is an excuse to suspend civil liberties and criminalize human life as a pretext to release legitimate career criminals.

Tragically, we saw another appalling example of jailbreak in St. Paul, Minnesota, another hotbed of criminality and coronavirus fascism. Antoine Lorenzo Powell, 34, was arrested for allegedly murdering a 41-year-old women in St. Paul on Sept. 3. According to eyewitnesses, a man who matched Powell’s description shot Annamarie Wagener six times in the chest while she was at home and then stole her gun from her waistband. There is no known motive yet, but an informant told police that Powell had been part of a shooting just seven hours before in North Minneapolis, where detectives later discovered shell casings matching the gun used to murder Wagener.

Here’s the twisted irony. According to the charging document, Powell stole Wagener’s gun from her waistband after she was killed. She had recently obtained a carry permit “because the area where she lived wasn’t safe.”

Well, why wasn’t the area safe? Because criminals weren’t behind bars. It turns out that Powell was wearing an ankle bracelet because he was on parole, which is partially why they were able to place him at the scene of the crime and gather enough evidence to charge him for the murder two and a half months later. But as is always the case, ankle bracelets are worthless in prospectively deterring criminals from committing murder. It turns out, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, that Powell “has an extensive criminal record in Minnesota that includes convictions for firearms, assault, controlled substances, drunken driving and other offenses.”

The bottom line is that the same people who push gun control on law-abiding citizens are also releasing gun felons en masse. We also see that career gun and drug felons are not “low-level, non-violent offenders,” but the quintessential criminals who go on to commit murder.

Supporters of de-incarceration like to point out that prison fails to rehabilitate these sorts of criminals. But letting them out on the streets most certainly fails to rehabilitate them, while, unlike when they are confined, enabling them to act on their unrehabilitated instincts.

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Horowitz: This fall’s biggest crime is Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving and Christmas might be canceled for the first time ever by tyrannical governors and mayors, but they won’t cancel the weekend shootouts that are increasingly victimizing children in major cities. Those shootings tend to be the worst over holiday weekends. Yet, in what has become the ultimate dystopian governing outcome, our elected officials are criminalizing life itself while greenlighting violent criminal activity.

Yesterday, the Philadelphia mayor announced with the flick of a pen that all indoor gatherings would be canceled for the remainder of the calendar year. This includes school, most church services, stores, recreation, and even inviting other people to your own home for the holidays! At the same time, as Philadelphia approaches record homicides for the year, nobody is canceling gang gatherings. In fact, thanks to the jailbreak policies, some of which were put into place because of the virus itself, there is no deterrent against crime. Crime is an essential service in these cities.

Last week, Fox29 reporter Steve Keeley reported that a total of eight children had been shot in numerous violent incidents throughout Philadelphia since last Sunday. So far, there have been 435 homicides this year in the City of Brotherly Love, a 39% increase over last year and the most since 1993. The city officials claim to protect children by shutting down their schools for a virus that doesn’t really harm them, but what they are failing to do is protect them on the streets from gang bullets that don’t discriminate based on age or immune system.

According to Philadelphia police, they have solved fewer than 30% of homicides and just 16% of non-fatal shooting cases this year. Yet Mayor Jim Kennedy and other liberal executives across the nation now want to use the dwindling police resources to patrol stores, restaurants, and perhaps even homes for violations of the COVID cult rituals. As Fulton County, New York, Sheriff Richard Giardino said in response to a similar order issued by Andrew Cuomo, “We have limited resources and we have to set priorities, so obtaining a Search Warrant to enter your home to see how many Turkey or Tofu eaters are present is not a priority.”

Our government is now ensuring that our own homes are no longer our castles, while the public streets become the private fiefdoms of gang members, released criminals, and BLM rioters. The Philadelphia mayor titled his new royal edict “safer at home.” Well, the science behind lockdown has proven as ineffective in keeping people safe from the virus as weak-on-crime policies have been in protecting people from violence.

Philadelphia is home to Larry Krasner, the most vocal of the Soros-backed “justice reform” district attorneys, who has made a name for himself by refusing to prosecute what he deems “low-level” offenders. However, his definition of low-level includes repeat offender gangsters who have a history of gun violence. While holding people up at gunpoint is low-level in his mind, I’m sure celebrating Thanksgiving with relatives or not covering one’s lungs with a cheap Chinese mask, in his estimation, will be treated as high-level crimes that are prioritized for prosecution.

It appears that the Left wasn’t serious about abolishing the police after all. They want the police around – just not to protect us from criminals. They want them to treat everyday Americans, perhaps even in their own homes, as criminals. For example, in Atlanta, with rising crime and police on defense, nearly twice as many officers retired this year as last year, leaving Atlanta police with the lowest number of officers on the streets in two decades. With police being criminalized, murder is up 40% this year from the same point in 2019 in this once safe city. A similar trend is playing out in Minneapolis, Seattle, and other large cities where police are faced with a thankless job. In all those cities, the mayors are issuing stern warnings to grandmas who host Thanksgiving, but not to the violent street criminals.

Criminals have nothing to fear from the police, but we must fear them and the police. Officials will take away our guns used for self-defense while ignoring the gun felons.

In the Minneapolis suburb of St. Cloud, Roberto Williams, 35, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after accidentally shooting a 5-year-old boy to death. In case you thought this was a decent human being who just experienced a tragic accident, Williams was convicted of robbery in Illinois in 2003 and of unlawful possession of a weapon in 2005, 2010, and 2017. Williams also had outstanding charges for first-degree robbery, with a trial set for January. Despite all those gun charges, he was allowed to remain free to allegedly kill this boy. But fear not, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is keeping kindergarten boys safe by keeping them out of school and wearing masks.

Nearly every time you see a heinous crime committed, just realize it’s almost always done by a repeat offender who is out of prison. Remember the man caught on video horrifically attacking a Trump supporter in D.C. on Saturday, which led to the victim being knocked out and stomped on the ground? Kenneth Wayne Deberry was arrested for the assault and also for felony possession of a weapon. It turns out he was a convicted child sex offender out on the streets. Don’t hold your breath waiting for him to serve hard time even after this attack. A man caught not wearing a mask in D.C. (unless at a BLM riot) is more likely to face swift prosecution than someone like Deberry.

Revolutions were fought over a lesser degree of perfidy, betrayal, and dystopian governance than we face today from the ruling class. In the Declaration of Independence, our Founders repudiated King George for callously disregarding their security on the western frontier while infringing upon their own liberties. Yet the disregard for security and infringement upon liberties at the hands of King George was nowhere near as severe as the amalgamation of those twin vices today. Perhaps the best way to rectify this coup against our Constitution is to host a Thanksgiving “tea” party to remember the civil and religious liberty history behind the story of the Pilgrims and the founding of this country.

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Horowitz: Over-incarceration problem? DOJ report: Through 2019, imprisonment at lowest rate since 1995 — with skyrocketing crime

One of the more bizarre, yet overlooked exchanges during last Thursday’s presidential debate was when both Trump and Biden seemed to attack each over who supports letting more criminals out of prison. Rather than debating how to lower rising crime rates, they both seemed to buy into the premise of record high incarceration, especially among blacks. They likely were unaware that the Bureau of Justice Statistics had just released a report showing the entire premise of their debate was outdated. The incarceration rate has long since plummeted, and not surprisingly, crime is rising in numerous parts of the country.

Just hours before Thursday’s debate, the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2019 report on the prison population and revealed astounding statistics you will never hear in the media or from the mouth of pro-criminal politicians. Among the most startling findings was that the combined state and federal prison imprisonment rate is the lowest it’s been since 1995.

Contrary to those who think we have record incarceration, the imprisonment rate actually peaked in 2009 and has been going down every year since. Over the past decade, the portion of U.S. residents who are in prison has dropped 17% overall. Shocking anyone who listens to liberal politicians in both parties decry the incarceration of “people of color,” the imprisonment rate has actually plummeted 29% among black residents (32% among black adults) and 24% among Hispanic residents. Do you know what that means? According to the BJS, “In 2019, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest rate in 30 years, since 1989.”

Remember, this report does not capture the numbers from this year, when states unprecedentedly released well over 100,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus and declined to initially incarcerate countless other new offenders who would have been locked up under normal circumstances. Thus, the current incarceration rate is likely much lower.

Moreover, recent laws abolishing bail, making it harder to land convictions, early release, and numerous parole programs have created a cascade of leniencies throughout the system that will likely drop the numbers precipitously in the coming years – even if none of the additional leniencies being advocated for are successfully implemented.

Accordingly, the dishonest politicians are promoting these new ideas as if we have record incarceration, while the public is unaware of the fact that the incarceration numbers have already plummeted. How many Americans know that the black incarceration rate is the lowest it has been in three decades?

Nearly every dead body discovered in places like Chicago, increasingly including children, by the way, is someone whom the media now calls “a person of color.” Why is crime suddenly going up after years of decreasing? Well, likely for the same reason why it went down beginning in the mid-1990s after years of increasing. The crime rate works inversely with the incarceration rate. And the people who pay for these jailbreak policies most are not those who live in gated communities. When authorities release criminals, regardless of their identity, those who live in predominantly African-American neighborhoods will pay the price in blood.

Why are so many Chicago neighborhoods a shooting gallery every weekend? The Illinois incarceration population has plummeted by 52% since fiscal year 2013. Why are New York subways becoming magnets for violence? NYPD subway arrests plummeted by 80% and summonses dropped by 95% in August compared with the year before. The city and state have engaged in unprecedented prison releases over the past year. The number of shooting incidents in the city increased 127% in September over the same period last year.

It doesn’t take a forensic criminologist to discover the culprit and connect the cause and effect. With reversed incarceration levels to those of the high-crime era of the early 1990s, it’s not hard to see why crime will begin rising to those levels again. Many cities are already experiencing homicide rates not seen since, you guessed it, the early 1990s – before we began “mass incarceration.” What we “benefit” in reduced numbers in prison, we ultimately pay for with increased dead bodies on the streets.

The reality is, with few exceptions, there are no “first-time, low-level” offenders sitting in prison, and there weren’t even during the peak of incarceration last decade. So many violent repeat offenders get off with a slap on the wrist.

Those who ultimately make it to prison are generally the worst offenders. The reality is that what drives America’s relatively high incarceration rate, particularly among black criminals, is not nebulous crimes, but violent crimes, which will be borne disproportionately by black victims of crime. According to this new BJS report, among sentenced state prisoners at year-end 2018, a larger percentage of black (62%) and Hispanic (62%) prisoners than white prisoners (48%) were serving time for a violent offense. And the bulk of those in there for other crimes were previously locked up for violent crimes or were incarcerated for violating the terms of probation on prior underlying crimes that were violent or high-level.

Also, there were nearly twice as many black prisoners as white prisoners serving time for murder in state prisons, even though white people are five and a half times greater in population. A higher percentage of white prisoners than black prisoners were serving time for drug and property offenses. Just 3% of black prisoners were locked up because of drug possession convictions, but nearly all of those were likely pled down or had a serious prior rap sheet.

It’s incontrovertibly clear that what is driving the higher black incarceration rate (which itself is at a three-decade low) has nothing to do with drugs or vague crimes. It’s the sort of crimes that destroy black neighborhoods in this country. Crime in these neighborhoods is worse than ever, and the overwhelming majority of black residents want a strong police presence. Which, yes, in a functioning system, will lead to more incarceration. But it will also lead to better deterrent and more lives saved.

Republicans should provide those voters with a real contrast rather than playing follow-the-leader with Democrats who have promoted failed weak-on-crime policies for decades.

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Rasmussen poll says 46% of black voters approve of President Trump

A daily tracking poll of President Donald Trump’s job approval released Friday showed an eye-popping surge in approval for Trump among black voters.

According to Rasmussen Reports, Trump’s approval among black likely voters surged this week from 25% on Monday to 46% by the end of the week on Friday.

Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll on Friday found that 51% of likely U.S. voters approve of President Trump’s job performance while 48% disapprove.

To say that the Rasmussen poll stands in contrast to other polling on President Trump’s job performance is a gross understatement.

According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Trump’s job performance is an average 9.5 points underwater, 44.4% approve to 53.9% disapprove. Recent polls on Trump’s approval other than Rasmussen have Trump at minus 9 points (Economist/YouGov), minus 16 points (Reuters/Ipsos), minus 14 points (Quinnipiac), and minus 12 points (Politico/Morning Consult).

It is highly unlikely that Trump’s approval among black likely voters managed to increase 20 points in just five days, especially when no other polls show a similar trend.

But that is not to say Trump is definitively not performing better-than-expected among black voters.

The Trump campaign has made outreach to black voters a top priority headed into the U.S. election. President Trump often boasts that he’s been the best president for black Americans in U.S. history, with the possible exemption of President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in the Confederate states and fought the Civil War. But aside from his rhetorical exaggerations, he has put forward serious policies specifically designed to reach out to and meet the wants of black Americans.

Last month, Trump gave a speech introducing the “Platinum Plan,” a sweeping set of policy proposals calling for a $500 billion investment in black communities to create 3 million new jobs for black Americans. His plan aims to give black Americans greater access to capital for business development, expand school choice and education opportunities, and expand criminal justice reform among other policies.

At Thursday night’s final presidential debate, Trump touted his record on criminal justice reform, funding historically black colleges, and creating economic opportunity zones. He accused Democratic nominee Joe Biden of being in government for 47 years and failing to achieve anything for the black community. Trump attacked Biden for sponsoring a crime bill in the 1990s that led to an increase of incarcerations of black Americans, questioning why Biden, if he now opposes the crime bill, didn’t act on it when he occupied the White House with President Obama and had a Democratic-controlled Congress.

The messaging is clearly targeted at peeling away black support for Biden.

By no means does polling data indicate that these overtures to black Americans will help Trump win the black vote on Election Day. But one study reported by FiveThirtyEight did show that compared to 2016, Trump’s support among young black voters (18 to 44) improved by 10 points.

Also, a study of black swing voters found that younger black voters don’t want to be taken for granted by the Democratic Party and tend to have a more negative view of Democrats, and a more positive view of Republicans, than their older peers. Young black men, while they overwhelmingly say Trump is a racist, incompetent, and disagree with his policies, also admire how he “shows strength and defies the establishment.”

Ultimately, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day, when the American people will decide if Trump deserves four more years in office. Don’t bet on 46% of black voters to swing for Trump.

But don’t be surprised if Trump’s support surprises.

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Horowitz: Prosecutors warn First Step Act releasing gangbangers in Chicago amid record gang violence

During the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Monday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) expressed his concern about felons getting firearms in Chicago based on a dissent the current Seventh Circuit judge and SCOTUS nominee had written. “These gangbangers and thugs fill up the trunks of their cars with firearms and head into the city of Chicago and kill everyone from infants to older people,” complained Durbin as he accused Barrett of supporting opinions that will make it easier for gangsters to bring in guns from other states.

Well, Senator, actually the problem is right in Chicago, and it has nothing to do with inanimate guns coming from out of state. It has everything to do with the gun felons and gangbangers that you have worked your entire career to set free from jail.

Durbin was a lead sponsor of the First Step Act, which offers hard-core drug traffickers and career criminals early release from prison. Durbin even voted for an earlier version of the bill, which reduced penalties on federal gun felons. Throughout the process of the prison release bill, we were told that these were only low-level offenders who were unjustly behind bars for too long and that this bill was not a prison release bill because judges would need to sign off on their release. Well, a new analysis by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that judges are signing off on the release of career criminals, including top gang leaders, much to the consternation of local prosecutors who are at their wits’ end trying to stem the tide of gun violence.

The Sun-Times analyzed 200 cases of early release in Chicago under the First Step Act and found that “more than 60 percent” of those who applied were granted sentence reductions by judges, “including some of the nation’s most notorious criminals.” Thus far, 75 applications for sentence reduction were granted, 45 denied, and the rest are still pending. As I warned at the time, counting on judges to keep criminals locked up defeats the entire purpose of the mandatory minimums. In the 1960s and 1970s, liberal judges set criminals free left and right, which led Reagan to go on a crusade for tougher sentencing laws.

In April, over the objection of prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo, a Clinton appointee, cut the sentence of notorious gangster James Yates from life to time served after 22 years behind bars. Three of his former co-defendants were also released, and next month, Larry Hoover, co-founder and former chairman of the Gangster Disciples, has a hearing for early release under the provisions of the First Step Act.

Who is Larry Hoover? According to the prosecutor in that case, “He was the unquestioned leader of a gang that was responsible for a murder rate that, you know, was over double the unacceptable murder rate we have today.”

This is what people forget. It’s not just about drugs, and these people were not young college kids caught possessing some small quantities of drugs. These are gang leaders who are fueling most of the murder and violence in Chicago. The way the feds put them away is by nailing them on gun, drugs, and racketeering charges. It’s that modus operandi that led to the massive decline in crime for two decades. But the reversal of those policies is what is fueling the recent rise in violence.

Chicago has had over 600 murders this year, on pace to more than double last year’s total. Nearly three times as many children have been shot this year in Chicago as last year. What is the source of this violence? According to the Chicago Tribune, “Gang-related shootings have remained a persistent problem all year long. Dozens of children 17 and younger have been fatally shot, often in gang crossfire in neighborhoods.”

This is the worst time to be releasing gang members. The Sun Times details other top gang leaders slated for early release, as well as corrupt cops who turned into career criminals and committed high-level crimes. The paper found that federal prosecutors contested 60% of those released by Illinois federal judges under the act so far.

There are a limited number of people with gang organizational leadership skills, and to release some of the best in Chicago at this time is the ultimate exercise in pouring lighter fluid on a raging forest fire.

If someone is serving hard time for a drug conviction in federal prison, chances are he is a gang leader. We saw this last October when Joel Francisco, who was released under the First Step Act, was charged with murder in Providence, Rhode Island, just months after being released. Francisco was serving life in prison for a third drug trafficking charge in 2005 under the “three strikes and you’re out” law. However, he got such a severe sentence not because of drugs but because he was a known Latin Kings member responsible for a lot of violence in the city, including shooting a man in the back of the head, execution-style, in 1997. He pleaded no contest for that, so at the time, he escaped full justice in the state system. The feds targeted him specifically for this reason, yet the First Step Act released him.

This is the dynamic that politicians like Dick Durbin obfuscate by talking about “gun violence” instead of gang violence and his hand in releasing gangbangers from prison. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass put it best when he described “gun violence” as “a politically correct term that gives politicians wiggle room.”

“It’s not gun violence. It’s street gang violence.” Kass declared. “If we really cared about these victims and their memories, we’d have the decency to call what happened to them by its real name: gang wars.”

In June, Laroy Battle was charged with shooting two teens to death at a candy store. The man was sentenced to probation 18 months ago for a gun felony, despite his prior record, and got no jail time, which allowed him to remain on the streets to allegedly commit this double murder.

In July, Teantun Davis was arrested for shooting a 5-month-old in the eye. Davis was arrested on June 26, 2019, for, you guessed it, illegally possessing a firearm. Yet he never served time in prison and instead was on probation. Indeed, the problem with Chicago is not the guns from outside the city but the criminals who abuse guns inside the city being released from jail. The Illinois incarceration population has plummeted by 52% since fiscal year 2013, and those numbers are accelerating more with coronavirus jailbreak. Durbin might be proud of those numbers, but they are reflected in the skyrocketing homicide rate on the city streets.

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Horowitz: Man charged with derailing NYC subway had been released without bail after arrest for similar incident

Criminals are creatures of habit. If they commit burglary and are released without punishment, they tend to return to break-ins. Well, likewise, if they have a penchant for sabotaging or damaging public transportation and they are released without bail, they tend to do it again. New York is now learning this basic lesson in criminology the hard way with Demetrius Harvard.

Early Sunday morning, a Manhattan subway car was derailed after hitting a metal pipe thrown on the tracks. It caused one of New York’s worst subway crashes in years, with hundreds of feet of electrified rail damaged or destroyed as well as the rail car. Fortunately, only three passengers sustained minor injuries. The good news is that there was no malfunction in the rail or on the tracks. The bad news is that it was caused by a saboteur who was caught by passengers while laughing about tossing the metal onto the tracks. He was held down until police arrived. So who is Demetrius Harvard?

Harvard, 30, is another career criminal who was allowed to remain on the streets despite his clear threat to public safety. According to the New York Post, Harvard had just been in court 15 days earlier for allegedly striking an MTA bus with a metal street barricade and shattering two windows. Despite this, prosecutors didn’t even ask that he be held on bail. He was released immediately.

Even worse, at the time of the initial incident, he had an open warrant for not showing up in court for another violent incident. Earlier this year, he was arrested for allegedly swinging a metal pipe at two Boost store employees and then throwing a metal trash can at the exterior of the store. According to court records, he also pleaded guilty to making terrorist threats in 2010 and had other arrests for assault and criminal mischief. Harvard, who is believed to be homeless and mentally ill, was clearly known as a public safety threat during the Sept. 5 hearing after the first public transit sabotage incident. How could such a man be released in a functioning criminal justice system?

The answer is that New York no longer has a functioning criminal justice system. Its “reforms” were never about first-time, nonviolent offenders. Even the most violent criminals seem to be released despite their past records.

Additionally, New York is clearly headed back to the 1970s era with violence on the subways. Several weeks ago, a woman was almost raped in broad daylight by a career criminal who was later released with relatively low bail.

According to new data from the NYPD, there were 110 major felonies reported on subways in August. While those numbers were lower than this time last year (crime was already rising then), those numbers are shocking because ridership is down 75% due to fears of the virus. Factoring in the reduced population traveling every day, that is a doubling of criminal incidents per capita. The culprit? According to the New York Daily News, “NYPD subway arrests fell by 80% and summonses dropped by 95% in August compared with the year before, data shows.”

And of course, even if they are arrested, they are released multiple times.

When deterrent goes down, crime goes up. Do we want to see the next scene in this horror movie?

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Horowitz: Plague of violence: Career criminals wreaking havoc on our country

Whether it’s a devastating arson in Oregon, a heinous physical attack caught on camera in New York City, or an ambush of cops throughout the country, you can bet the farm that it was committed by a career criminal who spent barely any time behind bars.

Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix, a Marine veteran and father of two, was responding to a break-in complaint early in the morning last Thursday. According to Sheriff Lowell Griffin, the suspect, Robert Ray Doss Jr., was found in his car at the scene and initially appeared to comply with the order to show his hands. “But in one rapid movement, he retrieved the gun, firing one round, striking [Hendrix] in the face and critically wounding him,” the North Carolina sheriff at a press conference said.

The other two deputies returned fire and killed Doss, while Hendrix died of his wound.

This is how cops are confronted with deadly career criminals every day, and one second of hesitancy on their part can result in their deaths. As a nation, we count every cop shooting of a suspect when cops pull the trigger out of fear — justifiably or unjustifiably — but we have no tally of the number of cops who die every week from stifling the initial instinct to use force immediately.

Remember, for the most part, if cops are called down to the scene of a robbery or break-in, they are usually dealing with violent, repeat offenders, not choirboys. They have every reason to believe the suspect will react with deadly force when confronted by police. In this case, Doss had a record of offenses for drugs, multiple arson crimes, and felony thefts “with arrests in Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia,” according to the sheriff. Arson is a very serious crime, as we saw with the devastation in Oregon this week, yet few arsonists serve time.

Liberals in both parties accuse our criminal justice system of being too punitive, but if that were true (if only), Hendrix would still be alive.

Then there is the case of the Oregon wildfires. We’ve all seen the devastation that looks eerily similar to the aftermath of the riots. Yet, sadly, they are actually both the result of career criminals going unincarcerated. While liberals were quick to blame the fires on global warming (because, you know, we never used to have wildfires), it turns out some were a man-made problem of jailbreak.

Michael Jarrod Bakkela was arrested on suspicion of setting the devastating fire in Phoenix, Oregon. According to KDRV, “Bakkela has an extensive criminal history in Jackson County alone — including a mix of misdemeanor drug charges and more serious felonies.” Court records show he has criminal arrests dating back to 1998 and has never served more than short periods of time behind bars.

Another man, Domingo Lopez, Jr., was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday for using a Molotov cocktail to start a fire, then was released, then arrested again and charged with starting six more fires!

Then of course there is Ricardo Miguel Munoz, 25, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, man police were forced to shoot when he charged at them with a knife while he was suspected in a domestic violence case. He was charged with stabbing four people last year and had an extensive record. Why wasn’t he locked up?

Then, even if they wind up being locked up, these criminals always seem to receive parole. This week, New York prosecutors announced that Charles Hernandez was charged with a third homicide in relation to a July shooting spree for which he was already charged with two murders. The New York Post revealed that he was released on parole in 2018.

Chicago is perhaps the worst repeat offender of releasing repeat offenders. On Saturday, Timmy Jordan was arrested for killing two and wounding three others. Despite seven felonies, including a weapons charge from just last year, he was out of jail on electronic monitoring. These devices are a complete joke.

Yet both parties continue to push for more jailbreak, more parole, and more leniencies. Kamala Harris is promising to end cash bail. Houston’s government is already working on a “cite-and-release” policy, which would end arrests for certain crimes, thereby allowing career criminals to build up criminal records but stay free.

What is becoming abundantly clear is that we need to toughen mandatory minimums for repeat offenders, tighten — not loosen — bail laws, and create a much stronger three-strikes-and-you’re-out law than we did in the 1990s.

The reality is that most violent criminals don’t come out of nowhere. They are known wolves. One study in Sweden in 2014 found that 1% of the criminals were responsible for 63% of all violent crime convictions. Researchers found that if all violent criminals were locked up after a third conviction, “more than 50% of all convictions for violent crime in the total population would be prevented.”

Yesterday, President Trump hosted a historic peace accord between Israel and two Arab neighbors. Peace in the Middle East is great, but now he must work toward peace in Middle America amid the wave of crime and anarchy. According to a new poll, 65% of Americans are concerned about law and order here at home. That needs to be Trump’s primary concern headed into the election. And it begins by calling for measures that lock up the destructive force of career criminals.

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Horowitz: Man caught on camera attempting to rape woman on NYC subway platform held on just $75K bail, despite 14 prior arrests

Still think we have an over-incarceration problem in this country, as the elites in both parties believe? Let me introduce you to Jose Reyes.

Over the weekend, Americans watched in shock and horror as images of a man throwing a 25-year-old woman on the ground on a Manhattan subway platform went viral over the internet. In a city that had been safe for a generation thanks to tough-on-crime policies, a criminal was undeterred from attempting to rape her in broad daylight on Saturday morning in one of the most public places in the city. On Sunday, police used the video to identify Jose Reyes, 31, as the suspect and issued an arrest because they recognized him from just a few months ago when he was caught and released after being charged with criminal mischief.

Even with national discussion centered around the lack of deterrent to such heinous crimes in the once safe subway system, it was still completely unexpected that this man would be offered just $75,000 bail and released after having been caught on camera attempting to commit such a violent crime. Even in New York, someone this bad would remain in jail pending the trial, right?

Well, bright and early Monday morning, Reyes was offered the option of release on just $75,000 cash bail at his arraignment. According to police, he had 14 prior arrests, including for robbery and assault on a police officer, and was caught with drugs on him. He confessed to knocking the victim down and forcing himself on top of her. But if he comes up with this relatively low sum, he could be free again. I guess we should count our blessings that this man wasn’t automatically released without having to post any bond, like so many other criminals.

Liberal cities are trying to bar police from using the facial recognition technology that was so instrumental in catching this suspect. It’s one of the many spheres of the criminal justice jailbreak agenda that is increasingly being adopted by both parties.

This is the America in which we now live. Even at the Republican convention, one speaker after another, many of whom sit at the highest positions of power within the administration, kept extolling the virtues of “criminal justice reform,” aka jailbreak of criminals – as if there are too many people incarcerated. Yet we’ve reached a point in this country where it is almost impossible to lock up violent criminals, no matter the seriousness of their crime, no matter the body of evidence, and regardless of their prior record.

If Reyes ultimately posts bond, how likely is it that the victim will be willing to press forward on this case? Aside from creating a lack of deterrent, easy-release policies pretrial make it harder to land a conviction because so many witnesses and victims are too scared to testify. As one New York state prosecutor told me last year, with these leniencies, “You’re gonna have more cases not getting resolved … more plea bargaining, if you will, and more people out of custody to continue to commit crime.” Someone with the history of Reyes, especially given the sensitivity of this case, should be held on much higher bond.

In addition, New York’s new bail law forces the prosecution to immediately turn over the addresses of witnesses and victims to the defense. Earlier this year, one MS-13 murder suspect who was released from jail was accused of murdering a witness in the trial.

These stories are not the rare exceptions; they are the rule. On Sunday, NYPD announced that Kariym Jackson, 39, a career criminal who is homeless, was charged for kicking a man down a flight of steps right at Penn Station. The victim died of his injuries. How could this man think he could get away with this crime at such a public place? Because he was already on parole despite his criminal record. The trend of parole over prison and pretrial release over jail time is turning this country into a violent third-world country.

These daytime attacks in New York City have become rampant.

People who survived the great crime wave of the 1970s are now moving out. Moving trucks are becoming a common sight in Manhattan’s once-safe upper west side.

What is going on in New York is a microcosm of the rioting and rampant crime across the country, where, so long as you are committing a politically correct crime in the eyes of our system, there is simply no deterrent against the act. While the rioting has certainly roped in thousands of people, the ones who commit the most heinous acts are almost always repeat violent offenders. Andy Ngo, who has covered Antifa violence as an on-the-ground journalist for years, reports that the man being investigated in the shocking murder of Trump supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson caught on camera in Portland, Oregon, Saturday night was arrested for illegally carrying a loaded gun at a riot in July. He was released and charges were never pursued.

In other words, if you are defending yourself against the mob, you will be prosecuted, or if you are caught carrying in a state that unconstitutionally bans the right to carry, you will be charged so long as you are of a certain identity. But if you are a career criminal or part of BLM, there is a universal right to carry.

Where are the Republican demands for locking up repeat offenders? Where are the criminal justice reform bills for victims of crime? Where is the effort to defund pro-criminal cities? When is it our turn to fight back?

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President Trump pardons Alice Marie Johnson, an inspiration and advocate for criminal justice reform

President Donald Trump granted a full pardon Friday to Alice Marie Johnson, a woman who served over 21 years in prison for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense, NBC News reported.

Johnson, whose sentence President Trump commuted in 2018, spoke during the Republican National Convention on Thursday night about how the president’s decision to give her a second chance at freedom changed her life.

“You have been fully pardoned,” President Trump told Johnson on Friday at the White House, as Johnson wiped away tears of joy. “That’s the ultimate thing that can happen. It means you can do whatever you want in life. Just keep doing the great job you’re doing. We’re very proud of Alice and the job you’ve done.”

Johnson’s story was one of the driving forces leading President Trump to advocate for passage of the First Step Act, the bipartisan criminal justice reform law that eased some of the harsh sentencing guidelines. Johnson’s own harsh sentence was made possible by a 1986 drug law, which was co-authored by then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.).

Johnson was convicted of attempted possession of cocaine, conspiracy to possess cocaine, and money laundering for her role in a cocaine trafficking operation in Memphis. In 1997, she was given a life sentence without parole, and an additional 25 years.

During her prison sentence, she was a model citizen and grew into a mentor for other women. She was granted the opportunity to speak by video from prison to Ivy League students and corporate executives, bringing her story to the public eye.

Kim Kardashian West saw video of Johnson’s story and began advocating for Johnson’s release through her own lawyer and White House adviser Jared Kushner. Former President Barack Obama rejected Johnson’s request for clemency three times.

Johnson has said that she got involved with drug dealing because she lost her job and needed to provide for her children, and regrets it as the “worst decision of her life.”

“Free in body thanks to President Trump, but free in mind thanks to the Almighty God,” Johnson said Thursday night. “I couldn’t believe it. I always remembered that God knew my name even in my darkest hour, but I never thought a president would.”

With the pardon, Johnson regains her right to vote ahead of the 2020 election.

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Left-wing groups pushing for jailbreak, immigration reform amid the coronavirus outbreak

Left-wing reform groups are pushing for the mass release of prisoners, a reduction in arrests, and limits on enforcement of immigration law as ways to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, according to a Washington Free Beacon report.

The initiative comes in response to warnings from experts that the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, could “wreak havoc” on U.S. jails because the facilities, often deficient in basic elements of infection control such as clean sinks and an abundance of soap and paper towels, would be less equipped to handle an outbreak should the virus breach the prison walls.

Instead of calling for increased sanitization standards in prisons, however, several of the groups appear to be using the outbreak to push criminal justice reform measures.

Here’s more from the Free Beacon:

The Sentencing Project, a pro-reform advocacy organization, called on public officials on Wednesday to “also prioritize the health and well-being of incarcerated people” in their responses to the virus. Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a senior research analyst with the project, said specifically that state and local governments should “release individuals who do not pose a public safety risk,” including elderly prisoners, “rehabilitated individuals in prison,” and those in pretrial detention—this latter population accounting for almost 500,000 people on an average day.

The Prison Policy Initiative on Friday published recommendations for how to aid the “justice-involved population” during the outbreak. It also called for the release of “medically fragile and older adults,” citing higher rates of chronic illness among prisoners.

In addition to the release of certain individuals, the Prison Policy Initiative recommendations also include taking steps to reduce the intake of prisoners. The group suggested law enforcement and sentencing institutions should start reclassifying misdemeanor offenses, using citations for lesser crimes, and diverting criminals away from jails and toward mental health and substance abuse programs in their communities.

But criminal justice reform isn’t the only issue being pushed as the pandemic grows in America.

Major liberal think tank the Center for American Progress called on the Department of Homeland Security earlier this week to “suspend certain immigration enforcement practices during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Specifically, CAP suggested that the Trump administration “issue a formal statement assuring the public that health care facilities will be ‘immigration enforcement-free zones’ for the duration of the outbreak.” The group characterized its suggestion as an “important step” “to ensure that all people in the United States have the ability to seek necessary medical care — regardless of immigration status.”

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Kim Kardashian West shares pro-Trump story buried by the media

Celebrity and criminal justice reform advocate Kim Kardashian West was at the White House on Wednesday to celebrate actions that President Donald Trump took last month, and she decided to share the story to her tens of millions of social media followers since she “didn’t hear much about it in the news.”

What are the details?

Kardashian West wrote on Twitter, “President Trump commuted the sentences of three really deserving women. I didn’t hear much about it in the news so I wanted to share with you their stories! I have the pleasure of spending the day with these women today along with @AliceMarieFree who helped to pick these women.”

The women Kardashian West was referring to are Judith Negron, Crystal Munoz, and Tynice Nichole Hall, all nonviolent offenders who were granted clemency by the president on Feb. 18 — the same day President Trump issued a number of high-profile pardons and commutations of sentences, including that of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Mrs. West went on to detail each of the women’s stories on her timeline in order to highlight their cases, which were largely buried by the media in light of the big names and more controversial pardons issued at the same time.

“Tynice Hall was sentenced to 35 years in prison for a first time non violent drug conspiracy,” Kardashian West wrote. “Her boyfriend at the time used her house for his illegal drug activities. She was only 22 years old when she went to prison and left behind a 3 year old son.”

Kardashian West wrote that “Judith Negron was sentenced to 35 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. After trial she received the longest sentence ever given to a female for a white collar crime. A mother, she left behind two young sons. This was Judith’s first ever offense.”

“Crystal Munoz,” Kardashian West wrote, “was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to possess & distribute marijuana. She left behind a five month old baby & was pregnant. Crystal was shackled by prison guards during the birth of her second daughter. Her case was highlighted in the First Step Act,” she added, referring to the criminal justice reform law signed by President Trump.

Kardashian West noted that she was also joined on her trip to the White House on Wednesday by Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old nonviolent drug offender whose life sentence was commuted by President Trump in 2018.

Anything else?

White House advisor and First Daughter Ivanka Trump also recognized the women whose sentences were commuted by her father, and posted a photo of the group gathered at the White House with the message, “Meet Judith Negron, Crystal Munoz and Tynice Nichole Hall,” noting, “these three mothers were granted clemency by @realDonaldTrump last month and are already using their second chance to pay it forward!”

The White House acknowledged the gathering on Twitter, too, saying that Negron, Munoz, and Hall “met with the President in the Oval Office along with @AliceMarieFree and @KimKardashian.”