After the release of more than 3,000 federal prisoners, the Justice Department is trying to recall their sentences and lock them back-up, according to a Washington Post article.
Trump, along with the Congress and the Senate, passed a bill back in 2018 signing-off on releasing those prisoners who had possessed minimum amounts of crack cocaine. They qualified for early parole under a new Bill called the First Step Act.
Attorney General Barr and the Justice Department are having second thoughts about the bill which would reduce and restrict severe sentences, even though Trump and those in the White House are applauding the bill so far.
“Department of Justice is pushing against the will of the people, the will of Congress and the will of the President,” said Holly Harris, a conservative activist and leader of the Justice Action Network, who worked with Congress and the White House to pass the law.
Prior to the passing of this bill people were sentenced to the same amount of time as those who had larger amounts of powdered cocaine. For years this disparity in sentencing has created arguments based on race.
The position of the Attorney General and the Justice Department on this bill is that it is letting out too many prisoners too fast and that by letting this many out, it could cause a backlash not only on them but also on Trump and White House staff, who helped author the bill.
“Department of Justice is pushing against the will of the people, the will of Congress and the will of the President,”
Trump and the White House staff do not see it like that. In April of this year the President held a celebration touting the bill’s progress. He invited several recently released prisoners to the function. One of them was Gregory Allen, who spoke.
Allen stated that two months ago he was behind prison walls. “Now I am in the White House.” He had been in prison since 2001 for selling cocaine.
Prior to the passing of the bill, Obama and his administration failed to gain any traction on getting the bill off the Congress floor.
When Trump was elected one of his aims was to reduce the federal prison population. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father was jailed for tax problems, felt crimes of that nature along with small amounts of crack cocaine should be minimized.
The attorney general’s office and the justice department are challenging the interpretation of the bill. They feel that the length of a prisoner’s sentence should be based on the amount of cocaine they possess.
Those who voted for the passage of the bill, along with federal prosecutors and some attorney generals, see the bill righting wrongs from years past. The majority of people incarcerated under the old law were people of color.
According to a justice spokesman, the government’s position requires the courts to weigh how much crack cocaine was involved at the time of the arrest.
The Washington Post has reviewed a lot of these cases and is finding that cases be- ing recalled or interpreted by the courts and the justice department are not following the letter of the bill as it was written.