“Well, 6000 is the initial release. The overall plan is 46,000 to be released. I have a real problem with it at a time when we are struggling in law enforcement and this complicates our job that much more,” Pinal County, Ariz. Sheriff Paul Babeu told The Daily Caller. According to Babeu, the administration already released felons into his county two years ago.
“Here in Arizona, specifically, this administration has released countless criminals into my state and into my county and refuses to tell me where they have been released to, their full criminal history and their names,” he explained noting that almost a third of those already released are not American citizens.
“They released close to 500 in my county and two were charged with murder. We had over a dozen that were convicted with sexual assault and rape. I had asked for their names and they denied me.”
The administration says the felons who are being released are all low-level non-violent drug offenders. However, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte writes in an op-ed at National Review that the pool of offenders includes “serious violent felons and criminal aliens.”
In early 2014, the Sentencing Commission adopted an amendment to lessen the sentences for certain drug-trafficking and distribution violations. As a result, Goodlatte notes, it included “trafficking offenses that involve drug quantities substantial enough to trigger mandatory minimum sentences.”
The push to release the felons is part of the administration’s criminal justice reform agenda. Both Democrats and Republicans are crafting criminal justice reform legislation from Capitol Hill, but Republicans are beginning to feel pressure from conservative activists who are equating participation in the process of criminal justice reform with taking responsibility of potential future consequences.