Of the more than 11,000 federal inmates who were released to home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic, 17 were returned to prison for committing new crimes, according to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
In response to a query from Keri Blakinger, a reporter for The Marshall Project, the Bureau of Prisons said that of the 17, 10 committed drug crimes, while the rest of the charges included smuggling non-citizens, nonviolent domestic disturbance, theft, aggravated assault, and DUI.
Criminal justice groups that worked to keep those people from returning to federal prison say the numbers are vindication for them.
“For those of us who think there’s too many people who are serving too long in prison, you couldn’t ask for a more affirming number,” says Kevin Ring, president of the criminal justice advocacy nonprofit FAMM.
“You hear demagogues a lot of times say that people in federal prison are the worst of the worst, and that’s false. Anyone who’s visited a federal prison camp knows that there’s no fences around them, and that people stay on the honor system,” says Ring.
“These numbers show that that’s statistically false as well,” he adds.
NPR reported that nearly 11,000 federal inmates had been released to home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The expanded releases were authorized by the massive pandemic relief bill passed by Congress, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, with the intention of reducing the spread and lethality of COVID-19 in federal prisons.
Those released early to home confinement began to rebuild their lives and reconnect with their families, but there was the question of what would happen to them once the pandemic was over. In the final days of the Trump administration, the Justice Department released a memo finding that once the federal government ended its COVID-19 emergency declaration, all of those former inmates with remaining sentences would have to report back to federal prison.
Read the full story at Reason.com.