Former convict Malcolm B. Benson has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting Army veteran Stanley Carter last September, just as top GOP leaders are pushing GOP legislators to pass a criminal “reform” bill that would provide early release to many more criminals.
Benson served 19 years after being charged in 1995 with first-degree murder and a felony firearms charge. He was sentenced to 20 to 40 years, but got out early on “good behavior” — and then used his second chance in life to kill Carter at a Detroit bus stop just months after his release.
As Georgetown adjunct professor Bill Otis asks: “When early release goes wrong, as it so often does, who pays the price?”
That’s the question facing Republican lawmakers as they debate whether to join the bipartisan leadership push for a national early release program, which would provide an early release for thousands of violent criminals, on top of the perhaps 30,000 criminals — plus tens of thousands of foreign criminals — that President Barack Obama administration and its allies are releasing back to American streets.
This week, according to a congressional source, House Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing GOP legislators is to approve the new criminal-release bill by hiding it in a set of popular bills that are intended to curb the growing drug-overdose crisis. That drug crisis is being caused by criminals, many of whom have already been released after prior prison sentences.
Republicans are balking before Ryan’s leap into criminal reform, partly because the nation’s murder rates spiked in 2015, and the crime rate is jumping in L.A. and other cities where many criminals have been released or where sentencing has been rolled back. For example, a criminal shot and killed a cop in New York last October after he was deemed “non-violent” and then released.
Also, polls show that as many as 70 percent of Americans believe crime is rising — and these numbers come in the wake of explosive riots in cities like Baltimore and high-profile murders and rapes by illegal aliens surging into the United States.
This fall, Donald Trump is expected to make crime an issue in the November elections.
In swing-state Virginia, the Democratic governor has just granted voting rights to roughly 200,000 former criminals, likely pushing the state into the Democratic column in November.
Where is the national outrage from Republicans about the broader jailbreak agenda, the clemencies and the release of violent criminal aliens? Republicans should be introducing legislation, holding hearings, and conducting non-stop media interviews decrying this war on our sovereignty, security, and society. Yet, on an almost daily basis, Speaker Paul Ryan actually name-drops “criminal justice reform” as his top legislative priority for the remainder of the year. He provides Obama tailwinds instead of headwinds for his most dangerous agenda, which is opposed by the silent majority of the country.
In Michigan, convicted murderer Benson didn’t serve more than 19 years because he killed a man in 1995, prior to enactment of a strict sentencing law, said a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, Holly Cramer. she said, according to MLive:
Because Truth in Sentencing didn’t come into play until 1998, and his offense occurred in 1995, when we still allowed disciplinary credits. Disciplinary credits allowed for parole eligibility to be accelerated for an indeterminate sentence, like his 20 to 40 years, if a prisoner had good behavior. Under that system it was five days for every month served, plus the potential for two additional days for exceptionally good behavior.
As the Michigan Corrections Department states: “Truth in Sentencing is a 1998 state law which eliminates disciplinary credits, good time and corrections centers for certain offenders and requires offenders to serve the entire minimum sentence in prison prior to being considered for parole.”