On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States gave President Donald Trump a major win. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court voted to allow the President to divert $2.5 billion in military funds to help build an extra 100 miles of border wall across the California and Mexico border.
The 5-4 vote by the justices reversed the orders by a federal judge in Oakland, California and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals across the bay in San Francisco that prevented the Trump administration from using the Pentagon’s funds to help Trump build his border wall.
At the end of last week the Justice Department revealed it intends to release 3,100 inmates from federal prisons nationwide. Most of the people are being released for good behavior and were non-violent drug offenders, but some of the people being released also served time for weapons charges, robbery, sex offenses, and national security-related crimes.
This move is part of Trump’s administration implementation of the “First Step Act”, which is part of a criminal justice reform bill, that President Donald Trump signed into law in December of 2018.
According to The Boston Globe:
The First Step Act is one of the signature pieces of legislation passed during the Trump administration with bipartisan support. It shortens sentences for some inmates — partly through a change in the credit they are given for good behavior — and increases job training and other programs. It also requires the new risk assessment system, which officials said Friday will allow inmates to complete in-prison programs and, for some, receive ‘‘earned time’’ credits to get out earlier.
Reportedly, the Trump administration will redirect $75 million in fiscal spending for 2019 to help fund the First Step Act and its programs.
Research from a University of of Texas Institute in Austin, Texas discovered that nearly 7,000 people died while in law enforcement custody. The research showed an average of 623 deaths a year over a ten year period, with an increase in deaths in 2015 with 683 deaths of people while in custody. Over 90% of the people who died had not been charged with a crime. Reportedly 70℅ of the deaths were determined to be caused by natural causes, 11℅ were determined to be by suicide and 8% in what law enforcement call justifiable homicides.
The research project director Amanda Woog, a postdoctoral fellow at the institute, told The Texas Tribune researchers hope to find more information on each specific death.
“We can’t have an informed conversation about who’s dying at the hands of police or who’s dying in jails if we don’t literally know who’s dying and how they’re dying,” Woog said. “I think this information can help us get to the bottom causes of mortality in the criminal justice system and with that lead us to solutions.”