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house Bill H.R. 2957

Should Convicted Terrorists Be Ineligible for Early Release from Federal Prison?

Argument in favor

Convicted terrorists have committed serious offenses against the U.S. and global security. They shouldn’t be eligible for early release from federal prison because of the risk that they’ll return to their terror group and go back to posing a threat to public safety.

James's Opinion
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12/08/2019
Convicted terrorist should be given the death penalty! Period!
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JTJ's Opinion
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12/08/2019
Convicted terrorists should receive the death penalty.
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verymary's Opinion
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12/09/2019
Terrorists rarely forget their murderous intent. The system doesn't need to give them second chances.
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Argument opposed

Terrorists are entitled to the same opportunity for early release as any other prisoner. To date, no released terrorist has returned to terrorist activities against the U.S. — so there’s no reason to rule out the possibility of allowing early release for such persons.

burrkitty's Opinion
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12/08/2019
Dumb. Law is already law. Certain classes of criminal offenders are not eligible for consideration for parole.These generally include repeat offenders and violent offenders. These groups are generally not eligible for early release because their status as repeat and violent offenders renders them, in the eyes of the law, as a threat to the safety of the community into which they would be released. Individuals serving sentences for federal crimes are generally not eligible for parole release. Through the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, Congress eliminated essentially eliminated parole for federal defendants who were convicted of crimes committed after November 1, 1987. Ergo: People convicted of terrorism are ALREADY INELIGIBLE. And this bill is a showboating waste of time and money that doesn’t do a damn thing. The GOP hopes people are stupid.
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jimK's Opinion
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12/09/2019
Election year garbage legislation so a Congressman has something to point to and convince their constituents that they actually did something. Early Release programs are not automatically available to all convicts. There is criteria regarding the nature of the crime, their role in crimes that they participated in, plaintiff concerns and an evaluation of their true rehabilitation. If the criteria for these determinations needs some adjustment to include those criteria pertinent to classes of ‘terrorists’, ask the people responsible for preparing those criteria to address them. No new legislation is needed, especially not a one-size-fits-all sentencing mandate. While this ‘sounds’ good especially for terrorists it is basically just not fair. Our laws apply to everyone, not just citizens- and need to be applied uniformly to all. No more useless new legislation for election year ‘creds’. It is a waste of time, effort and money. No more one-side-fits-all legislative mandates to remove due ‘judgement’ from the process.
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J. scott's Opinion
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12/08/2019
Just congressional grandstanding in their lawmaking. There are already strong laws against terrorism and I don’t see being easy on Terrorism as a problem. Moreover, it won’t prove more of a deterrent since it doesn’t add anything and Terrorist are not criminals that spend any time caring what happens to them.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMay 23rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2957?

This bill — the No Leniency for Terrorists Act of 2019 — would make anyone convicted of a terrorist offense ineligible for early release from federal prison for good behavior. Under current federal law, any federal prisoner can be released early for “exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations” even if they were convicted on terrorism charges.

Impact

Persons convicted of terrorist offenses; persons convicted of terrorist offenses who are being held in federal prison; and early release for good behavior for persons convicted of terrorist offenses.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2957

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) introduced this bill to make anyone convicted of a terrorist offense ineligible for early release from federal prison for good behavior

“A convicted terrorist walking free before his sentence is completed should never happen again. The Spann family asked me to address this injustice, and I want to make sure no other family has to go through what they have been through.  The No Leniency for Terrorists Act will prevent terrorists from taking advantage of our laws to avoid paying their debt to society. We must ensure that terrorists will remain behind bars where they belong.”

Senate sponsor Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) adds

“Our safety depends on keeping dangerous terrorists where they can't harm Americans, but right now even unrepentant terrorists are eligible for early release from prison, sometimes for so-called ‘good behavior.' Supporting radical Islamist groups like ISIS is savage behavior, not good behavior. Our bill would make convicted terrorists ineligible for early release.”

The Intercept argues that the release of convicted terrorists doesn’t pose a threat to public safety

“[T]hose who believe Lindh’s release should raise fresh fears for our collective safety simply haven’t been paying attention. Lindh is unique as a cultural figure — his capture in Afghanistan made him a modern-day Benedict Arnold — but he is just one of more than 400 convicted terrorists who have been released from U.S. prisons since 9/11. In fact, Lindh isn’t even the only convicted terrorist being released over the course of a week in late May. Charlton Edward La Chase, who wanted to be — in his words — “the first deaf person to create American casualties in the name of ISIS,” was freed on May 24. Michael Todd Wolfe, who planned to head to Syria to join ISIS, will be released May 30. Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has over the past few years released dozens of name-brand terrorists. U.S. officials have no special program to monitor these people or help reintegrate them into a society that may continue to see them as the enemy… So far, none of the convicted Islamist terrorists released from federal prison have been charged with new terrorism-related offenses or have been alleged to be part of a terrorist plot in the United States. Take the so-called Liberty City Seven: a group, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a national press conference, that wanted to wage ‘a full ground war’ against the United States. Its alleged members have all been freed; their purported leader, Narseal Batiste, is now a painter in Houston. Bryant Neal Vinas, who was captured in Pakistan and admitted to firing rockets on U.S. military bases in September 2008, is living in New York, having received a lenient sentence after working with the government as a cooperating witness. Even Najibullah Zazi, once described by former Attorney General Eric Holder as “one of the most serious terrorist threats to our nation” since 9/11, should be released soon. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison — which he’s already served — after also having worked with the government as an informant. None of this is to say that the prospect of “terrorist recidivism” isn’t real; it’s just debatable how serious the concern should be about released convicts like Lindh.”

This legislation has 10 bipartisan House cosponsors, including nine Republicans and one Democrat. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), has one Senate cosponsor, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). Neither bill has received a committee vote.


Of NoteJohn Walker Lindh, an American citizen who left the country to join the Taliban, was released early from prison on May 23, 2019. Lindh had been caught on the battlefield by U.S. military forces, convicted of providing material support to the Taliban and sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

Ultimately, Lindh only served 17 years of his sentence and got three years off for good behavior. While being held prisoner in Afghanistan in November 2001, Lindh participated in a violent uprising with his fellow Taliban prisoners which resulted in the death of CIA officer and Alabama native Johnny Michael Spann. This made Spann the first American killed during the War on Terror in Afghanistan. While in prison, he continued supporting the actions and missions of ISIS and the Taliban, As recently as 2015, Lindh wrote in a letter from prison that ISIS was “doing a spectacular job.”

Rep. Byrne’s office reports that in addition to Lindh, there are 108 other terrorist offenders who are scheduled to complete their sentences and be released from U.S. federal prison over the next few years. 


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Motortion)

AKA

No Leniency for Terrorists Act of 2019

Official Title

To prevent prisoners who have been convicted of terrorism related offenses from being eligible for early release, and for other purposes.

    Convicted terrorist should be given the death penalty! Period!
    Like (57)
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    Dumb. Law is already law. Certain classes of criminal offenders are not eligible for consideration for parole.These generally include repeat offenders and violent offenders. These groups are generally not eligible for early release because their status as repeat and violent offenders renders them, in the eyes of the law, as a threat to the safety of the community into which they would be released. Individuals serving sentences for federal crimes are generally not eligible for parole release. Through the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, Congress eliminated essentially eliminated parole for federal defendants who were convicted of crimes committed after November 1, 1987. Ergo: People convicted of terrorism are ALREADY INELIGIBLE. And this bill is a showboating waste of time and money that doesn’t do a damn thing. The GOP hopes people are stupid.
    Like (83)
    Follow
    Share
    Election year garbage legislation so a Congressman has something to point to and convince their constituents that they actually did something. Early Release programs are not automatically available to all convicts. There is criteria regarding the nature of the crime, their role in crimes that they participated in, plaintiff concerns and an evaluation of their true rehabilitation. If the criteria for these determinations needs some adjustment to include those criteria pertinent to classes of ‘terrorists’, ask the people responsible for preparing those criteria to address them. No new legislation is needed, especially not a one-size-fits-all sentencing mandate. While this ‘sounds’ good especially for terrorists it is basically just not fair. Our laws apply to everyone, not just citizens- and need to be applied uniformly to all. No more useless new legislation for election year ‘creds’. It is a waste of time, effort and money. No more one-side-fits-all legislative mandates to remove due ‘judgement’ from the process.
    Like (75)
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    Convicted terrorists should receive the death penalty.
    Like (35)
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    Terrorists rarely forget their murderous intent. The system doesn't need to give them second chances.
    Like (29)
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    Just congressional grandstanding in their lawmaking. There are already strong laws against terrorism and I don’t see being easy on Terrorism as a problem. Moreover, it won’t prove more of a deterrent since it doesn’t add anything and Terrorist are not criminals that spend any time caring what happens to them.
    Like (29)
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    Domestic or foreign terrorist? Remember in the 50s with the communist scare, common citizens were considered to be terrorists. our country has a way of manipulating the truth to serve its own purpose. Remember the patriot act. Anyone can be arrested, held without representation forever ... Yes there needs to be justice But let’s also remember that lots of people were held without cause.. Let’s also remember the interment camps of the early 1940’s They too were considered terrorists
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    They should be put to death. We shouldn’t have to pay for their keep and if they are released they could be responsible for future deaths. Eliminate them! Harsh but it needs to happen
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    Why on earth would you let these animals out, just execute them. #MAGA
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    Terrorists pose serious threats to national security and to the lives of hundreds or thousands of people. We need to take their actions very strictly and not give them early release to prison simply because of good behavior. People who pose those kinds of threats are very dangerous to the public and there should be zero tolerance towards them.
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    They must never get out.
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    Often we wish to believe that good behavior in an environment that is strictly controlled represents a renouncement or contrition for believes or behaviors that contributed to their incarceration. Good behavior in confinement may mean that there may be no opportunity for further terrorist behavior. The confinement itself may offer greater radicalizing influences and greater access to those who have similar beliefs. Incarceration may offer greater training and networking. This is one major reason we should not make incarceration a growth industry. They become universities for the advancement of criminals. Many of the people who find themselves incarcerated may have chosen a different path if not forced to live with the truly violent elements in our society. Back to topic: No, the release of a terrorist before they serve their full sentence should be based on individual evaluations and release is granted by the same authority the pasted the sentence.
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    Terrorists are entitled to the same opportunity for early release as any other prisoner. To date, no released terrorist has returned to terrorist activities against the U.S. — so there’s no reason to rule out the possibility of allowing early release for such persons.
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    This bill is based in paranoia and myth. There is no proof that someone incarcerated for a terrorist act will do so again after release. If they’re imprisoned under our laws they’re also subject to release under those same laws
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    Terrorists should be incarcerated forever. When they get out they will do it again.
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    “Do the crime, serve the time”. Terrorism isn’t shoplifting 😡
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    First of all this bill is assuming that the person convicted is guilty. One of the things about our trial system is that people are convicted of crimes that they did not commit in the heat of the moment. Second the people who are with a person in jail would know their mind best. They should be given the same opportunity as anyone else to be rehabilitated. Terrorists are entitled to the same opportunity for early release as any other prisoner. To date, no released terrorist has returned to terrorist activities against the U.S. — so there’s no reason to rule out the possibility of allowing early release for such persons. Terrorists are less likely to return to their way of life than people who are let out all the time who have committed mass murder or are serial abusers. They are more of a threat than terrorists.
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    Convicted terrorists should be shot!
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    Reform the justice system and rehabilitate our fellow citizens. If anything, showing that we take care of those most opposed, shows a measured hand in dealing with issues.
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    I get the feeling this bill is playing off of the fear the word "terrorist" inspires, and it won't be long before it's applied more liberally. As it stands, the government itself would fit its own definition of a terrorist organization if not for the fact that it deems its own violence as "lawful."
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