“Jailbreak” beneficiary celebrated by Trump is arrested for dealing meth

On April 1, 2019, President Trump held a White House summit to celebrate passage of the First Step Act, a leniency bill for federal felons. One of the convicts whose case Trump highlighted was Troy Powell. Trump referred to Powell as a great electrician and joked about using him for work in the White House. He noted that Powell had been hired by a lumber company in North Carolina.

Trump then brought Powell to the lectern. Powell thanked various organizations that had lobbied to get First Step passed (though not the Heritage Foundation). But “more needs to be done,” Powell insisted. “There’s people doing 40, 50 years, for nothing, I mean absolutely nothing,” lamented Powell, as if dealing deadly drugs is nothing. The Republican National Committee tweeted out the video.

Less than a year later, Daniel Horowitz reports that Powell has been arrested for meth trafficking. Apparently, Powell still believes that this crime is “nothing.” Yet, thousands of Americans are dying every year because of drugs like the ones Powell sells.

Powell should have been the model candidate for the “redemption” that the leniency crowd promises to achieve through First Step. He has a skill and got a job almost immediately after leaving prison.

Indeed, Powell is a model. That’s why he was selected to speak at the White House. That’s why Trump celebrated him.

Yet, it took less than a year to catch Powell dealing drugs again.

Powell is not an outlier. The statistics tell us that. As Horowitz says:

The sad thing is that this happens all the time. I’m told by sources at the DEA who are not authorized to speak to the media that they see many people who have been released in recent years, including under Obama, back to trafficking for the cartels within days of their release. If not for a local North Carolina TV station, we would never have known about this case.

The last point is important. The leniency crowd knows that the recidivism rate for the felons on whose behalf it lobbies will be high, and it wants to suppress that information. That’s why 18 Republicans joined every Democrat in defeating an amendment to First Step by Sen. John Kennedy that would have required the Bureau of Prisons to publish the rearrest information of released prisoners.

What is the leniency crowd trying to hide? It’s trying to hide Troy Powell (once the spotlight was off) and the many thousands of similar ex-cons who, unreformed and unrepentant, will begin dealing deadly drugs again almost immediately upon their release.

You can watch Trump’s presentation, including his tribute to Troy Powell and Powell’s speech, below.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.