The “empty the jails” initiative has really been picking up steam in cities around the country. This is particularly true of New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio authorized the release of roughly 1,500 inmates, including more than 650 from Riker’s Island. This was ostensibly done to avoid a massive outbreak of COVID-19 in the jails. So what did the newly released inmates do with their newfound freedom? Some of them simply went home to wait out the pandemic, I suppose. But according to the New York Post, at least fifty of them were back in jail in a matter of days, having committed a fresh round of crimes.

So what did Hizzoner think about all of this? He was really disappointed in the convicts, calling it “unconscionable” that anyone would take advantage of the system in this fashion. (Daily Wire)

After learning that inmates released from Rikers Island because of the coronavirus were committing new crimes, groundhog murderer Bill de Blasio lamented dolefully that the criminals’ actions were “unconscionable.” De Blasio mourned during his morning briefing, “I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done.”

De Blasio protested that few released criminals had committed new crimes, saying, “We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling. We’re going to just keep buckling down on it, making sure there’s close monitoring and supervision to the maximum step possible. And the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

Yes, it’s simply terrible, isn’t it Mr. Mayor? If only someone could have seen this coming. But who could possibly imagine that people who commit a sufficient number of serious crimes to wind up behind bars might go back out on the streets and commit more crimes?

So what happened to the ones who were almost immediately caught breaking the law yet again? At least half of them were released for a second time. They no doubt received a strongly worded letter warning them not to do it again, however.

We shouldn’t pretend that this policy of emptying the jails was something that de Blasio was forced into accepting because of the pandemic. In May of last year, long before anyone had ever heard of the novel coronavirus and when life was still “normal” in most regards, Bill de Blasio went on record saying he wanted to triple the number of teens released from jail without bail. This would include people accused of crimes including armed robbery, assault, and burglary.

So this wasn’t a case of the Mayor being forced into action by a crisis. This was de Blasio not letting a perfectly good crisis go to waste. And the people paying the price are the lawful citizens being once again victimized by criminals who the NYPD had already managed to capture and convict one or more times. None of this had to happen, and yet here we are.