Area law enforcement concerned about release of federal prisoners

Published: Nov. 13, 2015 at 4:52 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2015 at 8:23 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The law enforcement community is sounding the alarm about thousands of federal inmates being released early in communities across the country, including in our area.

It's part of a new push to relieve jail overcrowding by releasing non-violent drug offenders early, but area police have some concerns

In just the last week demonstrators took Broad Street chanting, "No incarceration, we need an education."

"Our sentences are too long," said Oludare Ogunde, a Richmonder who is celebrating a move to release close to 10,000 federal prisoners with mostly non-violent drug offenses. "One thing you have to realize when you incarcerate somebody, the entire family goes with that person."

Ogunde spent the last 18 years behind bars on credit card related charges. "So you form this vicious cycle, 'Oh, he's a bad guy. I'm going to send him to prison.'"

Area law enforcement are raising concerns like 'Are there enough halfway houses and supervision officers to handle this influx of inmates?' Virginia alone could see up to one thousand prisoners released.

"Are there axes to grind? Are there debts to settle?" said Dana Schrad, who is the executive director of Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. "We want to make sure that kind of reaction doesn't happen because that could represent a real threat to our communities."

Schrad says federal officials aren't even providing names of those released prisoners.

"Will they retaliate?" Schrad was worried. "That's always a concern. We don't know that that's going to happen, but it's certainly something you prepare for."

Ogunde is doing his part by teaming with radio personality Clovia Lawrence to produce public service announcements encouraging youth to avoid a life of crime that only leads to death or prison.

"Its a dark hole. You are left behind. You are not apart of your family," said Lawrence.

Lawrence says the PSAs will start running next Wednesday on Radio One stations in Richmond.

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