CMPD to keep tabs on federal inmates being released - | WBTV Charlotte

CMPD to keep tabs on federal inmates being released

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

More than 200 federal inmates are to be released this week in North Carolina. Many of them are from the Charlotte area. Charlotte Mecklenburg police say they are working closely with federal probation and parole officials to keep tabs on who is getting out.

"We don't believe this will represent a huge spike in crime, although I would be remiss to say we'll be watching, and if they do we'll hold them accountable," said Deputy Chief Jeff Estes.

Marcus Philemon, founder of Char-Meck CourtWatch, is concerned about the federal government reducing so many inmates' sentences.

"Now, that the federal government has come in and said that we feel like the sentences have been too long, I'm wondering what kind of message that sends the criminal element as far as consequences for your crimes," Philemon said. "This is being PR'ed as non-violent crimes and these individuals are spending too much time in the prison system on a non-violent crime. Drugs wreak havoc on all our communities in one way shape or form, drugs are related to the majority of crimes that are committed."

His group tracks repeat offenders who get arrested over and over again. 

"In our organization when we see somebody get picked up for federal crimes, you almost breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they are going to be held accountable by a higher standard because the federal government is going to put them away," Philemon said. He says that feeling is gone.

"It's not like a pilot program, they didn't release ten to see how it went, they're releasing a large amount of people. We need to keep tabs on them, see how they're going to handle themselves by being released back into society," Philemon said.

And CMPD says they will be watching as they do with any inmate that is released.

"Our hope that whatever time is served, they get out and become an active, productive member of society. However, if they chose not to, then we're prepared for that as well," Estes said.

Estes explained the department has a list of about 50 federal inmates whose release began Friday. He says that list is in flux, depending on where people decide to live.

"This is just a larger number than normal. The same process is in place," Estes said.

In North Carolina, 218 convicted drug felons will be released by the first week of November. Many were labeled as threats to society and dangerous criminals and were charged with drug trafficking, having machine guns, and locked away for decades. Some were also non-violent offenders.

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