Martin County sheriff says releasing hundreds of inmates in Florida is a bad move

Martin County sheriff says releasing hundreds of inmates in Florida is a bad move

STUART, Fla. - More than 800 federal inmates will walk free in Florida starting Friday.  Changes made in the sentencing of non-violent drug offenses have been applied retroactively for 6,000 federal inmates across the country.

"For every federal inmate that's now released into our state, into my county, will pose a threat to my deputies, will pose a threat to the law abiding citizens of Martin County," said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

Snyder said this is a cause for alarm for any sheriff in Florida.  Following Texas, the Sunshine State will have the second largest amount of inmates released in conjunction with the program.  A total of 863 will walk free.

"Our real concern right here in Martin County, we know already of one inmate being released who is a convicted sex offender who has a violent past, of weapons violations will be released and living right here in Hobe Sound," added Snyder.

The prisoners who will be released were jail for non-violent crimes in the 80s and 90s. The penalties for those drug related charges were downgraded in 2014 and retroactively applied to current inmates serving. Sheriff Snyder says it undoes the hard work of law enforcement. 

"Many of these inmates were sentenced for state charges and we in good faith allowed the federal government to take the case over and prosecute it in federal court those are really our prisoners," added Snyder, who says he will no longer turn over cases to the federal court system. 

The sheriff says with South Florida being a hot spot for drug trafficking, he believes it means an increase in drugs coming into Martin County. 

"We see cocaine and marijuana imported by the ton into Miami and it comes right up through Martin County and up through the state and out throughout the United States. This is a very unwelcome development for us in law enforcement," added Snyder.

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