Legal Analyst Coffey: Prisons Jammed Because Fewer Cons Get Early Release

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 08:43 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The nation's prisons are overcrowded partly because criminals are serving longer sentences, according to noted lawyer and legal analyst Kendall Coffey.

"You can always reduce populations by reducing prison sentences, but is that where the public wants to be?" Coffey told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

"One big change that has over time really driven the issue of prison populations: People used to get out after just serving a fraction of their prison time. That's changed now in most places. It's serious business.

"You can't look at getting out 30 percent of the way through your prison sentence hardly anywhere in the country anymore."

That changed, Coffey said, when it was determined that prisons had in many cases become revolving doors and were trampling the rights of victims.

"You're victimized by crime, somebody's sentenced to 10 years, do you really want to hear about them being out after two?" asked Coffey, co-founder of Miami-based law firm Coffey Burlington and a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

His remarks come after the news that California authorities want to release thousands of criminals early because of prison overpopulation in the Golden State.

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