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Washington, D.C. - Earlier today, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced legislation making anyone convicted of a terrorist offense ineligible for early release from federal prison for "good behavior." Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. The bill text can be found here.
"Our safety depends on keeping dangerous terrorists where they can't harm Americans, but right now even unrepentant terrorists are eligible for early release from prison, sometimes for so-called ‘good behavior.' Supporting radical Islamist groups like ISIS is savage behavior, not good behavior. Our bill would make convicted terrorists ineligible for early release," said Cotton.
"The early release of convicted terrorists sends the wrong message to those who have fought against terrorism and those who want to cause us harm," said Shelby. "This legislation will help us prioritize the safety and security of our nation above all else. Today's early release of John Walker Lindh is disheartening and unacceptable, and I am proud we are taking this step to make terrorists ineligible for early release."
"A convicted terrorist walking free before his sentence is completed should never happen again," said Byrne. "The Spann family asked me to address this injustice, and I want to make sure no other family has to go through what the they have been through. The No Leniency for Terrorists Act will prevent terrorists from taking advantage of our laws to avoid paying their debt to society. We must ensure that terrorist will remain behind bars where they belong."
The first person convicted of terrorism charges in the War on Terror was released early from prison this morning. John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who left to join the Taliban, was caught on the battlefield by U.S. military forces. Lindh had been convicted of providing material support to the Taliban and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He only served 17 of those years, getting three years off for "good behavior." In prison, Lindh continued supporting the actions and missions of ISIS and the Taliban. In a letter from prison, Lindh wrote as recently as 2015 that ISIS was, "doing a spectacular job." Supporters of ISIS and other radical terrorists should never qualify for "good behavior."