In an attempt to ease overcrowding and overturn harsh sentencing guidelines for drug dealers in the 1980s and 1990s, the Department of Justice is preparing to release about 6,000 nonviolent inmates from federal prison at the end of the month, according to The New York Times.
The release, scheduled between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, includes about two-thirds of inmates who will go to halfway houses and home confinement before being placed on supervised discharge. Another third of the inmates, who are undocumented immigrants, will be deported, writes the news outlet.
The move comes after the U.S. Sentencing Commission last year reduced punishment for future drug offenders and then made the change retroactively, according to the Washington Post. It is a separate action from President Barack Obama’s recent decision to grant clemency to non-violent drug offenders, writes the news outlet.
From the Washington Post:
The [U.S. Sentencing Commission] estimated that its change in sentencing guidelines eventually could result in 46,000 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 drug offenders in federal prison qualifying for early release. The 6,000 figure, which has not been reported previously, is the first tranche in that process.
“The number of people who will be affected is quite exceptional,” said Mary Price, general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group that supports sentencing reform….
The releases are part of a shift in the nation’s approach to criminal justice and drug sentencing that has been driven by a bipartisan consensus that mass incarceration has failed and should be reversed.
We are pleased to see the nation moving forward to stem the tide of mass incarceration, which has devastated families of color.
Watch Roland Martin, Cynthia Roseberry, Project Manager for the Clemency Project and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the early release of nearly 6,000 ow-level, non-violent drug offenders in the video clip below.
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