Between October 30 and November 2,2015, the United States will release 6,000 federal prisoners in accordance to new guidelines that went into effect November 2014 when an independent federal commission proposed shorter sentences for drug offenders. The result of the commission's decision that -just because someone was sentenced to a long prison term during the peak of the tough-on-crime era, he shouldn't automatically have to serve more time than he'd get if he were sentenced today. Of the 6000 to be released, only 4,000 are US citizens; about 2,000 of the prisoners scheduled for release are unauthorized immigrants, who will be detained and deported immediately after they're released from federal prison and legal immigrants
In January 2014, the Commission indicated it would reduce the drug sentencing guidelines and in March 2014, the Attorney General supported new guidelines being applied to on-going drug cases. As many as 46,000 prisoners are eligible to apply for shorter sentences under the change.
In 2011, Congress reduced the sentencing disparity between "crack" and powder cocaine and the Sentencing Commission decided to allow current prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine to apply for shorter sentences. The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. Ten thousand people are released from prison every week, most of them from state prisoners. Typically, the federal government releases 55,000 prisoners a year. It will be interesting to see how the federal criminal justice system will help ex-inmates reenter society.
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