Move Will Right Some Wrongs of Extreme Drug Sentencing Laws
Starting November 1, 6,000 federal prisoners are set to be released from federal prison, a move that is the result of changes made by the U.S. Sentencing Commission last year that lowered federal sentencing guidelines for people convicted under draconian Drug War-era laws.
“It warms my heart to hear that 6,000 people will be coming home,” said Anthony Papa, manager of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), who spent 12 years behind bars on a mandatory minimum drug sentence. “The drug war has devastated families and communities and it is time for the healing to begin.”
This development reflects efforts underway in Congress and by the Obama Aadministration to reform federal drug sentencing laws, as well as a broader effort to adapt federal policy to overwhelming public support for reforming drug laws. More prisoners are expected to be released under the Sentencing Commission guidelines.
The 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 a slightly earlier release.
Over the past year, federal judges have been reviewing cases with prosecutors. Prisoners who were deemed a threat to public safety were denied re-sentencing.