The United States Justice Department Is To Release 6,000 Inmates Early From Prison

The United States Justice Department Is To Release
6,000 Inmates Early From Prison 
BHR Hollywood Reports............The Justice Department is set to release about 6,000 inmates early from prison — the largest one-time release of federal prisoners — in an effort to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to drug offenders who received harsh sentences over the past three decades, according to U.S. officials.

President Obama 
The mass release is the largest in the Bureau of Prisons history and the first wave of what could be tens of thousands of early releases, officials said.

The mass release was triggered by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which lowered maximum sentences for drug offenders last year and made the change retroactive.

Even with the Sentencing Commission's reductions, drug offenders will have served substantial prison sentences, said Sally Quillian Yates, a deputy attorney general with the Justice Department.

Sally Quillian 
Moreover, the reductions are not automatic, she said. Under the commission's directive, federal judges are required to carefully consider public safety in deciding whether to reduce an inmate's sentence.

"The Department of Justice strongly supports sentencing reform for low-level, non-violent drug offenders," Quillian Yates said.

Once inmates are released, she said, probation officers "are working hard to ensure that returning offenders are adequately supervised and monitored."

About one-third of the 6,000 inmates slated for release between October 30 and November 2 are non-citizens so they will be turned over to U.S. Immigration Custom Enforcement officials for deportation proceedings, according to one Justice Department official.

FBI Director James Comey 
The prisoners have served an average of nine years and were due to be released in about 18 months, the official said. Many were already in half-way houses.

The releases come amid a surge in murders and violent crimes in many cities around the country -- a trend that FBI Director James Comey noted during a recent press briefing at FBI headquarters.

Comey told reporters no one seems to be able to explain increases of 30% to 50% in murders in a wide variety of cities with little in common.

"Something very worrisome is going on," he said Thursday.

He added that his concern will cause him to be "thoughtful" about ongoing moves to reform the nation's criminal justice system.

Last week, a group of senators introduced a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, the first such legislation in decades.

Left(James Comey), Middle(President Obama),
 Right(Robert Mueller)
Although some advocates say it doesn’t go far enough, the measure, which is supported by a coalition that includes the Koch brothers and the American Civil Liberties Union, would shorten the length of mandatory-minimum drug sentences that were part of the tough-on-crime laws passed during the war on drugs in the 1980s and 1990s.

If passed by Congress and signed by Obama, the reforms would apply retroactively, allowing inmates who were previously incarcerated under mandatory minimums an opportunity for release.

“It’s a remarkable moment,” Price said. “Over the past several years, the tone of the discussion about incarceration has changed dramatically.

We have come to the realization that our punitive approach to drug crimes is not working and has produced significant injustices.”

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