Drug Felons Freed from Fed Prisons
Earlier this month, the United States Sentencing Commission and the Senate Judiciary Committee joined forces in an epic vote in favor of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Under the new reform policy, 6,000 inmates in federal prisons across the country who are serving time for felony drug charges will be released early as they are no longer deemed a threat to society. Roughly 2,000 of the inmates being released will reportedly be deported and an additional 8,550 federal inmates will be eligible for release from November 1, 2015 to November 1, 2016, according to the Sentencing Commission.
Where are prisoners being released from?
Inmates will be released in all states and territories throughout the nation, according to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The chart below depicts the number of inmates slated to be released by state:
Life After Lockup
The reform policy is a joint effort that is being orchestrated by federal organizations in an attempt to redefine how drug related crimes are handled in the hopes of reducing the prison population, while attributing punishments that are more proportionate to the crimes committed. The reform is believed to be vital to giving drug offenders a second chance at a viable life outside of their prison cells, free from their history of selling or using substances.
As a result, a great deal of work is being done to aid the newly released individuals with resources that will make their transition back into civilian life as smooth as possible. The inmates will have the option to enter into halfway houses, publicly/privately sponsored re-entry programs specifically designed to aid prisoners with this often difficult transition, and many will simply return to their own support system of family and friends.
Once released, inmates are required to comply with any and all predetermined parole requirements necessary as well. Most will be expected to successfully pass probation drug testing, report to a parole officer for scheduled check-ins, and seek gainful employment. Each of the requirements set forth are believed to be vital to keeping recidivism rates as low as possible and increase in the success of their reintegration into society.
The US Sentencing Commission released the following statement: “The Commission is pleased to see the Senate Judiciary Committee undertaking a serious examination of current mandatory minimum penalties and considering options to make the federal criminal justice system fairer, more effective, and less costly. S. 2123 in many respects is consistent with longstanding recommendations of the Commission, and we gratified to see they are under serious consideration. The Commission thanks you for holding this very important hearing and looks forward to working with you in the weeks ahead.”
“The number of people who will be affected is quite exceptional,” said Mary Price, general counsel for the sentence reform advocacy group, Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “It’s a remarkable moment. Over the past several years, the tone of 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.”