Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New rule permits early release for thousands of drug offenders

WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of prisoners serving time for federal drug offenses will be eligible to seek early release beginning next year.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission, which voted in April to reduce penalties for most drug crimes, voted unanimously Friday to make the change retroactive. It will apply to nearly 50,000 federal inmates sentenced under the old rules.

The Sentencing Commission said the move would help ease prison overcrowding and reduce prison spending, which makes up about a third of the Justice Department's budget. The change comes amid a bipartisan effort to roll back the harshest penalties set at the height of the drug war.

Civil rights groups and prison-reform advocates cheered the decision. Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, called it a "historic shift in the decades-long war on drugs, which has filled half of federal prison cells with people convicted of drug offenses."

The Sentencing Commission change takes effect Nov. 1 unless Congress votes to overrule it. Prisoners wouldn't be eligible for early release until a year from then.

The thousands of early releases won't happen at once. New prisoners will become eligible each year as they near the end of their sentences. A federal judge will review each request.

New rule permits early release for thousands of drug offenders 07/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2014 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buckhorn's joke about pointing machine guns at media draws fire

    Military

    TAMPA — At a time when journalists are under fire both literally and figuratively, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's "joke" last week at a military conference about pointing twin 50-caliber machine guns at journalists and watching them "cry like little girls" rankled several war correspondents in the room.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a  Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year.JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Angels and Trout, with Odorizzi on mound

    Blogs

    After losing Sunday's game but winning a third straight series, the Rays open a four-game series tonight against the Angels and Mike Trout.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP J.C. Ramirez for the Angels.

    Evan Longoria is getting a DH day, so the Rays have rookie Daniel …

    Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.
  3. Lightning's Swedes live their dream in Worlds

    Blogs

    You could see it in his face.

    Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman screamed as he hoisted the World Championship trophy Sunday afternoon in Cologne, Germany, and it looked like an exhale that was years in the making. Stralman kissed the forehead of Swedish teammate Joel Lundqvist, the joy unmistakable.

    Victor Hedman of Sweden celebrate with his teammates after scoring the opening goal in the gold-medal game against Canada.
  4. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary

    Banking

    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  5. Bob Buckhorn apologizes amid online uproar over his joke about pointing machine gun at journalists

    Blogs

    The office of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn issued a statement Monday afternoon saying Buckhorn is apologizing to combat journalists for a joke he made last week about pointing …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year.