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. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.