Justice Department To Release 6,000 Inmates From Federal Prison

| by Sean Kelly
keys in door of prison cellkeys in door of prison cell

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to release roughly 6,000 inmates from prison starting Oct. 30, making it the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.

The Bureau of Prisons will release inmates between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, with many going to halfway houses before being placed on supervised release, Washington Post reports. One-third of the inmates are foreign citizens who will be deported upon their release.

The U.S. Sentencing Committee decided in July 2014 that about 46,000 inmates behind bars for nonviolent drug charges could be eligible for early release — separate from President Obama’s effort to grant clemency to nonviolent drug offenders. 

The Bureau of Prisons’ new guidelines took effect on Nov. 1, 2014 and has been in preparation for a year. Under the change, an average of two years is being taken off of sentences for eligible prisoners. 

“Even with the Sentencing Commission’s reductions, drug offenders will have served substantial prison sentences,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said.

“Moreover, these reductions are not automatic," she added. "Under the commission’s directive, federal judges are required to carefully consider public safety in deciding whether to reduce an inmate’s sentence.”

Inmates qualified for early release were required to petition a judge, who then decided whether to grant sentencing reduction. Judges throughout the country have been granting about 70 sentence reductions per week.

Sources: Washington Post, Fox News / Photo credit: thinkprogress.org, WikiCommons