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The Prison Complex

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015, 2:03 am

Thousands of Prisoners Released After Drug Sentences Reduced, But One in Three May Face Deportation

By George Lavender

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After the Sentencing Commission retroactively reduced the length of time people convicted of some drug crimes have to spend in prison, thousands of people became eligible for immediate release from federal prison. As the LA Times reports, that has now started

…about 3,400 -- already have moved to the Bureau of Prisons' halfway houses or were confined at home, but will be released from custody by Tuesday, according to the Justice Department.

The remaining 850 or so will be released directly from prison to a probation officer.

Prisoners being released include 250 from California, 310 from Florida, 260 from Illinois, 95 from Maryland, 100 from Pennsylvania, 163 from Virginia and 35 from Connecticut. Continue reading… 

The Sentencing Commission is an independent agency of the judiciary. The reduction in sentences for some drug crimes was supported by then-Attorney General Eric Holder who hailed the move as “a milestone in the effort to make more efficient use of our law enforcement resources and ease the burden on our overcrowded prison system.”

Not everyone who gets out of prison will be able to return to their previous lives, as PRI’s The World reports.

Nearly a third of the 6,000 are foreign inmates who will be placed on a different track, one that may lead to deportation and leaving their families behind in the United States.

Immigration officials estimate that most of those foreign inmates are from Mexico. Once released, they will be handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for likely deportation — whether they legally immigrated to the US or illegally.  Continue reading… 

George Lavender is an award-winning radio and print journalist based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeLavender.

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