Photo: Chino State Prison (AFP Photo / Kevork Djansezian)
The enormous outlay for overcrowded US federal prisons is forcing the White House to consider clemency and entreat non-violent, low-level felons serving terms for drug-related crimes to apply for early release.
Next week the US Bureau of Prisons will make the inmates aware of the six criteria elaborated by the US Justice Department for those who deserve early parole.
Those who want to go at large should conform to the following criteria: have a clean prison record, have no history of violence, possess no significant connections to gangs or other criminal organizations, and have at least 10 years served in prison.
First and foremost the amnesty is being prepared to repair injustice for those who would have received considerably shorter prison terms if they were put on trial today.
“These older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole told AP.
The matter is that back in 2010 the Fair Sentencing Act eliminated a five-year mandatory minimum for those accused of first-time possession of crack cocaine, a legal loophole that made excessive sentencing in drug cases possible for many years. But the FSA law had no retroactive effect, leaving about 9,000 low-level felons behind bars who were sentenced before 2010 for drug-related crimes.