Nearly 3,100 federal inmates will be released from prisons nationwide Friday under the first major milestone of the First Step Act.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said the en masse release is possible because inmates’ sentences were lightened under the criminal justice reform legislation signed into law by President Trump last year.
The law increased good time credit and reduced felons’ sentences.
The largest largest number of inmates who will see immediate freedom were convicted of drug offenses, following by weapons/explosive convictions and sex offenses, according to Justice officials.
“When you look at tomorrow’s (federal prison) population numbers, there will be 3,000 inmates fewer than we had today,” said Hugh Hurwitz, acting director of the Bureau of Prisons.
An additional 1,691 inmates convicted of crack cocaine offenses received reduced sentences under retroactive sentencing aimed to removing the disparity between crack and powdered cocaine offenses.
Another 250 inmates were placed on compassionate release since the First Step Act was passed in December 2018, Rosen said.
The First Step Act, a passion project of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, earned bipartisan support last year in an effort to reduce the federal prison population and better connect federal inmates with the resources they need to be successful on the outside.
The Justice Department dedicated $75 million to fully enact the sentencing changes, Rosen said, calling it a “truly monumental effort.”
Rosen also announced a new Risk and Needs Assessment System tool – required under the law – to better measure inmates’ risk of re-offending.
Eligible inmates may qualify for earned time credits by participating in recidivism reduction programming.
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