Within weeks, about 6,000 nonviolent drug offenders will be released from prison. The action follows the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s 2014 reduction of potential punishment for drug offenses, which was subsequently made retroactive. The Washington Post reports that Justice Department officials are calling this release—which will happen October 30 through November 2—the nation’s largest one-time discharge of federal inmates.
About two-thirds of those released will move into halfway houses or home confinement situations, before going on parole. The remaining people are foreign citizens who will be deported.
The Commission estimates that the sentencing revision could reduce the sentences of 46,000 drug offenders who are currently serving time in federal prisons. Moreover, for the year ending November 1, 2016, another 8,550 people are expected to be released early. This action is separate from President Barack Obama’s clemency program.