With so much talk about the overcrowding of prisons due to non-violent drug offenders getting harsh sentences, this was bound to happen.
The negative effect that the late-80’s/early-90’s “War on Drugs” initiative has had on the criminal justice system is immeasurable. It’s only been recently that politicians have come around on the issue of strict sentencing to non-violent drug offenders. Yesterday the criminal justice system made a huge stride in reversing that trend.
In a move to reduce an overcrowding prison system and to give some relief to those that have been on the wrong side of harsh drug sentences, the Federal Bureau of Prisons will grant early releases to 6,000 non-violent drug offenders later this month. That makes it the biggest prisoner release in US history!
While it would be easy to give credit to the White House or even Congress for this move, in reality government bureaucrats deserve most of the credit here. The plan to release non-violent drug offenders that have been clogging up the prison system has been in the works for some time now. The mass release is taking place as a retroactive measure due to the U.S. Sentencing Commission lowering maximum sentences for non-violent drug offenders last year. So this has been in the works for over a year. This recent action is more about fairness than anything else.
After all, why should someone suffer 25 years in prison because they had committed a crime during a period of harsher sentences, when that same crime would have netted them 2-3 years if committed today?
Yet the release of the 6,000 prisoners could only be the tip of the iceberg. It’s a process that the federal government hopes that will domino to more than 40,000 prisoners released over the next couple of years. While some would argue this process has been slow, no one can deny that this is a vital step to begin fixing problems with the criminal justice system. This is a perfect example of when the government looks at broken problems in their system and decides to rectify them.
(Picture Credit: Google Images)