Good news, but with a caveat we’ll get to in a moment:
The Justice Department is preparing to release roughly 6,000 inmates from federal prison as part of an effort to ease overcrowding and roll back the harsh penalties given to nonviolent drug dealers in the 1980s and ’90s, according to federal law enforcement officials.
The release is scheduled to occur from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, and will be one of the largest one-time discharges of inmates from federal prisons in American history, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing matters that had not been publicly announced by the Justice Department.
Mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders was never a good idea. However they were probably inevitable given the (somewhat understandable) anti-drug hysteria of the ’80s and ’90s.
It’s been noted many times before that prison is where petty criminals go to receive their education on how to become truly violent offenders. Someone might have gone in a non-violent offender in 1995, but maybe by 2015 they’re no longer quite so non-violent.
So we can only hope that Justice is vetting carefully.