The Department of Justice is set to release roughly 6,000 inmates beginning October 30. The effort aims to reduce overcrowding of the nation’s immense federal prison population, easing federal funds and alleviating harsh sentences given to drug offenders throughout past decades.
While the legislation was introduced over a year ago, the effects taking place now have made headlines. Described as a bipartisan Senate bill, its principal intention is to modernize sentencing rules, with a keen eye on non-violent drug crimes.
The release will be the biggest of its kind in American history, and speaks to the growing concern surrounding the criminal justice system. Current standards disproportionately incarcerate minorities for drug-related crimes with notoriously long sentences. The New York Times reports that about a third of the prisoners are undocumented immigrants who will ultimately be deported.
There is an estimated 1.5 million inmates in federal and state prisons.
While the act is a step towards solving the issue of overcrowding, some believe there is still much to be done on a deeper level.
Michael Collins, a spokesperson for The Drug Policy Alliance voiced, “Congress still needs to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform.”