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  • The changes come as the U.S. justice system is increasingly under heavy scrutiny as a result of the new Black civil rights movement.

    The changes come as the U.S. justice system is increasingly under heavy scrutiny as a result of the new Black civil rights movement. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 October 2015
Opinion

Another 46,000 people could face release from prison as jail sentences for alleged drug offenders are reduced. 

U.S. officials announced Tuesday that some 6,000 inmates will soon be released from jail, in a move that represents a major shift in the country’s controversial criminal justice policies.

The Justice Department will place two-thirds of the inmates in halfway houses and home confinement, while one-third will face immediate deportation for being undocumented immigrants, the Washington Post reported.

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The largest one-time release of imprisoned people will take place between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2. It comes as a result of a change in sentencing guidelines implemented by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which reduced the punishment of alleged drug offenders last year.

The move is also aimed at reducing overcrowding in federal prisons and providing relief to drug offenders, who have been subjected to long sentences over the past 30 years. The change could result in the early release of 46,000 of the approximately 100,000 alleged drug offenders currently behind bars in the United States.

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The changes come as the U.S. justice system is increasingly under meticulous scrutiny as a result of the new Black civil rights movement, also known as Black Lives Matter, which has been battling police brutality and the disproportionate incarceration of Black people for minor offenses, like simple possession of marijuana.

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