Roughly 6,000 federal inmates were set to be released from Federal prison starting on Friday, in the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Bureau spokesman Edmond Ross said that the inmates are all drug offenders. They became eligible for release after going through an appeals process following the recent restructuring of drug sentences by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The decision last year cut sentences of drug offenders by an average of two years.
The release will take place between October 30 and November 2, Ross said, adding that the number will grow in the future.
Most of the inmates spent only a short time in a halfway house — not the six months to a year required for drug offenses — before being transferred to home confinement.
1,764 of the inmates to be released are not U.S. citizens and will be turned over to Immigration and Customs. Most of them will be deported.
250 prisoners are from California, 310 from Florida, 260 from Illinois, 95 from Maryland, 100 from Pennsylvania, 163 from Virginia and 35 from Connecticut.
Around 6,000 federal prisoners are typically released under supervision every month, and the system’s 209 halfway houses are already largely filled.
A study of halfway houses in Ohio between 2002 and 2007, 36% of prisoners who were released after leaving a halfway house were rearrested, compared with 49% of prisoners who were released without any formal transition.
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