REDUCED SENTENCES FOR FEDERAL DRUG OFFENDERS – WILL CURRENT FEDERAL PRISONERS BE ELIGIBLE?

Federal Drug Offenders May Be Eligible for Reduced Sentences

Harsh drug sentences have led to record numbers of federal drug offenders in prison. Right now, the tide seems to be turning against these harsh penalties, and in favor of more reasonable sentencing guidelines. The United States Sentencing Commission (the federal group in charge of setting the federal criminal sentencing guidelines) is trying to decidewhether reduced sentences for drug offenders should apply to current prisoners.

Some estimates put the number of federal prisoners who are serving time for drug offenses at half the total prison population. This means that a large number of prisoners could be eligible for reduced sentences if the sentencing guidelines apply. In the Middle District of Florida (which includes Tampa), nearly 1,500 current prisoners would qualify.

The Sentencing Commission is seeking public comment until July 7, 2014 to determine whether or not the reduced sentencing guidelines should be applied to current inmates. More info for those who wish to comment can be found here.