People who are incarcerated for federal drug crimes are facing a new sentencing guidelines as of Nov. 1. The new guidelines, which were passed by a federal judicial panel, call for reduced sentences. This will affect the prison terms for some people who are currently incarcerated, including some from Maryland, but determining who is eligible for an early release might prove daunting.
Public defenders, probation officers and judges will be some of the people who have to work to figure it all out. In Maryland, the first inmates who will be released under the reduced sentencing guidelines won’t be released for another year. That, however, isn’t stopping officials from getting the preparations underway.
These new reduced sentences have a profound effect on Maryland because of the aggressive fight against drug dealing that federal prosecutors have staged in the state. According to U.S. Attorney for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, a list of 367 people that might qualify for early release has been received by his office. Nationally, around 46,000 prisoners could be eligible for an average of more than two years off their sentence terms.
Rosenstein says his office has been combing through mountains of paperwork to ensure that those who should get of prison are released while those who shouldn’t be released are kept in prison. Prisoners and attorneys will have to file petitions in court. From there, federal judges will decide the new sentences, but no inmates should expect to be released prior to Nov. 1, 2015.
Anyone who has a loved one who is incarcerated on federal drug charges might like to know more about these sentence reductions. Learning all you can about the eligibility and other factors might help you to learn if your loved one might be eligible.
Source: Baltimore Sun, “Reducing drug sentences a big job for judiciary” Ian Duncan, Oct. 17, 2014