The new recommendation follows in the wake of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony in favor of reducing the average sentence for drug dealers.
Holder informed the Sentencing Commission that the Obama Administration supports changing guidelines to reduce the average drug sentence by about one year, from 62 months to 51 months. This small change in sentencing guidelines would reduce the federal prison population by about 6,550 inmates over the next five years, the article notes.
As of now, half of the 215,000 federal inmates are serving time for drug crimes.
“This modest reduction in drug penalties is an important step toward reducing the problem of prison overcrowding at the federal level in a proportionate and fair manner,” Commission Chair Judge Patti B. Saris said in a news release. “Reducing the federal prison population has become urgent, with that population almost three times where it was in 1991.”
If Congress goes along with the recommendation, the new rules will go into effect on November 1, the article notes.