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6,000 Federal Inmates Early Release



The proposed early release of 6,000 federal inmates is a major announcement, but still just one small step in reducing our national mass incarceration crisis. This nationwide release is scheduled between October 30–November 2. 8500 more federal inmates are scheduled for early release between November 1–November 1, 2016. During 2013, Eric Holder Jr.,the attorney general lobbied the United States Sentencing Commission to reduce the harsh sentences ( 20–50 year sentences) received by many nonviolent drug offenders. The Commission in 2014 implemented procedures to achieve that goal.

Under the federal process, inmates were granted the right to petition the court for an early release. During the past year, judges have denied some of the petitions. Federal judges were directed to focus on the safety of the public. About 70 of the petitions were granted every week. The majority of the prisoners will be released to halfway houses or confined to house arrest, before being fully released to their communities.

Over the last 30 years, the federal prison system exploded from about 30,000 prisoners to over 200,000. Almost 50% of the federal inmates were drug offenders, convicted of nonviolent offenses. Draconian drug sentencing, even for first time offenders starting in the 1980’s, was a major factor creating not only massive federal incarceration, but also our state’s mass incarceration crisis.The statistics speak for themselves. The United States has 25% of the world’s inmates, but only 5% of the world’s population. We have almost 2.2 million inmates imprisoned in our local, state, and federal prisons and jails.

Nationally, many of our states need to adopt the new federal changes regarding past sentencing of nonviolent offenders and start to reduce the large number of incarcerated nonviolent offenders.

By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com




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39 Responses to 6,000 Federal Inmates Early Release

  1. PrisonPath October 8, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    This is what African prisons require so that over population will be reduced and government will also reduce the spending on inmates.


  2. PrisonPath October 8, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Ethan S. Burger–
    * might be a more appropriate figure.

    Non-violent drug criminals (with the exception of so-called “white collar” criminals) should not be in jail.

    A great deal of this group of mental health problems.

    More importantly, as was recently noted by a New Orleans public defender who had a caseload of approximately 300 cases, many destitute people simply are without effective counsel and often enter their plea without meeting with their “court-appointed” lawyer. I concur with this individuals view that this situation in felony cases is unconstitutional since they were denied effective counsel who did not have time to investigate the facts in the case, interview witnesses, etc.

    Non-violent criminals should be punished by being forced to do community service and given a curfew. Their movement should be restricted (say no further than 25 miles from their home). The problem is that there is a huge industry that has arisen which rakes if large sums of money by keeping people in prison. The cost to the taxpayer is astounding.

    England initially populated Australia with “convicts” who had the choice to either go to debtors prison or Australia (with their families). After they served their terms, most of these Australians became productive members of society.

    Russia used internal exile in many cases. People were required to move East of the Ural mountains and live in such wonderful places as Perm, Novosibirsk, etc. Except for not having a right to return to their homes for a given period, they were largely free persons (until Soviet times). Of course, there were exceptions for political prisoners and violent individuals. Interested persons should read the works of Aleksandr Herzen and Fyoder Dostoevsky.

    The situation is costly and inhumane.

  3. PrisonPath October 8, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Ethan S. Burger
    Please note that the star “8” above should have read 160,000+.

  4. PrisonPath October 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Is a complete failure to release them. They should serve their whole sentence. It is going to cost more to have them outside and care for them. I understand that puting bandades is a quick fix and polically looks good. We need to create or build more facilities and have them serve their punishment. They are/were placed in jail for a reason and now you arr rewarding them. What a joke.

  5. PrisonPath October 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    That is why we need more programs to help everyone being released to reenter back into their communities & being able to financially support themselves. The P.R.I.D.E. PROGRAM (people reentering into doing entrepreneurship) does just that. Look for the program coming to your state soon.

  6. PrisonPath October 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Bonnie Kern
    There are a lot of smart people imprisoned. Some can and do change when they receive help. It would be nice if, rather than building more prisons, there were more programs like the ones below.

    President Obama urges to differentiate between violent and dangerous criminals that need to be locked up and young people and other nonviolent inmates:

    The Pope is concerned for the imprisoned:

    These Programs Are Helping Fix A Broken U.S. Prison System

    Prison vs Harvard in a debate:

  7. PrisonPath October 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    There is a drug crisis in this country. Opiate and Heroin use is increasing dramatically. Theses “Non violent” drug offenders include the dealers that are providing the substances. Your children, friends, family members and co workers are the one’s suffering. By releasing these inmates back to the streets is serving no justice. This movement is cost related. Drug dealers can not be cured. This movement is also happening at the state level. This is not a good practice

    • Nick Robbins October 12, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

      Drug dealers can not be cured? What study did this information come from? Or is it a statement made out of lack of knowledge on the topic? Someone that is selling drugs is making a illegal job choice. It is not a “cure” that is needed but instead a change in values. If you feel values can not change then you would be still crapping your pants. That being said at some point you felt the need to stop pooping your pants and started valuing the use of a toilet. We all learn at different periods in our life. Many have not been taught that there is another way than selling drugs. When they go to prison they are told of another way to live. With the re-incarceration rate around 50% that means half choose to learn from their past mistakes and not continue to crap themselves. Thus disproving your OPINION.

  8. PrisonPath October 11, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    The early release may help, many, but as soon as one of the released commits a heinous assault, and kills somebody and the lawsuits begin, that’s when they’ll reconsider the early release program

  9. PrisonPath October 11, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    The early releases are focused on offenders who have committed nonviolent crimes. The courts were directed to take into account the public’s safety.

  10. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    Andrew, did you even read the articles (above) where the President of the United States and the Pope do not agree with you? There are also several articles in that post discussing programs that are helping prisoners changed their lives. Did you read them? Here is another article for you to read:

    I believe you posted once about being injured by prisoners more than your share. I am sorry that happened to you. I know you have seen more than your share of prisoners who may not have known how to ask for help, but that does not mean they didn’t want the help.

  11. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    So non violent drug dealers should not be in prison? Do you people realize how many times these people were caught BEFORE they were sentenced to 1 single day in prison??? These are not first time offenders we are talking about here. Many have been arrested 10, 15 times, or even more. So when are they held responsible for their repeated disregard for the law? Please tell me that!
    Bonnie…. how many times were you arrested before you were sentenced to prison? You could very well be the exception here. Back in your time, you might have been sent to prison the first time, and then I could agree about the sentences being too harsh. That is so not the case in todays society.

  12. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    Did you even take the time to read the programs I posted above that are working in different states to help inmates change? Are you just going to keep lumping all prisoners into the drug dealing, murdering, robbing, etc. group. Are you not even open minded enough to believe that people can change when they learn better ways to live? Not all nonviolent prisoners are doing time for drugs.

    There are a lot of people locked up like me. All they need is for someone to help them learn the things that your family probably made sure you learned growing up. Not all of us are that lucky:

    Kern, Bonnie L, Tribute to Laurel Rans, Association of Women Executives in Corrections, Volume 2 Number 4, pp 1, 3-5, March 2009

    As the first person in my family to attend college, I won the Mary Alice Ericson Award in 1995 at the Iowa Sociological Association Conference for my paper, Facing the Elephant. That day changed my life. I listened to a young woman and man presenting their paper. They called it participant observation. They had been in the back seat of a police car for an evening and reported about his activity. I realized that I had been doing that for years. I told my mentor, “There isn’t anything wrong with me. I’ve just been doing participant observation for decades!”

    He nodded and laughed, “With enough education, you’ll be in the position to be a communication conduit between corrections and the prisoners.”

    I received my undergraduate degree in sociology from Drake University on Mother’s Day 2000 and completed my master of science in education, certified rehabilitation counseling degree from Drake University on May 16, 2009. Forty years almost to the day of being released from prison on May 22, 1969. I obtained my restoration of citizenship in 1974 and an executive pardon in 1982.

    I was the first woman in Iowa allowed to participate in the work release program. I was also a disability rights advocate and investigator for a federally funded agency where I investigated alleged neglect and abuse of women with a mental health diagnosis on the same violent ward where I had been interned four decades before.

    I published Proclivity in 2007 to help others with their own abuse issues, especially incest. Readers had tears in their eyes when they thanked me for writing it because they told me, “I healed from things I never wanted to look at”. I am in the process of completing my second book, How I Shattered the Steel Ceiling, to help those in reentry.

    After graduation in 2009 there was no money to hire me because DOC was laying off some of their staff due to budget cuts. I took on-line courses through our local community college about how to form and run a nonprofit agency and started Assessing Disability Barriers. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa D
    epartment of Correctional Services, Iowa Workforce Development and Assessing Disability Barriers to form The Coalition to Aid Women in Reentry.

    I received a scholarship to the 2010 National Institute of Justice Conference and an outstanding achievement award for over forty years of successful reentry accomplishments from a local organization on March 20, 2011.

    Please open your mind to the possibility that human beings can and do change. We do better when we learn how.

  13. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

    Early Release. Interesting. Besides the fact that they were in prison for drug charges. Where do you think a majority of them got the money to buy drugs in the first place? By stealing, robbing, beating, murdering ordinary honest citizens just so they can have enough money to get that next high. Yes I agree some are non-violent, but some are not. Let us hope that President Obama is not trying to make a political statement here at the cost of ordinary citizens. Yes we have a lot of people in prison, but if you think letting them out just because they have a non-violent drug offense, someone somewhere is not thinking very well. If these so called non-violent drug offenders figure out that they can get early release just because they get caught with drugs, then they will just continue to do what they do because there really is no consequence. People talk about re-entry programs, but what has the inmate done while there to help himself. Let’s not kid ourselves folks, they are there for a reason.

    • One Who knows! May 15, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

      You are SPOT ON!! I worked supervising BOTH Juvie AND adult Offenders. Every thing you say is true!! They will sell the undies off their Mother, if they can get $ for drugs!!

      It takes a minimum of SEVEN(7) Residential Burglaries, before they get caught!! There are NO non-violent crimes! It’s SEMANTICS; how one plays w/ words!!

  14. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    I disagree that most of these released will lead a life of crime. This statement is a gross overgeneralization. The problem I see with the selection process is that a U.S. government system in efforts to avoid discrimination will release inmates with knowledge of anti-social personalities disorders, you see the system as it stands will avoid such discrimination because other disorders are also released. There are ways of testing the inmates such as the Hare Psychopathic survey which will suggest and keep the dangerous psychopath from being released. One factor which is important is the the most dangerous criminals do not settle for non-violent crimes which is the focus of the release. Based on my research in corrections, I would expect 25% to return to prison on a new charge.

  15. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    What is our priority as a society? Public safety? Public perception? Sometimes we are our own worse enemies because we do a poor job of public relations and educating the public.

  16. PrisonPath October 13, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    Most of these inmates will return to a life of crime probably dealing drugs.The fact that the releases will be spread out over the country will make it hard to track crime increases.I doubt if the Feds and Obama want to track these inmates after release.It might be stats they don’t want anyone to see.The author “prisonpath’ is a pro inmate group. Their statistic of 25% of the inmates and only 5% of the world pop is deceiving.The reason is the US has the best and most efficient criminal justice system in the world.Most countries have inept and corrupt systems so people don’t get arrested and convicted

  17. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    Tina–Great post, the good news is that we are headed in the right direction for non violent Federal inmates. Thank you for sharing +Prison Path.

  18. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Brad—I agree Tina, small steps, but we are headed in the right direction.

  19. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Federal Inmates should not be looped in with the states non-violent drug offenders. The Federal Inmates are usually dealing in high quantities of illegal drugs. Those that seem to be of low quantities usually have pleaded down to a lesser amount in exchange for information. The Fed’s do not wast time on low level criminals and even the seemingly least involved are working with or for a high level organization that they were well aware of the leaders high distribution amounts and usually violent practices. Knowing that they decided to become involved with this organization, the conspiracy and RICO charges. These are not like the state cases were an arrest of individuals may be of a user who will sell some of their user amount drugs to another user.

  20. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    California for the liberal state that it is has harsh 3 strikes sentencing. And while I believe they don’t use as much or have exceptions to the 3 strikes currently the law has overcrowded the prisons. Many believe the 3 strikes produced less crime and the statistics do reveal that crime is reduced, but it is across the nation as well. In addition, the Federal system has no parole system so the back up system is not there unless they treat them in the probation system.

  21. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    Over the past several years, the Feds have been getting criticism concerning their offender sentencing practices not just by stateside whiners, but by other countries primarily those in the EU who have no where near the criminal populations that we do. In fact, other countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway all with tiny overall citizen populations compared to the US find our prison systems to be barbaric compared to theirs. Due to their much smaller offender base as well as the money they throw at these individuals, they seem to have a better recidivism rate than do we. However, I am extremely tired of other countries trying to compare themselves to what transpires in the US concerning our prison community. Having traveled and taught in some of these communities, their criminal violence quotient is no where near what ours are. As for the early release program, you might want to view the liberal socialist state of California’s early release program, Prop 47. We in law enforcement knew it would not work, and it hasn’t but it has increased the number of property and drug related crimes, which can and have lead to more violent violations. It has also reduced the effectiveness of California Law Enforcement in general; example when a cop rolls up on a commercial theft suspect who has been arrested and convicted on a previous similar offense, prior to Prop 47 which pushes for early release, altered offense definitions and easier sentencing, that suspect would have been arrested and prosecuted on a felony, theft with a prior, not any more. In most scenarios they are cited and released, allowing them to go and commit additional crime until at least they come before a judge on their Misd. violation. It is my understanding that this applies even if our perpetrator was using a booster bag or some other device that should have been charged as a commercial burglary, and it goes on and on. One of the primary reasons for this type of law; which by the way was passed by the California voters, who in my opinion did not really understand the ramifications it would thrust on the them, is that the Feds have told Cal. that they have to reduce their prison populations due to “overcrowding,” leading to “poorer conditions” for those poor reprobates that continue to commit crime after crime. I would venture to say that once these clowns start getting out of Fed custody, the same thing will transpire.

  22. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    Most if not all of those released will be under the watchful eye of U.S. Probation Officers. They will be afforded substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling (if needed), employment counseling, drug testing, and otherwise monitored for compliance. Based on my experience, many will violate conditions in various ways (i.e, test positive for drugs, fail to maintain employment, receive citations for minor law violations, etc…), but only about 10% will violate to such a degree that the Court will return them to federal prison.

    by: Tim

  23. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    I was asked to specify where I got the percentage of inmates who are the most extreme and antisocial and would most likely lead to a life of crime. It was one of those research studies I noted but could not specify at the time. I take the number from Dr. Robert Hare who has done extensive research on psychopathic behavior in the United States and Canada. He developed an interview format which determines the level and degree of antisocial behavior. He states in his writing in Criminal Justice Behavior and reprinted in 2008 in Current Perspectives in Psychology and Criminal Behavior (Bartol & Bartol), Sage Publications, that about 1% of the general population is psychopathic and because prisons tend to accumulate the worst of the worst they probably represent from 11 – 25% of the prison population. Most of the psychopaths are violent, which would not apply to the early releases, but since of the offenders who are extreme may not have been sentenced on violent crime then logically the percentage would not be over 25%.

  24. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    If our justice system focused more on rehabilitation than punishment, that 25 percent would likely be a lower number. We rehab through our Juvenile Justice system, so why can’t we use similar techniques and programs for those in prison? Our government’s focus is mostly on punishment, but then does not have a way of re-acclimating those who are released into society. There has to be programs in place to help these individuals become producing members of society so they do not resort to crime again. Prisons in the U.S. are all about the money!

  25. PrisonPath October 16, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Most drug offenders sent to state or federal prisons are actually non-violent criminals. Many are arrested for possession or intent to sell. Of course, drug charges can be added if those offenders are caught with an illegal weapon, but most are soley being convicted for possession or dealing the drugs.

  26. PrisonPath October 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    Andrew, are these people insane too?

    More than a hundred of the nation’s top police chiefs and prosecutors are joining forces today to launch a new effort to cut the number of people in prison. The new coalition of 120 heavyweights, called Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, is based on one big idea: Putting too many people behind bars doesn’t keep the public safe.
    1 minute ago
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  27. PrisonPath October 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    The cost of keeping low level offenders incarcerated is to high. The country will go bankrupt and half of its citizens would be in prison if this level of incarceration keeps up. The drug laws have to be reviewed and updated. I believe there should be different penalties for users, distributors and manufactors of drugs. I also believe law enforcement should go after the people who are making and distributing/seller. Not the user/addict. The addict needs medical help and care.

  28. PrisonPath October 26, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Big mistake to release them. You dont even have a well define or trained personnel to deal with them while there out. Good luck finding them a job or given them that miracle opportunity that doesnt exist. You are betraying the innocent people that pays you to do the right thing. Amazing!

  29. PrisonPath October 26, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    What about protecting general public and the Police Officers, that put that badge on everyday? Of course since you are not wearing that badge and the Oath to protect and serve, what do you care. However, if you or one of your family members need help, the first people and number you would call is 911. Have you ever worked in a prison, if not then you need to get off your soap box. There are programs and counselors and trained staff to help these people while they are locked up. Do you have a Master Degree to work with these people and try to get them to focus on why they are locked up, I guess not. Of course it is quite apparent you have all of the answers.

  30. PrisonPath October 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    These people are getting out eventually. Someone that is going to fall back into crime will do it now or in four years when they are released. These people who are being released early are ones that we as a society are trying to address discrimination in sentencing laws. Like the 50 to 1 disparity in cocaine vs. crack laws.

  31. PrisonPath October 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    Mary J I feel you; but no one likes talking about “the broken system” and greed/power continues to prevent a move towards humanity. If it isn’t your kid on heroin, or your mom’s house broken into who cares about the quality of services. People can’t grasp drugs as a disease and continue wanting the eye for an eye model. Your are dead on; our weakest soul reflects poorly on us all. Lets keep getting rich, ship all jobs out of USA, and laugh when finished products come back and no one can buy due to the lack of jobs here at home. This one factor affects so much, no job, no joy, seek immediate gratification, illegal drugs to feel good, and so on. 60 plus of crime percent is substance abuse related, wow and we still don’t get it.

  32. PrisonPath October 30, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    Andrew; I started my career more towards your extreme but moved closer to the middle. Criminals need to be in prison such as killers, rapist, and people who do crime unlike drug offenders who do crime due to mental issue of dependence of drug and need a short term lock up until a highly structured less restrictive mainstreamed placement can be utilized that assist them with the motivator that pushed their crime behaviors. Big issue, the majority have spoken and don’t want to pay for more prisons so we need to focus on proper selection and placement in society so we help substance abuser and minimize victims. I take the addict and get his supplier and push addict to treatment. It works, lower supply of drugs and give addict the motivation to hate his dealer, he hates his addiction already so I use this to motivate him coming to our side. More later but every time I destroy supply I know that dope is gone and when that crack addict calls you 2 years later with his success story I know I’ve won. Firm, fair & consistent is where we all need to go while learning each others strong points and working as a team.

  33. PrisonPath October 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    I currently work in the correctional system. I am a mental health clinician working in the transition program working to help prepare offenders with a mental illness to transition back into the community. Just in case there is question I am a very realist clinician and a mental illness DOSE NOT give you a pass in fact that means we work harder to take care of ourselves. I think someone said it earlier “learn to fish”. So here is what I see, frustration, fear, confusion, and maybe a little bit of helplessness. All in the form of distraction. We want to keep the right ones in prison and we want prison to serve as a deterrent and while they are in prison we want them to learn the lesson “get better” do better”. There is a lot of what we want. Yet there is always an unintended consequences for all we do so is that a price we are willing to pay? There are too many people in prison we said, they aren’t learning a lesson in prison anyway we said, the sentence was too harsh we said. So release them the courts said. BUT there are no jobs, there is no housing and let’s not forget WE have long memories and we don’t want to forget and we won’t let them forget sooooo we won’t hire them and we won’t house them. So how long before desperation sets in and old habits are again the way of life? So what does it matter if he/she knows how to fill out an application or interview? Or if they got up and learned a new skill in order to make a living for themselves? So who is the crazy one and who is really ill prepared? We as a county are only as strong as our weakest link. it does not matter if an offender did all of their time or a portion of it we have to help them when they come back if WE really want them to turn from a life that afforded them the ability and desire to create victims.

  34. PrisonPath October 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm #


    A mentor does not give a person a fish. They teach them how to fish. If the person is given a fish, they are stuck there waiting for the handout. When they learn to fish on their own, they can go anywhere.

    A mentor plants the seeds of hope in a person and asks God to water their protégé. They stand back and watch miracles happen in people’s lives. They understand that some miracles take more time, struggles and failures than others.

    A mentor is not a banker, hotel, taxicab or childcare. They provide the names of agencies where the errant can find help meeting their needs. Mentors applaud successes and supply alternatives for disappointments and failures. They allow the student to learn in their own way and on their own time frame.

    Compassionate mentors recognize the emotional whiplash the errant must endure to change from the survival mode they learned as a child in a dysfunctional family to socially acceptable thinking and behavior.

  35. PrisonPath October 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    I still believe very strongly that across the board cutting the length of time these inmates spend in prison is a mistake. They were already given, in most cases, many, many chances. As far as re-entry programs, of course there should be something in place to prepare them to hit the streets. Free college should not one of those programs. You like stirring the pot don’t you??? You think you know my views on things. You like to assume things, if you cannot find it on the internet you make it up. Have your own opinion, and not that of things you find on the net!

  36. PrisonPath October 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    Beverly, most of the population we are discussing do not necessarily have good social and telephone skills. Many times they are not taught those and other skills while they are growing up or while they are incarcerated. It is like asking someone to walk who has no legs. They can be really motivated, but the skill to do it is simply not there. Additionally, even if they are told how to have those social and telephone skills, it will take practicing, just like it took you practicing them to become proficient.

  37. PrisonPath January 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    Tony–This is not a drastic cost saving change. Taxpayers are still paying for addiction beds. Health insurance will rise and everyone pays for that as well. The “Revolving” door from the correctional facilities is now at the addiction center. In the Documentary “Heroin: Cape Cod USA” an addict states they get high before the go in. And it’s one of the first things they do when they get out. Let’s see the statistical success of the addict who attends the center. I would bet the return rate is higher then the ones going back to prison. Aggressively discipline and tough love folks. These are your children, family and friends.

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