Where as it may be nice to read what has happened over the last couple of days, a person will be served well by reading this short background (PDF) piece to get a sense of perspective. Crack Cocaine laws Be aware that these releases are at the federal level and apply to those sentenced in federal courts only.
WASHINGTON — AP- The Federal Bureau of Prisons says more than 500 people were released from custody Tuesday as a result of new, lowered sentences for crack cocaine crimes…….The change in sentencing guidelines for crack crimes is eventually estimated to benefit some 12,000 inmates, reducing sentences by an average of three years.
Black said like many of his peers, he started smoking crack in high school and began selling it partly to support his habit. He said he was a low-level dealer and that he didn’t realize the mandatory minimum sentence he faced when he pleaded guilty in 2003 and was given a 15-year prison term. (see more on mandatory minimums at Supreme Court to Weigh Effects of Bad Plea Advice )
The releases are the result of months of work by prosecutors, public defenders and judges across the country. Inmates’ requests for sentence reductions were decided on a case-by-case basis, with courts taking into consideration such factors as the prisoner’s behavior behind bars and threat to society.