Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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New rules will lessen punishment for federal drug criminals

Did you know that there are about 100,000 people in prison right now for federal drug crimes? It's an astonishing number that is only made worse by the heavy punishments these people face. Federal drug crimes often carry lengthy prison sentences that make it very difficult for an inmate to get a job or turn his or her life around after the sentence is complete.

Of course, there are plenty of examples where federal drug inmates don't even get that chance. Their sentence are so long -- or the conditions in their prison so severe -- that they never make it out. It's a harsh environment that we place people convicted of federal drug crimes in, and the punishments they face, both as a direct (jail time) and indirect (financial loss, personal loss, effect on family) result, can cause a lifetime of pain.

Thankfully, it appears things are starting to change. The treatment of criminals in our prison system has become a hot topic, and it appears the government is making a move to change it. The first small step will come this November, when the punishments that are possible for federal drug criminals will be lightened. The government will also extend this leniency to current inmates, meaning that roughly half the federal drug inmate population will be eligible to reduce their sentences.

It's not quite an exoneration or an expungement, but this is a crucial step in the criminal justice world. Hopefully as the topic remains a point of interest, we can change the way we treat people convicted of a crime.

Source: Washington Post, "Thousands of felons could have drug sentences lessened," Jerry Markon and Rachel Weiner, July 18, 2014

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