You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Pedestrian, hit by vehicle in Clark County, is seriously injured

By the numbers: Reduced sentences for some drug offenders

Tens of thousands of prisoners serving time for federal drug offenses might now be getting an early release. (Getty Images)

By the numbers, here's what the U.S. Sentencing Commission's decision to retroactively apply reduced sentences could mean. 

46,290 offenders would be eligible — as long as Congress doesn't block the decision. The panel estimates the average inmate could see their sentences reduced by around two years. (Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal reports that's "one out of every five inmantes in the federal system."

According to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the average federal prison sentence is almost six years.

In 2012, 96.5 percent of drug offenders got prison sentences. That’s 23,000 people.

The New York Times adds prison spending makes up about a third of the Justice Department's budget.

It costs about $21,000 per inmate per year in the average minimum-security prison. In total, the fiscal year 2014 budget asks for $6.9 billion for the Bureau of Prisons. (Via California Department of Corrections)

Many media outlets say the reduced sentences are part of a broad, bipartisan effort to roll back some of the harsher penalties implemented during the height of the war on drugs in the 1980s. (Via The HillMSNBCThe Christian Science Monitor)

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been very vocal in their push for clemency for non-violent drug offenders, claiming the war on drugs disproportionately effects minorities — particularly African Americans. (Via The White HouseThe Huffington Post)

Holder praised this decision in a press release, writing, "This is a milestone in the effort to make more efficient use of our law enforcement resources and to ease the burder on our overcrowded prison system." (Getty Images)

The Bureau of Prisons says the federal inmate population exceeds capacity by 32 percent, giving the U.S. the highest prison population in the world. 

The Economist explains, "America has around 5% of the world's population, and 25% of its prisoners. Roughly one in every 107 American adults is behind bars, at rate nearly five times that of Britain, seven times that of France and 24 times that of India."

And the U.S. prison population has more than tripled since 1980, in part due to strict penalties enacted to address crack-cocaine abuse.

According to FBI statistics, of 12 million arrests in 2012, 1.5 million were for drug abuse violations. That makes drug offenses the most common cause of arrests in the U.S. 

The releases will begin in November 2015, and will be phased in over a period of years. Congress has until November of this year to block it. Under the guidelines, no prisoner would be released until a judge determines whether a reduced sentence poses a threat to public safety. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Crime

Stafford: Updated takes on classic Christmas carols
Stafford: Updated takes on classic Christmas carols
Samsung to disable Galaxy Note 7 devices on Dec. 19
Samsung to disable Galaxy Note 7 devices on Dec. 19
In an effort to get U.S. customers to turn off their devices, Samsung will be issuing a software update next week that will make the Galaxy Note 7 inoperable.
Former MLB pitcher graduates from police academy
Former MLB pitcher graduates from police academy
Former major-league relief pitcher Anthony Varvaro is switching jerseys. He won’t be pitching to batters, though.
Deputies: Florida man claims he downed 18 beers, Xanax, before setting house fire
Deputies: Florida man claims he downed 18 beers, Xanax, before setting house fire
A Florida man was arrested Wednesday after police said he vandalized a vacant house during the summer while high on Xanax and drunk on 18 beers.
Now there will be 24 Fields of Dreams at iconic Iowa site
Now there will be 24 Fields of Dreams at iconic Iowa site
They got the OK to build it. Now they will come to play — in droves. Read more trending stories The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday cleared the way for a 24-field baseball complex at the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Dyersville, upholding a lower court's decision that the City Council properly rezoned the property from agricultural to commercial.
More Stories