The judges on a federal judiciary panel have decided to approve new guidelines for the sentencing of drug crime offenders. The panel of justices wants those serving long-term sentences for non-violent drug crimes to be released early. The measure was approved on a recent Friday. Now, it must go before Congress before it is codified into law, but if it is passed, in excess of 46,000 individuals could be released from federal jails in North Carolina and elsewhere.
The panel that decided on this matter is known as the U.S. Sentencing Commission. It is a part of the federal judiciary, and it plays a crucial role in determining how convicted criminals are punished depending on the crimes they were convicted of. Lately, the panel has been reviewing drug-sentencing guidelines, which many believe are a throwback to the draconian War on Drugs during the 1980s. Last April, the Sentencing Commission revamped and softened the guidelines for new drug crime punishments. This more recent measure will retroactively affect those who are currently in prison and serving time for previous drug convictions.