As new crack cocaine sentencing guidelines take hold, 2,000 federal prisoners eligible for release today

    Nearly 2,000 federal prisoners will become eligible for release today thanks to a change in sentencing for crack cocaine convictions.

    President Barack Obama signed a law last year ending the practice of issues tougher sentences for crack cocaine than for powder cocaine. Congress called for stiffer penalties for crack cocaine in the ’80s, believing is was more dangerous than its powder counterpart. The U.S. Sentencing Commissioner is now applying the new guidelines to past convictions, making thousands of prisoners eligible for release today, though it could take longer for the necessary paperwork to go through and signal the releases.

    The Associated Press reports as many as 12,000 inmates could eventually benefit from the new sentences.

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