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When it comes to our current court system, the time doesn’t always fit the crime. Many drug charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence, guaranteeing an extended stay behind bars for a crime that should warrant a fraction of what is being handed down. But a new update to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s guidelines will help thousands of prisoners spend less time in jail, and more time with their families who have been fighting to change the laws of drug sentences.

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Retroactive Changes

A decision was made in April to lower the prison sentences for over 1,000 defendants, knocking off on average 11 months of time behind bars. Recently, that ruling was made retroactive, offering upwards of 51,000 inmates a reduced sentence on their drug charge. The retroactive change will take away an average of 23 months in prison, effecting more than half of all drug offenders currently residing in federal prison. The guideline change reduces the base offense level for drug offenders, lowering the average sentence by two years for about 70 percent of drug offenders. The people affected by the new ruling are mainly prisoners with sentences for methamphetamine and cocaine powder, making up 55 percent of inmates receiving reduced sentences. This change does not eliminate mandatory minimum sentences.

Good To Go Home

One of the key factors in making this decision retroactive was the support from friends, families and groups like Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). The U.S. Sentencing Commission received 65,000 letters from concerned citizens that wanted to see the change made retroactive. FAMM stated that this ruling is “the largest number of federal drug prisoners ever to benefit from a guideline amendment being made retroactive.” But even with the new guidelines in place, the average drug offender will spend nine years locked in a prison cell for their actions.

With this new change in the sentencing guidelines for drug offenses, thousands of undeserving prisoners will go home years earlier than expected. Hopefully this is just the first step in changing the way drug offenders are looked at in a court of law, paving the way for eliminating the mandatory minimum sentence that has destroyed so many families in the past. If you or a loved one is either facing a criminal drug charge or currently serving time for a drug offense, contact the law offices of Gabriel Grasso today. We are here to help you get the justice you deserve, give us a call at (702) 868-8866 for more information.

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