News Tip: DOJ inmate release part of ‘criminal justice reform movement,’ says former federal prosecutor

The Department of Justice will give 6,000 inmates early release -- the largest such release in U.S. history -- in an effort to reduce prison overcrowding and alleviate the effects of harsh sentencing for drug offenders.•    Quotes: "Reducing the sentences of low-level nonviolent drug offenders is part of a significant criminal justice reform movement underway in this country,” says Duke Law Professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “At the front end, there is heightened attention to improper use of force by police as well as the inaccurate investigative tactics that can lead to wrongful convictions. And at the back end, there is bipartisan agreement on the need to lower our prison population and overwhelming public support for a shift away from draconian sentences.” •    “Most federal prisoners are nonviolent offenders, and half of those are drug offenders who were subject to harsh sentencing guidelines. Recent action by the Sentencing Commission has lowered sentences substantially. Eligible prisoners will now benefit from the changes in the law and receive 2-year reductions on average. Those early releases are both just to individual offenders and a sound policy move to address prison overcrowding and the social and economic effects of mass incarceration.” •    Bio:Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor of law at Duke University's School of Law, specializes in constitutional criminal procedure and federal criminal justice policy. She spent five years as a federal prosecutor in the Chicago United States Attorney’s Office. •    For additional comment, contact Lisa Kern Griffin