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January 18, 2009

Another local account of crack sentence reductions

This local story from Alabama provide a southern perspective on the impact and implementation of the new federal crack sentencing guidelines.  Here are the details:

Alabama federal inmates who have petitioned the courts to reduce their prison sentences on crack cocaine offenses were successful two-thirds of the time, shaving an average 2½ years off their terms. That's the highest success rate of the three states making up the 11th U.S. Circuit, according to an analysis of statistics in a recent report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission....

By the thousands, inmates are petitioning federal courts for reduced sentences. According to the sentencing commission's report, 17,168 applications have been filed nationwide, and 12,119 - 70 percent - had been granted through Dec. 8, the latest statistics available. Inmates nationwide also are getting an average reduction of 2½ years.

According to the sentencing commission's report, 402 of the 602 applications filed in Alabama federal courts, 66 percent, have been approved. Georgia was next with 65 percent of its applications granted. Florida, which had the most applications filed with 1,895, granted 55 percent, the analysis by The Birmingham News showed.

"A majority of who were eligible for relief, got it," said Cynthia McGough, chief federal probation officer in Birmingham. "Only a few were turned down on merit where a judge reviewed the facts of the case and thought the person should not get relief. Some were released from prison because, after the reduction, they got credit for time served."...

January 18, 2009 at 03:10 PM | Permalink

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