70% of Federal Drug Terms Get Cut

    ADELANTO, CA - NOVEMBER 15: A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from his 'segregation cell' back into the general population at the Adelanto Detention Facility on November 15, 2013 in Adelanto, California. Most detainees in segregation cells are sent there for fighting with other immigrants, according to guards. The facility, the largest and newest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), detention center in California, houses an average of 1,100 immigrants in custody pending a decision in their immigration cases or awaiting deportation. The average stay for a detainee is 29 days. The facility is managed by the private GEO Group. ICE detains an average of 33,000 undocumented immigrants in more than 400 facilities nationwide. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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    New guidelines approved by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Thursday will mean shorter terms for roughly 70 percent of federal drug offenders. The adjustments will reduce mandatory minimums for offenses that don't involve violence or firearms. Over the past few years, public-opinion polls have shown a shift toward both legalization and treatment rather than prison for drug possession. “We have given careful consideration to public safety in making this decision today and will continue to monitor drug sentences to determine whether any additional modifications are needed,” said chairwoman Patti B. Saris, the chief U.S. district judge in Massachusetts. The new guidelines, which Attorney General Eric Holder testified in favor of, will go into effect Nov. 1 unless Congress votes them down.

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