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Crack Cocaine Convicts Released Early

Brian Kelly
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -Some of them were scheduled to remain in prison for a few more years, but now 34 people convicted of federal crack cocaine-related crimes in the eastern district of Missouri are free.

The 34 are among thousands who have been freed from federal prisons, as the result of Congress’ decision last year to stop treating crack cocaine criminals much harsher than those convicted of powder cocaine crimes.

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Richard Callahan agrees with the change, “The crack cocaine sentencing guidelines were unduly harsh, and these reductions represent only approximately a 19 to 20% reduction in the sentence they had to serve.”

Callahan says if there was a concern about a prisoner, they weren’t released, “There were a few instances where because of their prison record we opposed the reduction and I don’t believe there was any case where we opposed it, that the judge didn’t go along with us on that.”

Callahan says the 34 who were released here, were placed in halfway houses in August, to help them transition to post-prison life.

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