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36 drug offenders to be released from Milwaukee area federal prisons

Milwaukee -

Thousands of federal inmates across the country are being released from prison early, all because of a change to sentencing guidelines for drug offenders. It’s the largest one-time release of federal inmates.

Of the nearly 6,000 inmates who will be released, 36 of them are from the Milwaukee area.

The Eastern District of Wisconsin had about a year to plan for the release. The US Sentencing Commission made the decision to reduce sentences for drug offenders by an average of two years in 2014. It's slightly less at 21 months in Eastern Wisconsin.

The decision for the early release was made in part because of jail overcrowding. It's expected to save about 6,500 jail beds over the next 5 years.

The majority of people being released are currently in half-way houses or in home confinement.

Over the past year, probation officers have been working with inmates to find housing along with drug and alcohol counseling. They have also provided education and job needs.

Federal law enforcement officials stress the early releases will not endanger communities.

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