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Little impact from historic federal prisoner release expected in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Thousands of federal prisoners are set to be released within the next month, but fewer than 100 of them are expected to wind up in Michigan.

The historic prisoner release comes as the U.S. Department of Justice reconfigures sentencing guidelines for drug crimes.

In the interest of fairness, some lower-level drug offenders who had received long sentences will be released early.

Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says going forward, federal prosecutors are supposed to use the harshest drug charges very “selectively.”

“I think it’s a good use of resources to focus on those who are harming our communities, who are using violence, and not using our resources for the lower-level offenders,” said McQuade Thursday, as she announced charges against seven people in what officials called a dangerous, highly organized metro Detroit heroin distribution ring.

“It’s a recognition of the mass incarceration of so many drug offenders over the past decades.”

According to a state-by-state breakdown, Michigan is expected to receive just 83 of the nearly 6,000 early-release prisoners, some of whom have already been transferred to halfway houses or other detention facilities.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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