About 4,300 federal drug inmates set for early release

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WASHINGTON — Thousands of federal inmates serving sentences for drug crimes are set for early release this weekend under a cost-cutting measure intended to reduce the nation’s prison population.

The Justice Department said Wednesday that more than 4,300 inmates are set to go free on or around Nov. 1, the first of what will likely be tens of thousands benefiting from changes approved last year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

About 80 percent of the affected inmates are already out of prison, living in halfway houses or home confinement.

More than 1,700 additional inmates who are not U.S. citizens will be turned over to immigration officials for potential deportation.

The changes are part of a bipartisan effort to rethink decades-long sentences for drug offenders, who are roughly half the federal prison population.