US begins prisoner release

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The U.S. Justice Department releases the first of some 6, 000 prisoners in a scheme to cut America’s soaring jail population. Paul Chapman reports.

US begins prisoner release

Therese Crepeau is among the first U.S. prison inmates to walk free under a new scheme to cut the nation’s soaring jail population.

She was sentenced to 35 years behind bars in 1994 on drug conspiracy charges.

Under the new scheme she is out early.

She was sent first to a half-way house, then to her fiance’s home in New Mexico with a monitor tag on her ankle.

On Friday that tag was removed…now she says she wants to turn her life around.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) THERESE CREPEAU, RELEASED PRISONER, SAYING:

“I just started my probation today. I got off the ankle monitor, I’m done with the BOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons) so I have some more time with probation and so that will limit me some, I’m sure. But I want to be a voice. I spent half my adult life, almost all of my adult life and more than half of my life in prison and I can’t forget that.”

Crepeau’s got a job at a hotel in New Mexico but she says she’s got plans to go to college and eventually start her own business.

But she says the prison system doesn’t do nearly enough to prepare inmates for life on the outside.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) THERESE CREPEAU, RELEASED PRISONER, SAYING:

“Prison does not prepare you for modern society at all when you get locked up 20 years ago like I did. It just doesn’t. They limit you so much and I understand that there are reasons behind some of the rules but they need to better prepare us.”

Nearly a third of 6, 000 federal prisoners are being released in the first wave over a five-day period.

The mass release is one of the largest in U.S. history.

It follows retroactive reductions to mandatory minimum sentence guidelines for non-violent offences.

Tags : release, Prisoner, begins

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