A federal judge ordered the release Tuesday of a dying inmate who spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement for a racially charged murder conviction that has garnered outrage in the decades since.
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A record number of lawmakers may be calling for shorter sentences and less people in prison. But in the prison industry, contracts with states and local jurisdictions commit them to filling private prison beds — or pay them to keep those beds empty.
Building on his announcement last month that federal prosecutors would no longer charge some low-level drug offenders with offenses that carry harsh mandatory minimum sentences, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that this policy would also be applied retroactively to some defendants whose cases are still pending.