(NEWSER) – Six thousand federal inmates from around the country will be released from prison between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, the Washington Post reports. It's the largest mass release of federal prisoners ever.

The inmates are drug offenders whose sentences are being cut short based on a US Sentencing Commission decision last year. The commission reduced potential maximum punishments for drug offenders and made that decision retroactive. The releases announced Tuesday are just the first of what could be up to 46,000 drug offenders released early under the sentencing changes. The "overwhelming majority" of more than 80,000 public comments received by the commission supported the change.

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