NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama announced a plan last month to cut the sentences of thousands of non-violent offenders in federal prisons across the nation as part of a movement to help ease incarceration rates.

On Monday, Obama visited a drug treatment center in Newark and also hosted a round table on criminal justice issues at Rutgers University Law School.

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Obama said he wanted to break the cycle of incarceration by making it easier for former inmates to successfully re-enter society.

In New York, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the the program will have minimal impact on the New York City area, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

“There’s 170 that are scheduled to come to New York and the surrounding counties,” Bratton said. “Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk — 170. “We receive over 5,000 state prisoners every year coming out and the majority of the state prisoners are serving sentences for violent crimes.”


Most of the inmates being cut loose from federal prisons were incarcerated for non-violent drug related offenses. Bratton said his concern is the lack of job training, housing and narcotics treatment for those being released. He thinks that may mean they’re heading right back in.

Using his own authority where possible, Obama will announce he’s asking the government personnel office to wait until later in the hiring process to ask about criminal histories, a step most federal agencies have already taken, the White House said. The Obama administration will also clarify its “one strike” rule that prevents many people with arrest records from living in public housing.

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Bratton also expressed optimism about crime rates in New York City. According to the Commissioner, crime rates were down overall this October — despite a wave during the final week of the month, where seven murders and twenty-two shootings occurred, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

“October was by our counts the safest October that we’ve had in over 20 years,” Bratton said.

According to Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea, the city is on track to have its safest year since 1963, with a sharp decline in shootings.

“It’s nearly a 20 percent decline in shooting victims this October versus last,” Shea said.

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