By MICHAEL BALSAMO / The Associated Press
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
EDGEFIELD, S.C.—Leroy Nolan has spent the last 26 years behind bars at a federal prison for a drug conviction. In the prison factory, he works making T-shirts, backpacks and other products that are later sold to government agencies, nonprofits and others.
But what has become a decades-long routine for Nolan behind the barbed wire, steel gates and concrete walls of FCI Edgefield, a prison in rural South Carolina, will all change on Friday when he walks out the front door. The 67-year-old is among about 2,200 federal inmates who will be released that day by the federal Bureau of Prisons under a criminal justice reform measure signed into law last year by President Donald Trump.
The measure, known as the First Step Act, gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders, eases mandatory minimum sentences and encourages inmates to participate in programs designed to reduce the risk of recidivism, with credits that can be used to gain an earlier release.
On a visit this past week to Edgefield — a facility with a medium-security prison and minimum-security camp — Attorney General William Barr took a firsthand look at some of the programs in…