Clemency Conditions Broadened in the USA

In a move welcomed by ADA this April, the US Government announced a broadening of clemency conditions for non-violent offenders charged with drug offences. The new guidelines are considered an attempt to rectify discrepancies in sentencing for Federal offences, particularly between those convicted for crack versus powder cocaine crimes.

Applicable to those convicted prior to the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which endeavoured to rectify inconsistencies, the new guidelines apply as follows;

  • Low-level offenders without significant criminal history
  • Serving federal sentence likely to be shorter if convicted today
  • Served at least 10 years of their sentence
  • Demonstrated good conduct in prison
  • No history of violence before or during their prison term


Given the USA holds the highest number of Australians incarcerated of any nation, and drug-related crimes comprise a large proportion of Australian arrests overseas, ADA expects some Australian citizens may fall within the new parameters.

All clemency applications will be handled by US Department of Justice, with additional lawyers on hand to process requests.

Families with loved ones currently incarcerated in the USA, who may fit within the new clemency guidelines are encouraged to seek legal advice.

You can also get in touch with us should you require further information.