The Department of Justice reversed its own legal opinion to recall prisoners who were allowed to serve their sentence on home confinement during the pandemic.
According to The Associated Press, nearly 3,000 inmates would have potentially been forced to return to prison after the COVID-19 emergency is over.
Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed compassion for many of those on home confinement.
"Thousands of people on home confinement have reconnected with their families, have found gainful employment, and have followed the rules," he said in a statement Tuesday.
Thousands of inmates were allowed to serve their sentence on home confinement after Congress passed the CARES Act. Lawmakers gave priority to low-level offenders and those who were at high risk of suffering from COVID-19 complications.
Garland said inmates' sentencing decisions will be treated on a case-by-case basis— rather than forcing all inmates to return to prison.
"We will exercise our authority so that those who have made rehabilitative progress and complied with the conditions of home confinement, and who in the interests of justice should be given an opportunity to continue transitioning back to society, are not unnecessarily returned to prison," he said.