More than 12,000 prisoners could get out earlier than expected because of a decrease in federal crack cocaine prison time, according to a Reuters report.

The new policies puts the sentence for crack cocaine closer to the sentence fo powder cocaine, Reuters reported. For years, advocates have claimed that making the penalty for crack steeper than the penalty for powder cocaine was racially discriminatory because it generally gave higher penalties to black defendants.

Around 1,800 prisoners could immediately go free, Reuters reported.

The pace has picked up in the last couple of weeks and we don't expect it to abate any time soon, federal prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

The Fair Sentencing Act, which resulted in the change in sentences, was signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.