The U.S. Department of Justice has filed court documents signaling an end to its efforts to block the release of a number of federal prisoners who it concedes are "legally innocent" following an appeals court ruling last year.

The Justice Department has not publicly identified the inmates who could be eligible for release or shortened sentences. The American Civil Liberties Union in North Carolina, where the government filed its "reconsidered" position, urged Justice lawyers to promptly identify inmates who could be affected by the appeals court ruling.