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Early Release of Federal Prisoners Under 2018 Law Finally Being Implemented

Posted on in Criminal Defense

stamfordIn December of 2018, former President Trump signed into law The First Step Act. The Act had two goals to meet: improving the conditions for prisoners incarcerated in federal prisons and cutting unnecessarily long federal sentences. This week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new rule it is implementing that will begin the release process for thousands of federal prisoners currently sitting in prison.

The First Step Act

Under the First Step Act, federal inmates were granted the chance to earn up to 15 days of time credits for every 30 days of completed participation in prison programs that were developed to reduce recidivism rates. Qualified programs include those that address educational work, drug treatment, anger management, and social skills.

The new rule is more specific in how many credits are actually earned. Inmates can earn 10 days of time credit for every 30 days they participate in programs, however, if an inmate is able to stay in a “lower-risk category,” they will earn an additional time credit of five days for each of those 30 days.

Once an inmate qualifies and is released, they are either placed on home confinement, sent to supervised released programs, or transferred to residential reentry centers (i.e. halfway houses).

Per the DOJ’s announcement, given the high number of qualifying inmates, implementation of the program will begin on a rolling basis. Inmates who have earned time credits that exceed the days they left to serve on their sentences, have less than one year left on their sentence for release, and have a qualifying supervised release sentence will be the first to be released. The Bureau of Prisons will be using calculations of credits earned by inmates dating back to 2018, when the Act was enacted.

According to the DOJ, the finalized rules are being published in the Federal Register, the document that informs citizens of their rights and obligations. Just two months ago, the DOJ’s Inspector General announced that the Bureau of Prisons had failed to apply the earned income credit to approximately 60,000 federal prisoners who had completed the required programs.

Contact a Stamford, CT Defense Attorney

Being accused of any crime is serious, but when those charges are being prosecuted by the federal government, the penalties for conviction can be harsh. If you have been charged with a federal offense, you need a skilled Fairfield County federal crimes lawyer who will aggressively defend you against these charges. Call Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help.

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-new-rule-implementing-federal-time-credits-program-established

https://www.bop.gov/inmates/fsa/docs/bop_fsa_rule.pdf