New Laws for Federal Inmates

Change in terminology regarding immigrants in federal custody. We are making a minor amendment to Executive Order 14012, Restoring Trust in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, issued on February 2, 2021, and Executive Order 14010, creating a comprehensive regional framework to address the root causes of migration, to manage the printed homepage page 7943 Migration in North and Central America, and ensuring the safe and orderly processing of asylum seekers at the border with the United States, published on February 5, 2021. These decrees use the term “non-national” instead of the terms “alien” or “illegal alien”. Consistent with this representative change in terminology and to promote accuracy, we are also changing the term “foreigner” in 28 CFR 523.20(d)(3) to “non-citizen” wherever it appears. The COVID-19 Security of Detention Act would enhance the pilot program for seniors and the compassionate release process during the COVID-19 pandemic. This urgent and timely bill would increase eligibility for these programs and expedite the release from federal prisons during the pandemic. The MMAF supports this bill. Comment: Does the Bureau require a risk/needs analysis and release plan as conditions for obtaining CLT loans? Several commentators commented on the Bureau`s use of “risk assessments” under the FSA as a condition of acquiring GCT loans. One commenter asked whether inmates were required to undergo a “needs assessment” or have a “robust release plan” as “conditions for obtaining” GCT loans, suggesting that if these requirements were imposed, recidivism rates would decrease significantly.

The commentator noted that “the rule mentions that participation in literacy classes or courses to obtain a GED would be one of the ways to obtain credits, such as participation in a program authorized by the office. I anticipate that the needs analysis will be part of the program authorized by the office. The 2018 Phase One Act provides eligible inmates with the opportunity to accumulate 10 to 15 days of time credits for every 30 days of successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction programs and productive activities. Accumulated credits can be used for earlier placement in pre-release custody, such as RRCs and SCs. In addition, at the discretion of the Director of Balance of Payments, up to 12 months of credits may be used for supervised release. Inmates may accumulate time credits retroactively to December 21, 2018, the date of enactment of the First Step Act, subject to determination of eligibility by the BOP. The Emergency GRACE Act of 2020 would expedite the granting of compassionate release during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing people incarcerated in federal prisons to apply directly to court without waiting for normal delays. Especially during a pandemic, it is important to be able to process these requests as quickly as possible. The MMAF supports this bill.

The RSA reduces the number of inmates by providing additional opportunities for some accused to avoid being sentenced to an otherwise mandatory minimum sentence. It also provides most inmates with the opportunity to substantially reduce their sentence by successfully completing certain programs designed to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Such success allows the inmate to obtain ETCs. Eligible inmates may receive time credits for pre-release detention. Crimes that prevent inmates from accumulating time credits are generally considered violent or include terrorism, espionage, human trafficking, sex and sexual exploitation; Also excluded are repeat offenders in possession of a firearm or high-profile drug offences. For more information, see the full list of disqualifying offenses. These ineligible inmates may receive other benefits required by the BOP for successful completion of the recidivism reduction program. The final rule will be published by the Federal Register in the coming weeks and will take effect immediately. The rule as filed with the Federal Register can be found here: www.bop.gov/inmates/fsa/docs/bop_fsa_rule.pdf Retroactive effect of the Equal Sentencing Act The FSA retroactively amended the provisions of the Equal Sentencing Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-220) so that offenders currently incarcerated who were sentenced to longer prison terms for possession of crack cocaine than if they had been charged with possession of the same amount of cocaine powder before the date of coming into force of the Fair Sentencing Act, could apply to the Federal Court for a reduction of their sentence. Implementation is underway, beginning with the immediate release of inmates whose accumulated time credits exceed their remaining days, are less than 12 months after release, and are on supervised release.

Some of these transfers have already begun, and many more will take place in the coming weeks and months as the BOP calculates and applies time credits for eligible inmates. Eligible inmates can obtain ETFs by participating in and successfully completing certain PYP programs or work assignments. ETCs are calculated at the rate of 15 days per 30 days of coherent programming. ETCs can be used for other community-based programs (house and house arrest) or towards the end of an inmate`s sentence. The EQUAL Act: A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would eliminate inequality in the sentencing of crack and powder in the sentencing of crack and powder and apply it retroactively to those who have already been convicted or convicted. This bill would put an end to one of the most disproportionate provisions in federal criminal law. The MMAF supports this bill. Changes to mandatory minimum requirements for certain drug offenders The FSA is making changes to penalties for certain federal offences. The RSA amends mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug traffickers with previous drug convictions by increasing the threshold of previous convictions that count towards higher mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders, reducing the mandatory minimum sentence from 20 years (applicable if the offender has already been sentenced with reservations) to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a mandatory minimum sentence for imprisonment at Life imprisonment (applicable, if the offender has two or more eligible convictions) up to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years. There are also plans to prohibit the use of solitary confinement for young offenders in federal custody. (BOP does not welcome young people into its facilities, but its contracts correspond to this aspect of the FSA.) Clearly, the increased use of FSA ETFs can greatly help moderate or even decrease the BOP prison population.

Reducing the number of inmates is perhaps the most effective way for the BOP to combat the spread of COVID-19 in its many facilities, as it allows for greater social distancing, reduces the number of vectors of transmission, and reduces the impact on the BOP`s health infrastructure in subsequent outbreaks. The office`s current practice allows inmates participating in the pilot program for older inmates to earn GCT points, which are calculated based on their expected release date.