“FIRST STEP” Legislation

Yesterday, the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced companion federal prison reform bills, which at present, appears to have bipartisan support. The bills, known as “Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act” or “FIRST STEP” Act, if approved, would allow for the following:

  1. The bill would authorize $50 million annually for five years to provide education and vocational training programs to federal inmates.
  2. The bill would allow more federal prisoners to take advantage of credits that would allow inmates to serve part of their sentence in home confinement or at a halfway house.
  3. The bill includes a technical fix that would allow inmates to earn up to 54 days of “good time” credit a year, up from 47 days annually under current Bureau of Prisons’ interpretation of the law.
  4. The bill would amend 18 U.S.C. §3621 to require the Bureau of Prisons to initially place or transfer most inmates closer to their primary residence subject to programming needs, bed availability and security level.
  5. The bill would ease some of the requirements to obtain a “Compassionate Release” and, more importantly, would allow an inmate—rather than just the Bureau of Prisons—-to file the required motion before the court pursuant to 18 U.S..C §3582 to seek a Compassionate Release.

We here at National Prison and Sentencing Consultants hope that this bill, if passed, is truly a FIRST STEP in federal prison reform. Of course, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us at 615-696-6153 or help@nationalprisonconsultants.com