Blog Article 

 Congressman to Prison 

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Michael Santos

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How to Get Early Release from Federal Prison:

If you’ve been targeted for a criminal prosecution, and anticipate that you may serve time in federal prison, you should speak with one or more qualified federal prison consultants. They can help you learn everything you need to know about the possibilities for advancing the release date after the judge imposes sentence. Unfortunately, the federal system abolished parole for defendants who were convicted of crimes after November 1, 1987. That legislative change has left relatively few opportunities available for prisoners to emerge from prison earlier than the initial sentence indicates. Federal good time is available. Yet as a consequence of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, the formation of the US Sentencing Commission, and other reforms, those good-time credit possibilities were limited to 54 days off per year. When considering the way that the BOP issues that good time, people in federal prison receive less than the full 54-day allotment. I wrote more about that subject in my lesson plan on early release.

Good Time Credit:

When discussing Good Time Credit in federal prison, I should make some distinctions. An individual doesn’t need to do anything particularly “good” to earn good time. The Bureau of Prisons awards those good-time credits to people who refrain from violating any disciplinary infractions, so long as they qualify. To qualify for good-time credits, an individual simply must have a high school diploma, a GED, or make progress toward a GED. In the lesson plans available on, I explain why it’s so crucial for defendants to document their academic background during the Pre-sentence investigation. Basically, every prisoner who avoids problems in prison receives the “good time” award.

The purpose behind good time isn’t to incentivize meritorious behavior, but to provide Bureau of Prison staff members with an easy, administrative action when prisoners are convicted of violating the disciplinary code in federal prison. I consider that process a fundamental design flaw in our nation’s prison system. That may be the subject of a much longer series of articles.

Other Types of Relief from a Federal Prison Sentence:

Besides good time, federal prisoners may advance their release date through a judicial review. Defense attorneys may help with an appeal of the conviction or the sentence through direct appeals or habeas corpus procedures. Federal prison consultants will concur that we rarely see relief through appeal or post-conviction judicial procedures. Our system is designed to receive, and once a court hands down a federal prison sentence, we see a vested interest in “finality.” That means it’s rare–though not impossible–for us to see that sentence reduced through judicial action.

Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) and Prison Commutations:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers one program that can lead to a 12-month advancement of the release date. Federal Prison Consultants speak frequently about RDAP because they know many defendants make bad decisions that disqualify them from the program. To qualify, the prisoner must successfully complete the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). To qualify, the prisoner must take some affirmative steps prior to the sentencing hearing. Qualifying doesn’t mean the person needs to have a chronic substance-abuse problem. In fact, many of the people who participate in the Federal Bureau of Prisons Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) never consumed more than a few glasses a wine. Yet they were successful in documenting a record of substance abuse. In the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as with all inefficient bureaucracies, that documentation makes all the difference. At, we frequently work with defendants who want to qualify for RDAP and the 12-month time cut from the prison term.

Executive clemency presents another option for early release. Persuading the president of the United States to commute a federal prison term is a Herculean task. But it’s been done before. If you’re interested in building a record that might prove worthy of a sentence computation, contact We can provide some guidance that you may find useful.

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