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The First Step Act and the Cares Act have changed the Bureau of Prisons. Any person going into the system should learn more about these projects. People in federal prison may work independently, or through counsel, to advocate for early release or transition from prison to home confinement.
Memorandum on Home Confinement
Any person facing time inside of the Federal Bureau of Prisons should learn more about two important programs, including:
- Home Confinement pursuant to the Cares Act
- Elderly Offender Program (First Step Act)
During the 26 years that I served in federal prison, I learned the importance of reading those policies. In some cases, a person can advocate on his or her own behalf. In other cases, a person would be better served to hire a subject-matter expert, or an attorney, to work toward the best possible outcome.
Either way, each person should learn about the different ways that the First Step Act can lead to an earlier release date. Not all people will qualify.
Our colleague, Sam Mangel, for example, learned how to use these changes to his benefit. Sam previously worked as a CEO in the insurance industry. The defense attorney representing Sam told him that he would face a probation sentence. Instead, the judge sentenced Sam to serve 60-months in a federal prison camp.
While incarcerated, Sam learned more about strategies to advocate for himself. Using all of the Bureau of Prisons policies to help him, he succeeded in transferring to home confinement after serving less than 23 months at the Federal Prison Camp in Miami.
Our team has many examples of people that succeeded in getting a better outcome. You can learn more about those stories by researching our website. The page I link to below will offer enormous value:
Transition to Home Confinement, pursuant to Cares Act:
According to the BOP Memorandum, published on April 13, 2021, the BOP must consider the following factors to ensure a person is suitable for home confinement:
- Staff member must review the person’s institutional discipline history for the last 12 months.
- People who do not have a disciplinary infraction may receive more favorable treatment.
- The person must demonstrate a verifiable release plan.
- The person must not have a history of sex offenses or terrorism-related offenses.
- The person must not have a current detainer.
- The person must show a low- or a minimum-security rating.
- The person must not have any history of gang-related acts, or history of violence.
- The person may be vulnerable to COVID-19, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- For people with longer than 18 months remaining to serve, the person should have served more than 50% of the sentence.
- For people with 18 months or less remaining to serve, the person should have served 25% of the sentence.
- Women who are pregnant may be considered for the Mothers and Infants Together (MINT) programs and home confinement.
If a person does not know how to advocate for himself or herself, the person should consider working with a subject-matter expert.
Although no one can guarantee a person’s transition to home confinement, mechanisms exist for a person to advocate on his or her own behalf.
As a person that served 26 years as a federal prisoner, I encourage all people to learn.
Elderly Offender Program (First Step Act)
The First Step Act of 2018 (FSA), Section 603 (a) mandates that the Bureau of Prisons conduct a pilot program for people considered elderly. This program can result in a transition to home confinement, provided the person meets certain conditions. This program defines an eligible person as:
- The person must be at least 60 years old.
- The person must not be serving a life sentence.
- The person must not have a crime of violence, as defined by specific statutes.
- The person cannot have a history of sex offenses or terrorism offenses.
- The person does not have an history of escape.
- The person does not present a risk to society.
Any person that meets the above criteria should learn everything possible about the First Step Act, and how to begin building a package that may result in release.