I had a chance to dissect the Rule released yesterday and a have a few comments about what caught my eye from a BOP correctional treatment perspective.
While the final rule is a lot broader in application and liberal as far as the actual awards of FTC, let us not be dancing on the tables because it’s still discriminatory and restrictive to a lot of PEOPLE.
One of the stats that caught my eye was that approximately 75,000 of 131,000 PEOPLE (almost 60 %) are medium and high risk and simply are not eligible for the FTC! While that number sounds high already, it doesn’t even take into consideration the minimum and low risk individuals that do not meet the other restrictive criteria of identified crimes, prior offenses, non-citizens, DC Code cases, etc. You can stay up on the table celebrating dancing if your part of the white-collar lobby or if your .org raised a lot of money on the hype and false narrative of the accomplishment!
What’s more concerning, aside from the obvious exclusions, are some references I am hearing about internal BOP memoranda using the word; “Director’s Discretion”. BOP policies geeks (if there are any) recognize this language is from the Program Statement 5162.04, Categorization of Offenses (bop.gov) which “excludes early release benefits” for a myriad of crimes, priors, and even non-violent offenses the BOP Director has determined to be ineligible based on the agency’s discretion. I really hope I am wrong on this observation, but it will be detailed in the soon to be released policy.
Over and over in this process, the BOP has specified FTC awards are issued for PEOPLE completing programs identified on a person’s needs and risk assessment. This theme is important because if the program was not identified for an individual, it is not creditable. The new rule as amended confirms this in several areas. BOP case managers key a “Y”, yes or “N”, no in thirteen separate risk areas to identify what programs count towards the credit.
As you dig into the actual numbers, the percentage of people who will benefit from the FTC awards is very limited.
On a positive note, here are a few optimistic and non-sarcastic observations:
It appears the programs and productive activities have been expanded but we’re still waiting for an update of the July 21 catalogue fsa_program_guide_2107.pdf (bop.gov).
The awards are granted for participation in programs which is deferent from the proposed rule which only credited completed programs
The amount/rate of hours has been changed from the proposed rule as follows:
“For every thirty-day period that an eligible inmate successfully participates in EBRR Programs or PAs recommended based on the inmate’s risk and needs assessment, the inmate will earn ten days of FSA Time Credits. If the inmate is determined to be at a minimum or low risk for recidivating and can maintain that risk level for the most recent two consecutive risk and needs assessments, that inmate may earn an additional five days of FSA Time Credits per thirty-day period.”
The next statement was most interesting as well
“Eligible inmates will be afforded a presumption of participation for the period between December 21, 2018, and January 14, 2020, and be awarded Time Credits accordingly.” This statement is interesting because the BOP was not tracking the hours prior to January of 2020. Given the logistic nightmare and staff labor for researching individual wards, I’m going to assume they liberally awarded the full one year to just about everybody that qualified for FTC and began the supervised release term earlier.
As we wait for the BOP to issue a policy and the consultant miscreants come out of the good work to advertise for naive people and families to “pay for early release”, I can only wish I had thought to purchase the domain names relative to Federal Time Credits.
Stay tuned because this seems to be developing rapidly after a long time in process………………..