I wanted to get this out in the metaverse because it is either profound or a profound snafu by the BOP.
As everyone waited for the Federal Time Credits (FTC) Rules (see attached) to be published in less than two weeks, BOP facilities began putting talking points on the unit bulletin boards which is a standard protocol when a major policy or change in policy is effectuated.
I receive all kinds of documents from around the BOP from various sources and this one caught my eye and allowed me to re-think the concept of the FTC application and statutory authority on how and where it is awarded. After receiving it, I was equally intrigued when a DC Judiciary contact involved in this process was unaware the rules were even finalized.
After digging a bit further, I discovered that the talking points and policy were quickly retracted shortly after posting. All of this broke late yesterday (1/4), so I am still investigating what is about to break. I am going to assume that the policy I referred to above on FTC was the finalized draft that I have written about several times since it began circulating inside the agency in late 2019.
I am going to attach the rules in a file to this rant as well as the actual comments I submitted to the federal register when I first saw them. It’s a bit sarcastic, maybe a lot sarcastic but it exemplifies my scorn for the people void of common sense and/or understanding of the BOP.
Here are the major points that I took away from the talking points which sheds an entire new light on the credits if true!
All along the BOP in DC had verbally told me the FTC credits were only to be applied to “Pre-release custody” aka: halfway house/RRC and home detention. They also said the FTC was NOT statutory good time (i.e.: GCT) and the maximum award for a person was a maximum of twelve months. However, according to the talking points and I quote:
“If eligible, all time credits up to 365 days may be applied towards an inmate’s release. Any FTC earned beyond that may be applied toward community placement.”
That BOP talking point blows my mind, if true because it basically implies the BOP is first using the FTC like GCT because they use the word “release” rather than transfer to the community under 3624(c). Just wow! The second part implies that any time over 365 days will allow a person to transfer to the RRC and/or home detention sooner as is the current practice when it comes to “pre-release custody”.
The next BOP talking point is equally profound as well as logistical nightmare.
“Inmates are now eligible to earn FTC retroactively back to December 21, 2018, this award will be based on criteria established by the BOP.”
This is profound in my opinion because all along the BOP interpreted it as going into effect for programs completed after January of 2020. They weren’t even tracking it back then nor has the new SENTRY modification been completed as far as I am aware. They have been tracking with a history transaction since January 2020, so it will be difficult and labor intensive to track down and award the FTC.
I find the next BOP talking point as a bit of a joke given the statement on how long it will take. It also implies the SENTRY computation modification has been completed.
“We expect it to take several weeks to update all necessary sentence computations, DSCC will prioritize based on those inmates we project to be immediate releases, beginning with inmates in community placement.”
While there are several more points made, the three above are earth shattering, if true! I’m going to now switch to some of the other logistical nightmares that I’ve written about and should be considered going forward if these issues come to fruition.
Let us not forget:
-The BOP only credits 500 hours of programming as 30 days FTC if there was “successful completion” of the program. This appears to conflict with the attached rule as proposed but I haven’t dug deep into the calculations yet.
-The initial awards are based on PATTERN risk assessment scores which was an extremely flawed tool back when it was implemented. A person must be low or minimum risk with no increased risk of recidivism over two the most recent two assessments.
-There is a list of exclusionary crimes listed in the law that are considered violent. There is also conflicting BOP policy on the definition of violence, not to mention the “Director’s Discretion” cases in the RDAP early release policy in relation to program benefits. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
-There is also the issue of the BOP only awarding credit for activities assigned to a person based on the risk assessment. For instance, if a person completed an evidenced based recidivism reduction program (EBRRP), they may not receive credit if it’s not keyed as a need in that area.
I am going to stop there because this starts to get into many technical issues that I have regularly written about in a monthly legal publication.
It is difficult to say where this issue is going given the BOP’s dysfunction and finalized rules that have yet to be published. From A BOP case management perspective, this convoluted law is probably going to result in all kinds of legal challenges given the haphazard way it has and will continue to be implemented. It is certainly discriminatory at its core, and I invite you to read the attached (pdf) feedback I submitted when it was first published for comment. It has my notes on the rule then my sarcastic submission. Stay tuned.