Another prime example of this was the Second Chance Act (SCA).
Although this legislation created grants to assist in Re-entry efforts, it fell short in other areas. In this legislation, there was a provision for a program called “The Elderly Offender Pilot Program (EOP) “. The drafting of this legislation was short sighted as the program criteria only qualified just over 100 inmates nationally. I subsequently met with congressional staff of Senator Leahy for improvements to the ELP regarding the Re-Authorization of the SCA. It was promising to see some of these revisions in the FSA that reduced the age requirement to 60 and time needed to be served to 66%. A continued problem with the continuance of the EOP is no different than it was under the SCA.
While working for the BOP, I referred one of the first EOP offenders in the country to the Washington, DC Central office but they were denied program participation because of past violence from over 30 years earlier. The bureaucrats deemed this offender dangerous to the community, yet he had been incarcerated in a camp setting (without a fence), was a model inmate with an outstanding work ethic who even participated in unescorted medical furloughs in the community. Shortly after the denial, I placed one of the first offenders in the country into this program. If written properly, the EOP could have benefited thousands vs the handful who were approved early release. These shortcoming have continues under the First Step Act.
Both laws also fall short in regards to RRC (Halfway House) placement. Even though the statutory Residential Re-entry (RRC aka halfway house) placement term increased to one year under the SCA, the BOP has never utilized this law to its potential and has not built up the RRC infrastructure commensurate with population reduction initiatives. Federal Prison Camp inmates are actually being discriminated against in this regard by reduced placements. In addition, there is a great need to influence new legislation which will allow minimum and low risk people to return to society sooner and give back to the community as part of the Restorative Justice process.
There are several ways lobby groups and NGO’s can effectuate positive change in the dysfunctional prison industrial complex while actually saving tax payer dollars. Many of these ideas and concepts will be discussed in my book. Most of the changes can be accomplished under existing Federal law.
If you are advocating Federal crime legislation for a particular group or purpose, I can provide your organization the insight needed to enact meaningful laws which will have a positive outcome on the desired goals.