809, 2023

Disappointed in LA

September 8th, 2023|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform, First Step Act|Tags: , , , , |

I just returned from the annual U.S. Sentencing Commission seminar in Los Angeles. It is the only forum I am aware of in which the BOP presentation is open to the public. While it is usually a superficial session, this one lacked the technical policy information of past seminars and was more of a public relations campaign expressing greater BOP transparency, accountability and compassion.  While I would love to believe this mantra, my day-to-day experiences with incarcerated people and staff tell me otherwise. For instance, I was able to raise the question in front of over a thousand participants and asked about people who are being approved for less time in pre-release custody than the amount of pre-release credits “earned” under the FSA.  I got the impression they were unaware of this issue, as they danced around the question then concluded by saying they simply don’t have the bed space [...]

209, 2023

More of the Same (venting blog!)

September 2nd, 2023|Categories: Uncategorized|

Early this week, a brief Op Ed was published in The Hill related to solitary confinement by co-authors Collette Peters, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Nancy Levigne, Director of the National Institute of Justice.  https://thehill.com/opinion/congress-blog/4175480-promoting-safer-and-more-humane-environments-the-imperative-of-studying-restrictive-housing-in-corrections/ While I applaud their efforts and intention, the article is one of many in a long line of platitudes that focus on inhumane restrictive housing unit practices. These editorials have a minimal impact in changing our archaic prison system and do little more than appease beltway academics and advocates with rhetoric while reminding the world of our failure to adhere to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners referred to the Mandella Rules. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (unodc.org) The article caused me to reflect on the various congressional hearings, initiatives and reports on the issue such as- REASSESSING SOLITARY CONFINEMENT: THE [...]

1803, 2023

Reflections on First Step Act Feedback submitted in 2019 – Still valid today! Go figure……….

March 18th, 2023|Categories: Uncategorized|

June 14, 2019        To: IRC/FBOP/NIJ    I am writing today with feedback as a citizen, stakeholder (FedCURE) and retired BOP employee with over 30 years of experience working directly with people incarcerated in the federal prison system. I respectfully request this feedback be considered and put on the record. My perspective is unique because I was involved with training BOP correctional programs staff, auditing facilities, writing policy and classifying thousands of people since the 1980’s under the various classification manuals and current risk assessment tool. I have worked in all types of prison units including pre-trial, witness security (WITSEC) min, low, medium and high. I currently testify around the country on federal prison issues and train federal defenders and judges on the BOP in general. One of my passions is federal prison reform.  (CV attached) I am providing feedback to various areas under review by the IRC. My primary [...]

603, 2023

Monthly First Step Act Update (The Chaos Continues) 3/6/23

March 6th, 2023|Categories: Uncategorized|

It did not take long for the BOP to issue a change notice to Program Statement 5410.01, FSA of 2018-Time Credits: For Implementation of 18 USC 3632 (d)(4). This change allows credits for people with detainers which was inevitable because of the litigation around the country because of the BOP’s creation of a restriction that was not in the law. It also allows non-citizens to be awarded credit provided they do not have a final order of deportation. This change resulted in a modification of the computer application and DSCC staff were reportedly working on a Sunday that weekend processing computations for immediate releases. I had anticipated the detainer change this for a while but not the non-citizen issue.  Last week, I was informed some non-citizens who received time credits had their release date changed, then changed back again. The non-citizenship issue is a bit more nuanced since the BOP [...]

202, 2023


February 2nd, 2023|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform, First Step Act|

  The big news this week was the announcement to the end of the national emergency for Covid-19 declared by President Biden over thirty-five months ago. The timing was interesting as it comes just over a month after the BOP updated their CARES ACT Home Detention criteria. While there was not much new in the criteria, it clarified the 25% & 50 % eligibility issue. From my perspective, the preceding memo from April 2021, was broad and inconsistently applied around the country regarding the eligibility timeframes. The previous memo listed the eligibility percentages of the “sentence;” while the updated memo distinctly lists the “statutory sentence”.  Further, the memo also indicates a further distinction that the FSA/FTC (time credits) do not apply in the eligibility determination.  I might look at these issues from a very micro perspective, but most facilities thus far have interpreted the eligibility as the entire sentence (ie:50 [...]

2912, 2022

The Definition of Insanity!

December 29th, 2022|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform, First Step Act|

  As chaos and criminality plague the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the highest levels of management, only a politician could come up with the idea of building the fourth federal prison in a remote area in eastern Kentucky. Let us not forget that the federal prison population has decreased by over 60, 000 people from the historic highs in 2013. In addition, the agency is also having problems in the retention and hiring of eligible staff especially in rural areas despite offering attractive incentive bonuses funded by taxpayers. While these obvious reasons are blatant examples of poor judgment, there are more subtle ones that exist that should have every voter and even the purported community beneficiaries rallying in opposition to this false panacea. Flying under the radar of false promises is the fallacy that prisons are a boon to the local economy and job creation. There is a myriad [...]

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