January 2020 Updates to First Step Act – Earned Credits Programming Still in Development and Not Fully Implemented [Could be Another Year or Two]
As of January 15th 2020 – all BOP inmates will receive assignment for participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction (EBRR) programs and productive activities. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) notes on 1/17/20 that it “continues to make significant progress towards the successful implementation of the First Step Act (FSA)” and “is continuing its work on improving its needs assessment system.” Following completion of initial assessment criteria and now (initially) determining EBRR programs/activities, further development/implementation of ‘Needs Assessment’ and expansion of available programming will be the focus.
Discussion of the various assessments and programming involved – process and procedure from intake to release – BOP review and determination.
A list of approved EBRR programs and productive activities (PAs) are now available. Program specifics listed state it “assesses inmates for criminogenic needs and other needs that are associated with an increased risk of recidivism … [to] assign appropriate evidence-based recidivism reduction programming and productive activities.” *Of note, the manner in which the BOP will convert earned time credit hours into days (as the First Step Act contemplated) has yet to be fully disclosed or explained.
Department of Justice (DOJ) states: “All inmates in the BOP system have received an initial assessment using the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Need (PATTERN)… as of 1/15/20 inmates will be assigned to participate in programming… directed towards the full implementation of FSA… still incorporating recommended changes… modifying programming, enhancing effectiveness… more inmates assigned and participating going forward.”