First Step Act (FSA) Recent Changes/Updates from DOJ-BOP / Updated DOJ-BOP Home Confinement Guidance Memo / Presidential End to Covid Emergency Status in May
Recent changes to the FSA program statement have updated various aspects of time credit application procedures – as seen in DOJ/BOP’s recent notice regarding FSA’s eligibility process [Procedures/Implementation 18 U.S.C. § 3632(d)(4) policy statement change notice 2/6/23]. It effects ‘Risk/Need Assessment’ with prerelease custody’s periodic reassessments; ‘Earning of FTCs’ with regards to final risk assessments and application of credits; ‘Tracking/Earning FTCs’ with time credits assessment and inmate central file information; and ‘Application of FTCs’ in situations of unresolved pending charges or detainers. This new FSA policy statement and the revised ‘Approved Programs Guide’ (Jan 2023) provide further detail below.
DOJ/BOP: Change Notice, PS 5410.01 CN-1 (2/6/23): First Step Act of 2018 – Time Credits: Procedures for Implementation of 18 U.S.C. § 3632(d)(4)
FSA Approved Programs Guide / January 2023 (DOJ-BOP / Reentry Services Division)
DOJ-BOP also notes in an updated guidance memorandum regarding home confinement criteria (Dec 2022) “we must continue the focus on potentially at-risk inmates who are non-violent, pose minimal risks of recidivism, who may be appropriate to serve the remainder of their sentences in Home Confinement, rather than in Bureau facilities.” Criteria expanding the scope of consideration (and superseding the earlier 4/13/21 HC memo guidance) continues with a wider focus – and on background variables such as Covid risks, minimal or low PATTERN scores, minimum/low security status, non-violent offenses, clear institutional discipline history for the past 12 months, 50% of a sentence served, and other factors like prior adjustment to supervised release or pre-trial supervision – all which may ideally increase FSA application and opportunity.
U.S. DOJ/BOP: Memorandum for Chief Executive Officers 12/21/22. ‘Home Confinement Criteria and Guidance’ superseding HC Memorandum 4/13/21
And additionally noting – when President Biden ends the State of Emergency for COVID-19 this upcoming May; 30 days later in June 2023 the CARES Act BOP early releases will also come to an end. The Biden administration has signaled it is concluding the pandemic state of emergency on 5/11, which means early releases via the CARES Act will then stop 30 days later by June 10th.
Biden to End Covid National Emergencies in May / The Washington Post (1/30/23)