Two years after enactment of the First Step Act (12/21/18), the Attorney General recently submitted a progress summary reviewing FSA implementation, the status of recidivism reduction programs/activities, and the still developing ‘Risk & Needs Assessment System’ – also including recidivism data from 2020; and noting advancements to re-entry, substance abuse treatment, home confinement, and compassionate release parameters; further renewal of the Elderly Offender early release program; and generally the continuing development and fine tuning of FSA related time credits to be applied.

Covid-19’s impact on BOP in 2020 has slowed the process and as normal operations eventually resume there ideally will be closer attention to inmate needs best matching program participation to maximize opportunities and the goal of more appropriate timing for completion of programs and activities during one’s sentence. According to BOP/DOJ, continuing improvements to ‘Evidence Based Recidivism Reduction’ [EBRR] programs and the ‘Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs’ [PATTERN] will seek a greater effectiveness, with more focused and expanded programming resolutions and overall “performance efficiency.”

There is active discussion of further federal criminal justice reform and much work still ahead to fully implement FSA’s potential. Recent reports from DOJ (and Independent Review Committees) offer insight into the current status. Review of the ‘earned credits’ developed thus far (and additional progress reports thru 2020) provide further pertinent info and broader perspective. Justice Advocacy Group continues to monitor FSA developments in detail and working to assist clients in navigating and understanding this still evolving work in progress.

Attorney General’s First Step Act Section 3634 Annual Report (December 2020)  

Report of the Independent Review Committee Pursuant to the Requirements of FSA (12/21/20)

DOJ/BOP: Evidence-based Recidivism Reduction (EBRR) Programs and Productive Activities (PA)

First Step Act Implementation Fiscal Year 2020 – U.S. Department of Justice – 6/2/20