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First Step Act and CARES Act

Federal Legal News, April 3, 2023

The United States Sentencing Commission is set to adopt rules this Wednesday that vastly expand the grounds for compassionate release, narrow what constitutes a crime of violence, further define "extraordinary and compelling circumstances," and encourage states to take the lead on SO prosecutions. The Wednesday vote is also expected to reduce confusion on what is a "controlled substance offense," and inchoate (uncompleted) offenses...

Although a number of individuals have gotten their proper credits toward the one-year FSA sentence reduction, the Bureau is scrambling to provide as many bureaucratic roadblocks as possible to muddy what was intended to be a relatively simple process. Congress clearly stated that it wanted people who are non-violent, employed in productive prison employment activities, and programming to be able to earn credits towards their sentence, as well as halfway house and home confinement. Sadly, many people who have gotten credits have seen them whittled away or removed entirely, and those with hundreds of days of credit that could be applied to post-release custody have seen little to no compliance with FSA's clear provisions. It is essential that you file remedies REGARDLESS of whether you have received some sentence credits, because they could disappear with a keystroke if the Bureau comes up with some new internal policy that is an abuse of discretion.

To summarize, if you have pushed a mop for two-plus years, and done NOTHING else, and otherwise qualify for credits, you would qualify for the year off, period. There is no language in FSA justifying "refusal" exceptions, "required programming" signing out of RDAP, or any of this stuff you have been told block FSA credits. File your remedies...

If nothing changes... CARES will end in May or at the latest, June. The President has no authority to extend it further. However, there is already a system in place where the Bureau and DOJ could transfer people to home confinement without CARES. "Federal Location Monitoring." Approximately 9,000 people are assigned to federal location monitoring at any given time in the federal system: 50 percent of federal location monitoring participants are placed on GPS technology. 44 percent of participants are placed on Radio Frequency, and the remaining participants are placed on Voice Recognition or Virtual Monitoring technologies. Another 9.3 percent of federal persons under supervision on post-conviction supervision and 24.7 percent of federal defendants are on some form of location monitoring. This system is already in place, and could be implemented immediately.

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