Hope for Federal Prisoners
I am now in my 19th year of continual confinement in the Bureau of Prisons. I am nearing the end of my bid and should be released by the end of 2013 if I complete the drug program (rdap) offered in the feds and get the full year of halfway house and home confinement. As a federal prisoner these are things I have paid a lot of attention to over the year. Rumors or federal parole being enacted and extra good time have been rampant in the system since 1995 but nothing has happened yet. But lately things are looking better. With the changes in the crack laws and the 100 to 1 ration prisoners are catching breaks and getting some relief. I am hoping that some other ideas and rule changes that have been floating around congress pass also.
A couple of years ago there was a lot of hoopla about the Second Chance Act. But on the inside nothing dramatic has really happened. Recently though the feds made changes in the Code of Federal Regulations regarding halfway house and home confinement. The Second Chance Act said prisoner could get up to six months halfway house and six months home confinement but there was nothing in the CFR guidelines that permitted this. Just in September they finally made the proposed rule changes but altering the language in the CFR so that prisoners will be eligible for the whole year that was promised in the Second Chance Act. I am hoping that in the next year so prisoners will be able to get the full year with six months of halfway house and six months of home confinement. For long term prisoners like me and dudes that have been in the feds for over a decade it would be a great relief.
Also as the statutes are written Congress intended federal prisoners to get 54 good times days a year but the BOP only gives prisoners 47 days a year. Prisoners filed in court and it went all the way to the Supreme Court but the Justices sided with the BOP. But now in Congress there are several bills floating around that if passed would give federal prisoners the seven extra days that they should be entitled to. It doesn’t seem like much but if it is retroactive then prisoners like me, who are serving 25 year sentences, would get another six months off. Anything to shave more time off our sentences would be good.
The drug program (rdap) enables prisoners who complete the nine month residential drug program to get up to 12 months off. That has been in effect since the 90s and a lot of prisoners have taken advantage of it. For someone like me the 12 months off is a god send but after doing 19 calendars I am always looking for more. There are several other bills in congress that if passed would enact other good time measures. Allowing prisoners to get up to 60 more days of good time credit a year for completing educational, vocational and other BOP programs. If this is passed it could save more time off federal prisoners’ sentences. But this good time credit would not be retroactive. It would only be for the time prisoners have remaining.
So let’s do the math. If all these things pass and go in effect this is how I would be looking time wise. As of right now I have 48 months left. The drug program would take off 12 months leaving me at 36 months. The six months halfway house and 6 months home confinement would take another 12 months off, leaving me at 24 months. That extra seven days a year on my whole sentence of 25 years would give me another six months off, leaving my at 18 months. and if I could get 60 days more good time credit for my remaining two years or so that would put at about 14 months left. I would be happy with getting out or going to halfway house at the end of 2013, which is 24 months away. But I will take anything I can get as I know many other federal prisoners would.