DOJ Issues Final Rule for Home Confinement under Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – Suggests Many May Not Be Sent Back to Prison

DOJ Office via

By Perla Brito

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Dept. of Justice announced this week the final rule for home confinement of federal prisoners under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This final rule grants “discretion” and “flexibility” to the “Director of the Bureau of Prisons to allow individuals placed in home confinement rather than being sent back to federal prison under CARES to remain in home confinement after the expiration of the covered emergency period” (Department Of Justice).

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said, “The Justice Department is committed to protecting the safety of our communities and continuing to support the successful transition of those in home confinement back to society.”

He added, “This final rule makes clear that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons has the discretion to ensure that those who have made rehabilitative progress and complied with the conditions of home confinement are not unnecessarily returned to prison.”

The Bureau may “impose proportional and escalating sanctions for individuals who commit infractions, including returning them to prison,” according to DOJ, adding individuals can also be moved into Residential Reentry Centers, “including instances when home residence is no longer viable or due to either minor accounting issues or non-significant disciplinary issues.”

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons said “any individual placed on home confinement under the CARES Act will remain on home confinement under the CARES Act for the remainder of their sentence, provided that they are compliant with the rules and regulations of community placement.”

The final rule was pronounced after the Attorney General issued a statement directing the Department of Justice to set a rulemaking process that ensures individuals who are placed in home confinement under the CARES Act are not unnecessarily returned to.

According to the DOJ, “The proposed rule was published on June 21, 2022, and the comment deadline concluded on July 21, 2022.”

Before the proposed rule was published, “the Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion interpreting the CARES Act to give the Bureau of Prisons discretion to permit individuals in home confinement to remain there after the COVID-19 emergency has ended” (Department of Justice).

The CARES Act went into full effect on March 26, 2020. Since then, The Bureau of Prisons has placed more than 12,000 individuals in home confinement under CARES Act authority. Less than one percent of those individuals have been returned to prison “due to new criminal conduct.”

About The Author

Perla Brito is a 4th year undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach. She is majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice and is set to graduate by Spring 2023. After graduation she plans on working at a local police department in the criminal investigations division. She intends to pursue a Masters in Psychology with a focus in Neuroscience in hopes of working on neurocriminology research one day.

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