U.S. Senate Urged to Oppose Measure to Re-Imprison Federal Prisoners Now Serving Time in Home Confinement Program 

By United States Senate – via wikipedia

By Olivia Biliunas and Rajesvi Deora

WASHINGTON, DC – Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and Fair and Just Prosecution have urged the U.S. Senate to reject Joint Resolution 47, which would reimprison nonviolent and low-risk individuals currently serving their sentences under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.

The letter was addressed to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and argued that under the CARES Act, medically vulnerable incarcerated people, who show a low-risk score on the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) risk assessment tool, should be granted release from federal prison and be instead placed in “home confinement,” as a way of encouraging and facilitating reentry.

As stated in the letter, this opportunity comes with a considerable set of requirements—the individuals must not be convicted of any sexual, violent, or terrorism-related convictions, and must not be associated with any gangs, violence or have received disciplinary actions over the past twelve-month period.

The act—the letter states—has proven to be a “remarkable success” —only 27 of the total 13,204 individuals were rearrested over its four years of implementation, showing a 99.8 percent compliance, according to data presented in the letter.

“Most of the offenses that led to rearrest were drug-related or minor crimes, rather than acts of violence,” said the letter.

The letter stated there is no public safety reason to reimprison these individuals when they have provided a “model for a successful evidence-based approach to reentry that puts safety first.”

The letter continued to say that, within the four years, the released individuals have been creating better lives such as enrolling in school and reuniting with their loved ones.

“Putting them back in prison now would be devastating to their families and communities, and disrupt employment and educational activities they have been participating in, thereby hurting their prospects for successful reentry in the future,” the letter read.

According to the letter, the federal prison system will be negatively affected if these individuals are reincarcerated, by contributing to the already overwhelmed system that is “struggling with staffing shortages and overcrowding.”

“Taxpayers could save approximately $23,940.30 per year, per person resulting in more than $100 million in savings each year,” the letter reported.

In an article published by the Niskanen Center, it was described that “codifying targeted home confinement can free up much-needed resources to help police catch more violent criminals who terrorize American neighborhoods with impunity.”

A 2024 documentary by 60 Minutes claimed the Bureau of Prisons to be an “agency in crisis” according to Shane Fausey, retired president of the federal prison employees union, also adding that the Bureau of Prisons is “down about 40 percent of the officers it needs.”

The letter urges the Senate to reject Senate Joint Resolution 47, introduced by Tennessee Republican lawmaker Marsha Blackburn, stating the reimprisonment of individuals under the CARES Act will “erase the progress made” towards a “safer, smarter, and more fiscally-responsible approach to reducing incarceration and supporting reentry.

“As law enforcement leaders, we know that the CARES Act home confinement program has had a remarkable record in helping individuals rebuild their lives after incarceration — the best prescription for reducing recidivism and keeping our communities safe,” the letter states.

About The Author

Olivia Biliunas is a fourth year student at UC Davis pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Professional Writing. With a passion for the field of law she hopes to one day find herself making an impact on other people's lives as a lawyer. In her spare time she loves to go skiing and wakesurfing.

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