In a new memo issued late in December, the DOJ reversed its prior position regarding what will happen to federal inmates on home confinement when the pandemic ends. Under the DOJ’s latest guidance, the Bureau of Prisons will keep inmates on home confinement after the emergency period under the CARES Act ends rather than send them back to prison. Now, inmates will only be sent back “where penologically justified.”
In significant news to sentencing reform advocates, the DOJ recently announced a new rule interpreting the First Step Act’s provision on “earned time credits,” which allow inmates to earn sentence reductions by completing certain programs. Under the new rule, eligible inmates can earn up to 10 days of “time credits” for every 30 days of “successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction programming or productive activities.” Certain inmates are not eligible, including sex offenders, deportable inmates, and inmates with convictions for violent crimes or under 924(c).