On Friday, Interrogating Justice, a nonprofit think tank affiliated with How to Justice, joined Ralph S. Behr, an attorney, and Federal Sentencing Alliance, a consortium of sentencing specialists, in calling on the BOP to start applying First Step Act time credits now.
Former President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act into law on Dec. 21, 2018. Under the First Step Act, incarcerated people can earn time credits by participating in “evidence-based recidivism reduction programs” and “productive activities.” That’s a complicated way of saying that incarcerated people can earn time off their sentence for the classes they’re taking, the activities they’re participating and the work they’re doing in prison.
The problem is that the BOP hasn’t even started counting those time credits. In some cases, this can mean that your loved one earned enough time credits to be released now but won’t be simply because the BOP hasn’t started counting them yet. Instead, the BOP says, prison officials will wait until Jan. 15, 2022, to start counting them.
The BOP could start counting First Step Act time credits right now. But it’s not.
The BOP’s position that they don’t have to start counting First Step Act time credits until Jan. 15, 2022, is based on a federal law that says that they “may” begin sooner. It’s debatable whether this means the BOP can choose not to do anything until Jan. 15, 2022.
But, even if the BOP’s position is technically correct (that’s a big “but”), that doesn’t mean what the BOP is doing is right. That’s why Interrogating Justice decided to join the national press release and petition calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the BOP to start counting First Step Act time credits now.
You can help make that happen. Please consider clicking HERE and signing the petition. You can also share the petition with friends and family and on social media. With enough public pressure, the Biden Administration listened to people like us when it came to CARES Act releases during the COVID-19 pandemic. They might listen now, too.