Contd from page one Eldery Offender
The Elderly and Family Reunification for Certain Non-Violent Offenders Pilot Program allows the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to transfer qualified prisoners into the home detention pilot program. That program was not clear if a prisoner could use good time credits against time served.
Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL-22) proposed legislation (H.R. 4018) to clear up how good time could be applied. The bill modifies the eligibility criteria for release and allows good-time credit to be applied and used for early release to home detention.
Deutch stated "Passage of the FIRST STEP Act last year was a significant bipartisan accomplishment to improve America’s prisons and give more incarcerated individuals the chance at rehabilitation and reentry into society. I'm particularly proud of our improvements and expansion of the pilot program to allow elderly prisoners to transition to home confinement for the remainder of their sentence. Elderly prisoners are among the most vulnerable in our nation’s prison system. This bill's small clarification to include good time credit is a humane fix that will also reduce federal costs."
Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee; Ted Deutch (D-Fla.); Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.); Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.); and Karen Bass (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 4018.
The bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee then passed the House of Representatives on December 3. "I'm grateful for the support of Ranking Member Collins, Congressman Jeffries, Chairwoman Bass, and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers on this bill. With its passage, we are making an important clarification to the pilot program that allows elderly prisoners to transition to home confinement for the remainder of their sentence. As elderly prisoners are among the most vulnerable populations in prisons, this fix to include good time credit will allow more of them to benefit from this program. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it will also reduce federal costs in our prison system," Deutch said in a press release.
"Today the House passed an important bill to ensure that elderly federal offenders who qualify for early, compassionate release receive credit for the ‘good conduct time’ they accrued while in custody. I am heartened by the bipartisan support for this bill in the House and urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible," said Nadler.
“As we continue looking for ways to reform our criminal justice system, my goal will always be to keep our communities safe and secure. Thoughtful changes to improve our prison system require accountability and fairness. This bipartisan legislation meets those goals by providing elderly offenders, who demonstrate good behavior, the opportunity to transition to home confinement to serve out their sentence,” said McMorris Rodgers.
"We should approach criminal justice reform in the broadest possible fashion. This is a commonsense measure that allows a number of elderly and seriously ill individuals to return home in their final years when they have earned time off their sentence for good conduct. Reps. Deutch, Collins and all involved should be commended for their leadership in this regard," said Jeffries.
"The FIRST STEP Act was just that — a first step. Today, my colleagues and I are building on this work by taking yet another step towards a more just and fair criminal justice system. Allowing nonviolent elderly prisoners to serve the remainder of their sentence in a home detention program is the right thing to do and it will save money as well. I’m proud to support my colleagues on this important piece of legislation and look forward to continuing our work to reform the criminal justice system,” said Bass.
The bill is now headed for the Senate.