The Bureau Of Prisons Evolving Calculation Of First Step Act

“The basis of the FSA law, according to Hugh Hurwitz retired Acting Director of the BOP, is to reduce the federal prison population, something that has trended down over the past 6 years. The premise of FSA is to reward federal prisoners’ participation in meaningful classes meant to return a better citizen to society and, hopefully, reduce the chances of them returning to prison. The reward is that an eligible prisoner (and many violent crimes and charges are excluded) can earn 10 days of credits off of their sentence for every 30 days of programming or productive activities. For those who have a minimum or low rates of recidivism, known as a PATTERN score, the prisoner can earn an additional 5 days each month if they get two consecutive scores of low or minimum. Those scores are updated every 6 months, so potentially, a prisoner who arrives at prison could be earning 15 days per month off of their sentence within the first 6 months of arriving there. This could be especially good news for those first time, non-violent offenders who could see their sentences cut by up to 365 days, the maximum allowed under the FSA. However, the BOP’s interpretation of when to assign 15 days of credits rather than the 10 days will cut short the amount of credits being allotted to prisoners.”