08 Oct SIGN OUR PETITION: BOP Must Apply First Step Act Time Credits Now
Interrogating Justice has teamed up with Attorney Ralph S. Behr and Federal Sentencing Alliance to call on Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the Bureau of Prisons to start awarding First Step Act time credits to the incarcerated Americans who have earned them.
When former President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act into law in 2018, Congress gave the BOP the authority to start assigning evidence-based recidivism reduction programs and productive activities to the people in its custody immediately. It also gave the BOP the authority to award time credits immediately. As a result, incarcerated people had the chance to earn time off their sentence right away.
The BOP has the authority to start awarding First Step Act time credits now. Yet it has chosen not to.
Since then, however, the BOP has refused to do so. It has taken the position that it won’t award a single First Step Act time credit until Jan. 15, 2022. This means that incarcerated people could earn enough First Step Act time credits to be released now (or earlier) but would remain stuck behind bars anyway while the BOP simply waits for the Jan. 15, 2022 deadline.
Making things worse, federal courts have largely rubber-stamped the BOP’s position. In doing so, these courts conclude that they lack jurisdiction until the First Step Act’s “phase-in” period is over. But the United States Supreme Court has long endorsed the view that incarcerated people have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in time credits. And federal courts have jurisdiction over lawsuits challenging the BOP’s implementation of federal law.
Join Interrogating Justice in calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the BOP to start now.
Put more simply, courts have jurisdiction to do more than rubber-stamp the BOP’s position on First Step Act time credits. That’s why Interrogating Justice, partnering with Attorney Ralph S. Behr and Federal Sentencing Alliance, is calling on the BOP to apply First Step Act time credits now. At a time when the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, Americans don’t have time to wait for the arbitrarily created Jan. 15, 2022 deadline.