Post Date: September 14, 2015
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is currently accepting public comment on a “proposed rule” that would make some changes to the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP). If the BOP adopts these changes would make more prisoners eligible for the one-year sentence reduction for successful program participants.
Prisoners should be able to view a copy of the rule change in the law library.
If you want to tell the BOP what you think about the proposed rule, you can do so by writing a letter. You can provide public comment online. If you provide public comment online, use the rule’s docket number which is BOP-2015-0005.
If you would rather write a letter it should be sent to:
Office of General Counsel
Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20534
The due date for comments is September 21, 2015. Your comment will become part of the public record.
FAMM generally supports the changes proposed to the RDAP program but we do not think they go far enough. Below we summarize what the rule change would do and explain a little about what more we would like to see the BOP do. Here is a link to the current regulation.
Something to remember: Even though the BOP is seeking comments on a proposed rule change, it may not change the rule or publish a new, final rule. We will keep you posted on any developments.
Summary of the proposed rule change
The BOP proposes to:
FAMM intends to support these changes as they will expand eligibility for early release for successful completion of RDAP to more prisoners. We will point out in our comment that the BOP could do even more by expanding further the early release provisions .
For example, we would urge the BOP to permit prisoners with detainers to take advantage of early release. Right now, prisoners with state or immigration detainers may not benefit from the one-year reduction because part of the RDAP is completed in community confinement and prisoners with detainers may not be incarcerated in halfway houses. We will point out that nothing in the federal law authorizing early release requires a period in community confinement and that, according to the American Psychiatric Association, the RDAP program can be successfully completed without a community portion. This would then enable prisoners with detainers to participate in the program and enable many more prisoners to benefit.
We will also urge the BOP to allow prisoners to take advantage of early release who have 18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c) convictions based on weapon possession (rather than use) during a drug trafficking crime as well as those prisoners whose drug guideline sentences include enhancements for simple possession (rather than use) of a firearm. The federal law authorizing early release limits the release to prisoners convicted of “non-violent” offenses. We will argue that simple possession does not qualify as a violent offense and such prisoners should be entitled to be considered for early release after completing the program.