The Problem: According to the Justice Department,
It doesn’t make Americans safer to pay more for the incarceration of elderly prisoners who pose little public safety threat.
Solution: Create a permanent program to allow either the BOP or an elderly federal prisoner to request that prisoner’s transfer out of prison and onto home confinement, by submitting a written request to the U.S. Attorney General. Violations of release conditions or committing new crimes could mean that the home detention would be revoked and the person would be sent back to federal prison. The Second Chance Act of 2007, signed into law by President George W. Bush, included an elderly offender release program, but it was temporary and only lasted two years. Its criteria were also very narrow, so it benefited only about 80 prisoners, despite the growing numbers of elderly prisoners. Making such a release program broader and permanent would reduce prison costs and treat the elderly with greater dignity by permitting incarceration in their own homes, without endangering the public.
NOTE: THESE BILLS ARE NOT LAW. FAMM does not know if or when a bill listed below may become a law. Every year, thousands of bills are introduced in Congress, but very few become law. To become a law, a bill must first be approved by the Judiciary Committee, passed by the full U.S. House of Representatives, the full U.S. Senate, and signed by the President. Keep checking here for updates on these bills’ progress.
“The Painful Price of Aging in Prison” (Sari Horowitz, Washington Post, May 2, 2015)
Life Sentences in the Federal System (U.S. Sentencing Commission, 2015)