To read the full text of the Senate bill, click here.
Status: S. 1513 did not become a law in the 114th Congress.
Summary: The bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act (S. 1513), introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would allow some nonviolent prisoners to be transferred out of a federal prison and onto home confinement for the rest of their sentences. The aging offender release program is the only part of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act that would, if passed, let some people out of federal prison early. The rest of the bill is related to federal funding: it would allow Congress to provide funding to state, local, and Tribal governments for rehabilitation and reentry programs that help people get jobs, education, drug and mental health treatment, and other resources to help them stay crime-free. FAMM supports the Second Chance Reauthorization Act. Read FAMM’s press release on the bill here.
Details of Aging Offender Release Program: If passed into law, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act would allow either the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) or a federal prisoner to request a transfer to home confinement, by submitting a written request to the U.S. Attorney General. The program would only apply to people convicted in federal courts, not state courts. Under the bill, federal prisoners who would be eligible for release would be required to meet all of the following criteria:
If released, the person would serve the remainder of his or her sentence on home detention. 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.
History: The Second Chance Reauthorization Act is a big improvement on the original Second Chance Act, which Congress passed in 2007 and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The original Second Chance Act had an elderly offender release program, but it was temporary and only lasted two years. Its criteria were also very strict: prisoners hoping for early release had to be 65 years old or older, and have served either 10 years or 75 percent of their sentences, whichever was longer. As a result, only approximately 80 elderly prisoners were sent to home confinement under the original Second Chance Act. The new Second Chance Reauthorization Act would make more elderly prisoners eligible for transfer, and its release program would be permanent, not temporary.
Key Talking Points:
“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)