Petition – The Bureau of Prisons Must Apply Time Credit Earned Through the First Step Act

Attorney Ralph Behr and the Federal Sentencing Alliance have partnered with Interrogating Justice to demand Attorney General Merrick Garland order the Bureau of Prisons start awarding First Step Act time credits to incarcerated Americans who are entitled to them.

President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act in 2018, and shortly after, Congress authorized the BOP to begin implementing recidivism reduction programs and activities to incarcerated Americans. The Act further authorized the BOP to award time credits immediately. This meant that incarcerated citizens had the opportunity to begin earning time off their sentence for participating in various transitional justice programs.

Despite the BOP’s authority to award First Step Act time credits, it has chosen not to.

Since the Act’s implementation in 2018, the BOP has refused to act. The BOP has asserted they will not award any First Step Act time credits until January 15, 2022. For those incarcerated, this means they are able to earn enough time credits to be released but are stuck in prison until the BOP’s arbitrarily set Jan. 15, 2022 deadline. The BOP’s actions are capricious and unpredictable and represent a failure of the American incarceration system.

To make matters worse, federal courts have been largely complacent in allowing the BOP to take this position. Courts have held they lack jurisdiction until the First Step Act’s “phase-in” period has ended. But the United States Supreme Court has long held that incarcerated Americans have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in time credits. This means federal courts could exercise jurisdiction over lawsuits challenging the BOP’s implementation of the First Step Act.

Support Attorney Ralph Behr, the Federal Sentencing Alliance, and Interrogating Justice

Attorney Ralph Behr, the Federal Sentencing Alliance, and Interrogating Justice call upon Attorney General Merrick Garland to order the BOP to begin honoring First Step Act good time credits immediately. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and American citizens can’t afford to wait until the BOP’s January 15, 2022 deadline.

Sign the petition to support Interrogating Justice, the Federal Sentencing Alliance, and Attorney Ralph Behr in their stand.

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