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July 24, 2008

Another report from the USSC alternatives symposium

While awaiting official reports or materials from the US Sentencing Commission about its recent symposium on alternatives to incarceration, I am able to reprint a report on some particulars from the event that I received via e-mail:

At a Sentencing Commission symposium in Washington on Tuesday, BOP Director Harley Lappin stated there would be no wholesale move to increase halfway house time to more than six months despite the new statutory authority allowing them to do so.  His reasoning was that "studies" show that for most inmates more than six months in a halfway house is counterproductive. He also stated that it was cheaper to house inmates in minimum and low-security prisons than it is in halfway houses.... Nevertheless, Lappin said that inmates would be considered for halfway house placement of more than six months on a "case-by-case basis."

During the conference, it was estimated that only about 650 BOP inmates presently qualify for early release under the provisions of the Second Chance Act (i.e. inmates at least 65, never convicted of a crime of violence or a sex offense, and having served ten years or 75% of their sentence). This is 0.003% of the 201,000 federal inmates. The pilot program is to begin on October 1 and appears it will not be limited to just one institution.

At a the same symposium, Beth Weinman, BOP's RDAP Coordinator, said that the average sentence reduction for inmates successfully completing the TDAP program is now 7.64 months. She attributed this to the large numbers of inmates eligible for the program and the lack of money to expand the program. She estimates that 40% of the inmates in BOP custody have a diagnosable substance abuse problem and that there is an RDAP waiting list of 7,000 inmates.

Ms. Weinman also said that the BOP is working on a program statement to define exactly what documentation suffices to complement the Bureau's own diagnosis of an inmate's substance abuse problem. Typically, the presentence report or documentation from a treatment provider is acceptable proof, but what else might be varies from institution to institution.

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July 24, 2008 at 01:30 AM | Permalink

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Comments

650/201000 = 0.003, or 0.3%

Posted by: mathboy | Jul 24, 2008 3:47:25 PM

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