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January 26, 2011

Federal fiscal discipline at DOJ might mean increases in good-time credits

A helpful reader pointed me to this notable new Wall Street Journal article headlined "Budget Cutting Starts at Justice Department." Here are excerpts that ought to intrigue sentencing law and policy fans:

As President Barack Obama finalizes his proposals to increase federal funding for his priority programs, the White House is searching for ways to reduce spending elsewhere in the federal government.

At the Justice Department, officials are considering whether to shorten some federal prison terms and have already shut down a program that successfully encouraged fugitive criminals to turn themselves in.  The department — which saw years of rapid growth after the 2001 terrorist attacks — is just one of the federal agencies facing significant belt-tightening at a time of rising worries about the federal budget deficit.

The president, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, said he planned to seek more federal money for education, transportation and energy.  At the same time, he called for a five-year freeze on non-security, discretionary government spending.  To accomplish both goals, some other programs will have to go.

So the White House Office of Management and Budget, in discussions with departments and agencies, has proposed numerous cuts that could be included in the president's final budget proposal, to be sent to Congress in February.  At Justice, according to internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, OMB's proposals include:

—Increasing the amount of time deducted from prison terms for good behavior, which would immediately qualify some 4,000 federal convicts for release, and another 4,000 over the next 10 years.

January 26, 2011 at 09:31 PM | Permalink


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Currently after 12 months, inmates are awarded 54 days of good time days credit, it would seem like logical, that they could easily double the credits and still have a very long time to serve..

It certainly would be a step in the right direction to save dollars and a portion of many lives..

Posted by: Josh | Jan 27, 2011 10:22:27 AM

Currently it says that federal inmates are awarded 54 days of good time credit. However it is not that much per year even if they have “exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations.” In reality, based on the way the BOP calculates good time, prisoners only earn a maximum of 47 days of good time for each year of the sentence imposed. If you are are curious on how they figure the good time credit. Check out the link below:

Posted by: Kymberly | Jan 28, 2011 4:54:20 PM

President Obama has really hit the "nail on the head" when he said that drugs is a heath problem. We cannot legislate morals therefore we are burdened with the drug addicts in prison rather in some program. We should prosecute the criminal actions and work with the drugs in a more effective way. I think H.R. 223 should be passed and I do not understand why more Rep. are not behind Sheila Jackson-Lee. We would certainly save a lot of money.

Posted by: Grace Scates | Jan 31, 2011 3:15:04 PM

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