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Home Confinement for the Elderly After Serving 2/3s

elderly-prisonAs I wrote about here, through the FIRST STEP Act Congress revitalized and expanded the Bureau of Prisons’ pilot program for transferring “elderly” inmates to home confinement earlier than their younger cohorts. In response to the Act, the BOP issued an operations memorandum setting out eligibility criteria (as well as for home confinement transfers for the “terminally ill”). In short, a prisoner must be at least 60 years old; have served two-thirds of the term of imprisonment; have no history of escapes; and not have been convicted of a crime of violence, a sex offense, or one of a laundry list of similar, excludable offenses.

Yesterday, after presenting to the PACDL White Collar Seminar on the FIRST STEP Act, an attorney approached me regarding an institution’s inertia in processing an elderly prisoner to home confinement; despite repeated inquires and advocacy, there had been no movement in confirming transfer on the fast-approaching eligibility date. Likewise, in speaking with Joel Sickler (with whom I worked 20+ years ago), he relayed a recent situation where an institution took the position than an elderly inmate sentenced to six months’ imprisonment could not be considered for transfer to home confinement after four months (2/3s) because of the length of sentence. In both instances, calls to the local BOP Consolidated Legal Center (CLC) resulted in a prompt resolution, that is, an announcement that the individuals were to be transferred to home confinement consistent with their respective eligibility dates.

The purpose of this post then is to suggest attorneys facing institutional pushback and/or inattention contact the appropriate CLC or, if necessary, Regional Counsel to ensure that otherwise eligible clients are timely transferred to home confinement. CLC contact information can be found in Appendix B to the BOP’s Legal Resource Guide.