LERA: Bill for Increased Federal Good Time To Be Introduced

We had given up hope. But today, the Federal Prison Policy Project informs us that Rep. Bobby Scott (D-) will introduce LERA, the Literacy, Education, and Rehabilitation Act of 2003. The bill will allow up to 180 days a year good time, a big increase from the paltry 54 days a year now allowed.

To amend title 18, United States Code §3624 to require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to calculate good time earnings per the amended schedule to demonstrate to taxpayers that money spent by the federal government on incarceration is rehabilitating the federal prisoners in its custody by providing remedial and vocational opportunities and other rehabilitative opportunities to better prepare prisoners for a successful return to society and for other purposes.

The stated purpose of the bill is:


The purpose of the proposed bill is to promote public safety by offering constructive incentives for exemplary institutional adjustment while at the same time increasing educational standards and decreasing the overall cost of corrections.

Budget Considerations:

The awarding of good conduct allowances as proposed in the bill would decrease the amount of time served in prison by manyprisoners. This would result in savings to the United States. With prisoners serving less time, the Bureau of Prisons would have more bed space that it could use to house federal prisoners who are now being held in state facilities and local jails. However,
there is not sufficient information available to project the extent to which prison populations would be decreased by the bill and, therefore, the fiscal impact cannot be determined.

(b) Credit Toward Service of Sentence for Satisfactory Behavior. - (1) Subject to paragraph (2), a prisoner who is serving a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year, other than a term of imprisonment for the duration of the prisoner's life, may receive credit toward the service of the prisoner's sentence, beyond the time served, of up to 54 [insert] 180 days at the end of each year of the prisoner's term of imprisonment, beginning at the end of the first year of the term, subject to determination by the Bureau of Prisons that, during that year, the prisoner has displayed exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations. Subject to paragraph (2), if the Bureau determines that, during that year, the prisoner has not satisfactorily complied with such institutional regulations; the prisoner shall receive no such credit toward service of the prisoner's sentence or shall receive such lesser credit as the Bureau determines to be appropriate. In awarding credit under this section, the Bureau shall consider whether the prisoner, during the relevant period, has earned, or is making satisfactory progress toward earning, a high school diploma or an equivalent degree [insert] or a certification through an accredited vocational training program, college, or university. Credit shall also be given based on equivalent interventional rehabilitation programs completion including but not limited to mental health treatment and any other interventional rehabilitation programs deemed appropriate for this credit by the Director. Credit that has not been earned may not later be granted. Subject to paragraph (2), credit for the last year or portion of a year of the term of imprisonment shall be prorated and credited within the last six weeks of the sentence. (2) Notwithstanding any other law, credit awarded under this subsection after the date of enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act shall vest on the date the prisoner is released from custody. (3) The Attorney General shall ensure that the Bureau of Prisons has in effect an optional General
Educational Development program for inmates who have not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. (4) Exemptions to the General Educational Development requirement may be made as deemed appropriate by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

There's more, check the link above for the full text. If you are willing to work with FPPR to make LERA a reality for the 173,000 federal prisoners and their families, send them an email at director@fppr.us. Please show your support for Federal Prison Policy Project’s LERA initiative.

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