Barr Proclaims ‘Milestone’ Week for First Step Act

This week is a “milestone” for implementation of the First Step Act to improve programming for federal prisoners, says Attorney General William Barr. As of Wednesday, all inmates have been assessed under the Justice Department’s risk and needs assessment tool known as the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Need (PATTERN).

The tool is designed to measure risk of recidivism. All inmates are being assigned to “evidence-based recidivism reduction programs and productive activities” based on that assessment. Those activities may result in sentence reductions.

“The efficient and effective implementation of the First Step Act continues to be a priority for the Department of Justice and for the Trump Administration,” DOJ said. The department said its Bureau of Prisons is still making changes to the risk assessment tool and will review which inmates may have their risk score and level adjusted. The First Step Act provides for eligible inmates to earn time credits if they complete recidivism reduction program. DOJ noted that last summer, 3,100 prison inmates were released as a result of the law’s increase in “good conduct time.”

Under new procedures for “compassionate release,” 124 requests were approved last year, compared with 34 in 2018. In fiscal year In fiscal year 2019, some 14,800 offenders enrolled in Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)almost 21,000 offenders enrolled in non-residential drug treatment, and almost 23,000 offenders participated in drug education, DOJ said

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