Prisoners Sent Home Due to COVID Face Possible Return

Some 4,000 federal offenders could soon return to prison — not because they violated the terms of their home confinement, but because the U.S. appears to be moving past the worst of the pandemic, reports the New York Times. At the end of the Trump administration, the Justice Department issued a memo saying inmates whose sentences lasted beyond the “pandemic emergency period” would have to go back to prison. Some lawmakers and criminal justice advocates are urging President Joe Biden to revoke the rule and use his executive power to keep them on home confinement or commute their sentences entirely, arguing that the practice costs less and exemplifies a better form of justice. Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, said in a statement that the president was “committed to reducing incarceration and helping people re-enter society,” but he referred questions about the future of those in home confinement to the Justice Department.

The United States spent an average of $37,500 to keep federal inmates imprisoned during the 2018 fiscal year. Home confinement costs around $13,000 a year, with expenses including monitoring equipment and paying private contractors to handle supervision, according to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report. The vast majority of the 24,000 federal prisoners who were released to home confinement because of the coronavirus crisis followed the rules. Inmates are typically allowed to serve the final six months, or 10 percent, of their sentence on home confinement. Larry Cosme, the national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents probation officials, cautioned against changing those requirements without a proper review and said the releases put a strain on those responsible for monitoring the inmates.

via The Crime Report

June 28, 2021 at 11:30AM