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Federal System News, Events and Legal Issues News & Events relating to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Courts, Department of Justice and any legal questions you may have dealing with the Federal system.

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  #1  
Old 02-11-2020, 09:04 AM
justice-watch justice-watch is offline
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Exclamation BOP puts a knife in the back of the First Step Act

The BOP has never been a fan of any programs that reduce the amount of time people have to spend in prison. After over 30 years of being on the wrong side of history, they are still quite comfortable with their Draconian worldview. The fact that the BOP spends more on the litigation associated with wrongful death and medical malpractice than they actually do medical care, says it all. But with the First Step Act they were finally ordered by Congress to put in place evidence based programs to reduce recidivism, and there for a brief moment, there was hope than this proud nation had seen the error of it’s ways, and was going to embark upon a new path towards the best interest of humanity. And then the BOP stepped in.


In reality, the BOP actually has a number of very good VT programs, located at a few facilities. Some have been operational for a long time. Drafting programs, Graphic Design programs, and a number of technology related VT programs do exist. And as we all know, technology is the future, and thus those types of programs offer the best chance an inmate may have of obtaining a job skill that can really make a difference: reducing their chances of recidivism, making the communities safer for all of us, and adding a citizen as a tax-payer, instead of just a $40K a year expense the rest of us have to pay for.


Although the BOP isn’t thrilled with reducing their future job security, but they can’t simply tell congress “No”. Instead, they are undermining VT and Education programs by undermining their resources with legacy policy. For example, one particular program runs on donated salvage computers. It’s been around for over 10 years, without a single security issue. Computers inmates have access to are on air-gapped networks with no possibility of an internet connection. They exist on closed network only. Inmates have used these same computers for over a decade to learn drafting, graphic design, PC repair, HVAC service simulations, and basic Microsoft Office usage. In 2020, we can’t really expect someone to walk out of prison without even the basic of computer skills and end up anywhere but back in prison or on the street. So these programs are extremely important to reduce recidivism, and completely inline with the intent of the first step act. Yet, the BOP is determined to kill them all.


There is some ancient BOP policy that has been unearthed and enforced to eliminate free-standing computers from the BOP. They want to push all inmates over to their iConnect system, a stripped down “thin-client” computer system, that doesn’t support any Adobe products or Microsoft Office. It’s basically only good for logging into the GED system the BOP has. The BOP has never been an organization to be held back by technical facts, so they are pushing forward with the forced migration to the iConnect system, even though it supports none of the software and systems that VT and Education programs have been using for years. Computers that have been bought and paid for long ago, computers that are working, and that are the foundation of dozens or programs offered across the US are being removed and destroyed, along with those BOP programs.


There are a few courageous VT and Education instructors fighting for these programs, but the BOP is winning. The contractors and instructors for these programs will be fired, the classes will be terminated, and the BOP has no plans to replace them. If you have an friend or family member in the BOP, know that the BOP is stealing opportunities from them that could truly make a difference. These programs have some of the best track records for reduced recidivism, but alas they are the exact programs the BOP is targeting for destruction. We’d be foolish to believe that’s a coincidence.
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2020, 03:56 PM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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I expected nothing less from the bop, after all it's the same folks who got away with saying (for over 35 years) that Congress really meant 47 days of good time even though the law they passed in 1980 said 54 days/year. That's one reason why the legislators were specific in the "first step act" and removed all bop's discretion by ordering them to award 54 days of good time under the new bill. Naturally it took the bop nearly a full year to figure out how to do it. LOL.
To understand how much extra time was served by every federal inmate in bop custody during the 35 years, multiply one week (54 versus 47 days/year) times the number of federal prisoners (currently 175,000), times 35. Talk about job security!

If the population of federal prisoners remained constant, it hasn't since mass incarceration now sends 5 times as many people to prison today as compared to the prison population in 1980, the additional time served computes as 42,875,000 days.

Here's a link to sentencingproject.org's 'Trends in US Corrections" study. By the way in 2016 there were 3,673,100 people on probation too.
https://sentencingproject.org/wp-con...orrections.pdf
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:41 PM
cal1927 cal1927 is offline
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None of this surprises me at all. Unless the DOJ goes in and CLEANS HOUSE of the BOP, and that can happen only at the insistence of Congress through PUBLIC HEARINGS where BOP officials are brought in and forced to testify UNDER OATH regarding why they continue to keep breaking the law, will anything substantive happen. IMHO, the entire BOP structure needs to be dissolved...COMPLETELY...and a new system DEVOID OF ALL FORMER BOP STAFF is put in place.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:25 PM
Girl22472 Girl22472 is offline
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I'm with everyone else, nothing surprises me. My husband is always telling me stories of how this or that "class" is offered, even if it's just to pass the time, not necessarily to get time off, and people don't show, classes are cancelled...etc. He was hoping there would be more options coming this year to shave time off but that doesn't seem to happen. The only two things they have now he does not qualify for.

I'm not sure what the BOP is scared about, all they have to do is wait until one of their one million stings take place and they'll get thousands more in their system... erg!
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:12 PM
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One problem I observed that limits the bop's ability to provide meaningful programs is evident in the congress ordered "Mandatory" GED programming law. Everyone with less than a high school diploma either enrolls in the classes, or is punished. Many GED classes looked more like kindergarten nap times than actual classes, especially the ones with no instructors, just progressive teaching materials. The inmates were required to attend, period.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:15 PM
justice-watch justice-watch is offline
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Unhappy The BOP

The underlying problem is simply no accountability. It's been said that in the BOP every clown has his own circus; each little department a kingdom unto itself, with no shared goals or motivations. This makes it impossible for the government to manage second level effects. For example, there is ancient policy that says explosive gases can't be stored inside the fence. Seems like a good policy, but...now that means we have to kill all the welding programs, a trade that has always been a mainstay for felony-friendly employers. They just do not think beyond their immediate area of responsibility, and no one wants to risk being out of compliance with the massive tomes of policy, and risk their job...even though the programs make communities safer, and not to mention it's the humane thing to do.



They say you can judge the progress of a nation by the way they treat their poor and their imprisoned. And so here we are in a police state, buried in labyrinthine layers of bureaucratic ineptitude thinly veiled in the phrase "for the security and good order of the institution". When in reality, no one in the US Government wants to take any responsibility or put any skin in the game for inmates. They just can't see the fact that these inmates are their brothers, sisters, father, and neighbors.



At least until it happens to them, or their family, and even those the statistics are broadening, there's still just too much apathy from the general public, and no one in Washington that follows through with their grand ideas.
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