This article by Right on Crime signatory and vice president for advocacy and public policy for the Prison Fellowship, Craig Deroche, originally appeared in the The New York Times April 19th 2018
Re “Kushner Spars With Sessions, in Whiplash on Prisons Policy” (front page, March 31):
Prison Fellowship has long championed federal sentencing reform, but the push for federal prison reform is also a matter of justice, not to mention human dignity.
A “front-end sentencing reform or bust” mentality fails to acknowledge that the federal system offers drastically less opportunity for prisoners to transition to community corrections before the end of their sentence compared with almost all states.
Of more than 35 jurisdictions with codified “earned time” and “good time” policies, we found that the federal system ranked second lowest in the country in terms of the maximum amount of time possible to earn off one’s prison sentence. This is for multiple reasons, including having only one federal prison program that qualifies for credit.
The Prison Reform and Redemption Act would expand earned-time credit opportunities to include any program proved to reduce recidivism. By allowing lower-risk individuals to serve the final terms of their sentences under community corrections supervision or in-home confinement, we can allow incarcerated men and women to reunite with their families sooner and create a smoother and safer re-entry transition.