DOJ Releases Annual First Step Act Report; Sentencing Commission Releases Updated Compassionate Release Report

The Federal Docket

May 13, 2022

Last month, the Department of Justice released its Annual First Step Act Report, wherein the DOJ describes its ongoing efforts to implement the First Step Act’s changes to the Bureau of Prisons’ operations, including how the agency is calculating and awarding earned time credits to inmates, determining an inmate’s recidivism rate, and increasing employment and training opportunities to inmates.

As reflected in the report, as of January 2022, there were 76, 399 inmates participating in programs that award earned time credits, 6,100 of those inmates were released, and of the 9,791 inmates released under the FSA, only 15% re-offended. This recidivism rate is significantly lower than the average rate of 43% among the BOP population.

The Sentencing Commission also released a report, updating its Compassionate Release Data Report. The report reflects trends in compassionate release grants, which have slowed down as the COVID-19 pandemic has entered another phase. Between October 2019 and September 2021, 3,867 offenders granted compassionate release, reflecting that compassionate release motions were granted only 17% of the time. The data also shows that inmates who had been serving longer had a higher success rate than inmates at the beginning of their sentence. The report also details which districts had the lowest and highest rates for granting and denying compassionate release motions, and the significant disparities between districts even within the same state.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

Scroll to Top