Friday, December 3, 2021




Second Chance Act Releases

The Second Chance Act, SCA, is a BOP program signed into law in August 2008, allowing the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to reduce the time of incarceration of Federal inmates. The law states it ensures that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of the final months of their prison sentence (not to exceed 12 months) in a community custody setting such as Halfway House or on Home Confinement/Detention and that it will afford the prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust and prepare for the reentry of that prisoner to the community, (home detention). The bill requires the BOP that, to the extent practicable, an inmate is considered for halfway house placement for up to 12 months, not just up to a maximum of six months or 10% of his time served, whichever is less.

The Pre-Release Process under the SCA

Section 18 USC 3621 of the Second Chance Act Early Release clarifies the different factors the BOP must use when making decisions on inmate designations, during the pre-release process.

Some of the factors the BOP should consider is any statement the inmate’s sentencing court made concerning facility recommendation/designation and their sentence, as well as the circumstances related to the inmate’s offense, and the characteristics and history of the inmate’s incarceration.

Additionally, BOP staff should take into account the BOP Operations Memorandum and Program Statement regarding inmate SCA qualifications. It should also include the accessible halfway house space, the quality of the community and the family and their conduct during their terms in confinement. All in all, these factors are designed to minimize any risk related to recidivism.