CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON SENDS AG BARR LETTER INQUIRING ABOUT "FIRST STEP" LAW'S APPLICATION TO D.C. FELONS

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[Mass Incarceration\"First Step Act"\D.C.]
In November, Norton met with Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer to ensure BOP would apply the reforms equally... Norton maintains that D.C. inmates now qualify for valuable new benefits, such as the Good Time Credit, early release by participating in recidivism reduction programs, and additional phone privileges and visitation.
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Congresswoman Norton sent a letter to AG Barr requesting clarity on "First Step Act" as it relates to D.C. inmates.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting answers on implementation of the First Step Act, saying it is vitally important that the Act’s benefits be applied to D.C. Code felons, as Congress intended, to ensure equality for these inmates.

The First Step Act (Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act) is a 2018 law that was passed with a stated aim at reforming federal prisons, including reducing recidivism.

In November, Norton met with Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer to ensure BOP would apply the reforms equally. Norton got language inserted in the First Step Act clarifying that the new law applies to all BOP Code felons, not just those convicted under federal law.

Norton maintains that D.C. inmates now qualify for valuable new benefits, such as the Good Time Credit, early release by participating in recidivism reduction programs, and additional phone privileges and visitation.

However, Hawk Sawyer said that Norton’s previous request for a list of BOP programs unavailable to D.C. Code felons is currently under Department of Justice review, which prompted Norton’s letter to Barr.

Here is the text of Congresswoman Norton's letter.

"Dear Attorney General Barr:

"As you may know, I have requested from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) a list of 'all federal laws, rules, regulations, programs and policies related to federal offenders in BOP custody that do not apply in the same manner to D.C. Code felons in BOP custody.' This is particularly important given the recent enactment of the First Step Act (Act), where I was able to include language making it explicit that the Act applies to all inmates in BOP custody, including D.C. Code felons. A similar request for this information was also submitted as a Question for the Record following the October 17, 2019, House Judiciary Committee hearing on the BOP.

"I understand that the Department of Justice is reviewing this matter. Given the importance of this issue to the residents of the District, I am writing to ask that you respond as soon as possible. It is vitally important that the Act be applied to D.C. Code felons, as Congress intended, and the list of which laws, regulations, programs and policies may not apply to D.C. Code felons is also important as we look at developing legislation to ensure equality for D.C. Code felons.

"I appreciate your attention to this matter, and request that you respond to this letter within 30 days."

 

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