Freebird Publishers

The First Step Act Could Save American Taxpayers Billions of Dollars

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Says It Costs Too Much to Slow Overspending


North Dighton, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/18/2020 --Although the courts across the country continue to uphold portions of The First Step Act (FSA), including compassionate release, The Department of Justice continues to slow the implementation of the Earned Time Credits provision established by the new law. It's clear that placing the responsibility in the hands of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was a mistake that has resulted in a financial conflict of interest.

As congress intended The FSA awards eligible, non-violent, inmates with earned time credits. These credits can be used to provide the inmate more halfway house time or home confinement, ultimately increasing the transitional period between the confines of prison and the demands of being a productive member of a community. Earned time credits do not reduce a prisoner's sentence, but instead allows eligible prisoners to serve their sentences outside prison walls. Thus, transferring the cost of confinement from the taxpayers, to the individual inmates who are, upon release, eligible to join the American working class.

Unfortunately, the early release of eligible inmates translates into a loss of gross revenue for the BOP. In a recent notice issued by the Department Of Justice ( published in the Federal Register/ vol. 84, no. 223/ Tuesday, November 19, 2019) the BOP said: "Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 505, allows for assessment of a fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates. We calculate the Cost Of Incarceration Fee (COIF) by dividing the number representing the Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) facilities monetary obligation (excluding activation costs) by the number of inmate-days incurred for the fiscal year, and then by multiplying the quotient by the number of days in the fiscal year. Based on FY 2018 data, FY 2018 COIF was $37,499.00 ($102.60 per day) for Federal inmates in Bureau facilities..." For Further Information Contact: Sarah Qureshi, (202) 353-8248.

A recent population report, published by Texas attorney Jeremy Gordon, shows that the BOP currently holds 174,963 inmates, over 60% of which are non-violent offenders, 40% (or an estimated 69,985 inmates) of which are FSA eligible. Multiplying the number of eligible inmates by the Bureau's own COIF, of $102.60 per day, shows a daily gross revenue of an estimated $7,180,461.00 paid to the bureau for delaying the benefits of the First Step Act to inmates who are otherwise qualified to be released.

"The BOP has a long history of acting in ways that result in lengthier and less productive terms of incarceration despite the obvious will of congress," David E. Patton, executive director of the nonprofit Federal Defenders of New York, recently quoted in the Washington Post. "For decades it has not provided enough vocational, educational, mental health, and substance abuse programming despite abundant need and lengthy wait lists." Patton pointed to DOJ wait lists that indicate that tens of thousands of inmates go without prison work assignments, vocational and educational training and drug treatment.

The Washington Post reported, in early January 2020, that near half of BOP inmates complete no programs, more than half go without needed drug treatment, more than 80% have not taken technical or vocational courses, and over 90% have no prison industry employment.

In the past year, since the enactment of The First Step Act, the BOP has offered no new qualifying programs to its inmate population. And the BOP has refused to consider or offer new programs and productive activities provided by outside sources. One such productive activity, refused by the BOP, was a prisoner's writing program that was developed by author Kelly Patrick Riggs. Since then Mr. Riggs has published the program in a short book titled, "How to Write Your Own Check". His program was accepted and is soon to be provided in select state prisons through FAIR SHAKE (

Mr. Riggs is among the many men and women that have become successful authors with the help and guidance of Freebird Publishers. Those who have transformed themselves while incarcerated, did so after realizing that a change and access to productive activities were necessary.With the help of Freebird Publishers and the example of authors like Kelly Patrick Riggs, and others, prisoners can change their lives forever regardless of what the Bureau does or does not do with the First Step Act.

To learn more about what you can do to change a prisoner's life visit