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AFP Urges Biden Administration to Grant Clemency for Individuals Released to Home Confinement Under the CARES Act

Jul 15, 2021 by AFP

Arlington, Va.—Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is urging the Biden Administration to commute the sentences of individuals who were released from federal prison to home confinement under the CARES Act to maintain their status on home confinement instead of unnecessarily being sent back to prison.

Americans for Prosperity Criminal Justice Fellow Greg Glod issued the following statement:

“When Congress passed the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they included reforms that expanded existing authority to transfer certain people from federal prison to home confinement. The Trump administration rigorously evaluated thousands of individuals to determine if they could safely be transferred to home confinement during such uncertain times. If they violated their terms of release, they could be sent back to prison.

“Since then, thousands have been safely monitored in their homes with less than one percent of those violating their terms of release. Now, these same people are at risk to be sent back to federal prison soon due to a memo executed in the final days of the Trump administration, regardless of the potential risk to the community. Many have worked hard to turn their lives around and almost all of them have demonstrated they are not a threat to public safety under this alternative form of supervision.

“If specific individuals are deemed a clear risk to public safety or commit serious violations of their release, it is reasonable and necessary to bring them back to prison. However, for the vast majority of these releases, we urge the Biden Administration to commute their sentences to maintain their status on home confinement. It makes no sense to send people back to prison who have shown since their release that they can be safely monitored while on home confinement. An unneeded return to prison would be a crushing blow that would negatively impact individuals’ successful reentry into society and ultimately increase their risk of reoffending in the future.”

Background:

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act. In order to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID in federal prisons, the bill expanded existing authority to transfer certain people from federal prison to home confinement for longer than provided under current law. If someone violated their terms, they could be sent back to prison.
  • Based upon this expanded authority, thousands were transferred from federal prison into home confinement. According to available data, the overwhelming majority (over 99%) have not committed another crime or violated their terms of release.
  • On January 15, 2021 the Trump Administration released a memo declaring that all individuals transferred to home confinement under the provisions of the CARES Act must be sent back to federal prison.
  • The President has the authority to commute the sentences of these individuals to maintain their status on home confinement.