Change the law for Immigrants in the Federal System

Change the law for Immigrants in the Federal System

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A fifth of all federal prisoners incarerated in the Unites States were born in another country than the United States of America. Many of them had legal status in the United States, as legal permanent residents or temporary protected status holders. Those people have to face a lot of arbitrary discrimination in the Federal System due to their citizenship only.

This inhumane treatment and discrimination is in no way comprehensible or legal justified: 

1. Discrimination with regard to detention and subsequently educational programs 

2. Immigrants are prevented from enjoying the same benefits as federal inmates, who are similarily situated but not facing deportation. Immigrants are denied to benefit from Home Confinement and/or Halfway-Houses, which would reduce the time of incarceration 

3. Immigrants are further denied the ability to redeem "earned time credit" for early transfer into a halfway house, home confinement, or supervised release

Ad 1+2:

Immigrants are usually incarcerated in privately run (BOP)prisons for "aliens" (= non-U.S. citizen, who will be deported after serving their sentence), in which they are segregated from the general prison population. Due to the fact, that most of the inmates will be deported after finishing their sentence, those prisons are even more poorly equipped than "normal" federal prisons. 

For example, immigrants are not eligible for the substance abuse treatment like the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). Further consequence is that they can't benefit from early release provisions laid out in the RDAP. Even though Federal Prisons offer "Nonresidential Drug Abuse Treatments", these are in no way comparable with the RDAP and don't have the same benefits as a consequence.

The Nonresidential Drug Abuse Treatment is a 12-week Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy treatment in group settings compared to a 40-week intensive treatment program (RDAP), in which inmates experience living in a pro-social community (Inmates live in a unit separate from general population; they participate in half-day programming and half-day work, school, or vocational activities).
Research findings demonstrated that RDAP participants are significantly less likely to recidivate and less likely to relapse to drug use than non-participants. The studies also suggest that the RDAPs make a significant difference in the lives of inmates following their release from custody and return to the community. Immigrants would never be able to work beyond the perimeter of the institution or serve a part of the sentence in a halfway house, they would also never benefit from early release possibilities. By contrast, American citizens who meet the necessary criteria and completed the program successfully can receive a sentence reduction up to 12 months, limited financial rewards, and additional privileges within the institution.

Non US-Citizens are not only discriminated when it comes to the Drug Abuse Treatments but also when it comes to different education and other resocializations programs.

The BOP shuts out immigrants from its reentry-focused Release Preparation Programs (“For the purposes of this Program Statement, the term “detainee” refers to a non-U.S. citizen (alien) who has finished serving a local, state, or federal sentence and is held past his/her release date for immigration purposes. Returnable detainees are not required to participate in unit or institution release preparation programs”) and also from its faith-based Life Connections Program (See BOP)

The BOP strictly limits the access of non US-citizens to its other rehabilitative services. For example, some prisons offer occupational education program intended to teach inmates marketable skills, but regulations specify that inmates “under order of deportation” may only participate if resources permit after “meeting the needs of other eligible inmates” (28 CFR § 544.51)

Specific programs in different US-prisons are reserved for American citizens only, which is once again an inexplicable discrimination of non-US-citizens.

BOP and private contracting officials reported that there are numerous differences among BOP and private facilities for immigrants, including inmate population and program requirements. According to BOP officials, private contractor facilities have fewer contractual requirements for programming, such as vocational training and release preparation courses, than BOP facilities, in part, because of the different types of inmates confined in the facilities. In general, BOP facilities confine US citizens and programs are designed to teach inmates skills that they can use when they are released, such as job training skills, so as to help avoid their return to prison (Report to the Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, and Science, Senate and House Appropriations Committees )

But the purpose of detention is not only to separate the inmates from the general population and to “punish them” but also to help avoid their return to prisonin any country.

Ad 3:

The "Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act" or First Step Act “reforms” the federal prison system of the United States of America, and seeks to reduce recidivism. But it’s a matter of fact that “The First Step Act” penalizes immigrant communities, further widening disparities for non-US citizen residents in the justice system. The legislation excludes non-citizens from benefiting from a range of provisions, including ones that would help people in prison earn early release.

Earned time credits” are a new feature created by the Act. Some individuals can earn time credits by completing rehabilitative programming and engaging in “productive activities”. Depending on a person’s risk level, they could earn up to 15 days of credit for every 30 days of programming or productive activities. These time credits can be redeemed by some people for early transfer into a halfway house, home confinement, or supervised release. Non-citizens with immigration detainers cannot redeem earned time credits.

The exclusion of non US-citizens in the bill sets a problematic precedent that immigrants do not deserve more humane treatment within the criminal legal system. Once again this discrimination is in no way comprehensible.

Due to the reason mentioned above  we call for a change of law for Immigrants incarcerated in the Federal System to stop the arbitrary discrimination of non-US-citizen. 

If you are against unjustified discrimination and believe in equal rights for ALL people, please sign and share the petition. 

THANK YOU