Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives and 2 others

Sponsor: The Barber Amendment ~ Federal Good Time Bill

45,011
Supporters

Dear FedCURE Members, Supporters and Friends:

Many thanks to the tens of thousands of American's who are supporting The BARBER AMENDMENT.  

Please continue to have your friends sign the petition and contact your Congresspersons urging them to sponsor The BARBER AMENDMENTin 113th Congress.   GO:  http://www.fedcure.org/documents/HR1475.shtml

BARBER AMENDMENT:  A bill to amend Title 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1) as follows:  by striking the number "54" in the first sentence as it appears and inserting in lieu thereof the number "128"; and in the same sentence, by striking "prisoner's term of imprisonment"  and inserting in lieu thereof  "sentence imposed."   This Amendment is retroactive. [END].

SECOND LOOK: Introducing The Sentencing Reform Act ~ A Bill to establish a hybrid system of parole, increased good time allowances and reentry opportunities; repeal mandatory sentencing; and establish a 1 to 1 sentencing ratio for crack and powder cocaine for federal offenders.

Note:   The BARBER AMENDMENT  and The Sentencing Reform Act have not been introduced.  FedCURE is seeking bipartisan support for the bills in the 113th Congress.  

FedCURE NEWS Special Video Presentation: http://www.fedcure.org/SecondLook.shtml

You can help make that happen! Action Alert:  Do your part.  Contact your Congressperson(s) and urge them to support this bill. Contact Congress:  http://www.fedcure.org/documents/HR1475.shtml

Another thing you can do to help this cause is call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You can call this number every day to voice your support for The BARBER AMENDMENT.

Here is a message you can give them:   

It was 42 years ago that our miss-guided political system attacked America and declared, what is now undoubtedly deemed, the failed "War on Drugs." The attack has gone on for 42 years, cost over $2.5 trillion dollars, tallied up 45 million arrests and insurmountable collateral damages to society. America is not now and never will be drug free. It is time to declare a truce.

While our President and our politicians talk about how to end the "War on Drugs," most of the 7.8 million American's languishing in prisons or on some type of government supervision are non-violent drug offenders. The lost lives and collateral damages are no longer acceptable for political gain rather then for public good.

'Congressional Research Service' 2013 Report

Recommends:

Increasing Good Time Credits and Reinstating Parole for Federal Offenders.

FedCURE Special Report: Alleluia! After more then twenty-five years of campaigning for federal criminal justice reforms, to reduce the federal prison population, comes an historic, ground-breaking 2013 report, from of all places the Congressional Research Service (CRS) * titled, "The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options." The report documents the United States' "historically unprecedented increase in the federal prison population." It supports the long held view by many, including FedCURE, its members, partners, fellow advocate organizations, former and current members of Congress, high level government officials, the nations most respected, independent nonpartisan think tanks, prominent scholars, criminal justice professionals and an overwhelming majority of the public, that Congress cannot build its way out of the mass incarceration dilemma it now faces, because of a failed criminal justice policy; and recommends Congress "changing or reversing some of the policies that have been put into place over the years which contributed to the increasing number of federal prison inmates," inter alia, increasing good time and reinstating parole. The BARBER AMENDMENT, a simple two sentence undisruptive statutory amendment, genuinely accomplishes these ends, with out disrupting release or reentry processes and public safety, by restoring--rolling back--federal good time allowances to pre-1987 levels. Virtually, BARBER is a $1.2 billion dollar annual austerity sentencing bill.

 

While elaborating on "several options Congress could consider if policymakers wanted to expand early release options for federal inmates, including (1) reinstating parole, (2) expanding good time credits, and (3) expanding the conditions under which courts could reduce sentences pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(1)(A)," it is abundantly clear that the report concludes, inter alia, that the way out of the dilemma--to reduce the growth of the federal prison population--is for Congress to employ "Early Release Measures." These measures include "(1) modifying mandatory minimum penalties, (2) expanding the use of Residential Reentry Centers, (3) placing more offenders on probation, (4) reinstating parole for federal inmates, (5) expanding the amount of good time credit an inmate can earn, and (6) repealing federal criminal statutes for some offenses." BRAVO!

Moreover, according to the report and righteously so, "Congress might also consider changing or reversing some of the policies that have been put into place over the years which contributed to the increasing number of federal prison inmates. Some of these options include placing some inmates in alternatives to incarceration, such as probation, or expanding early release options by allowing inmates to earn more good time credit or allowing inmates to be placed on parole once again. Congress could consider reducing the amount of time inmates are incarcerated in federal prisons by limiting the number of crimes subject to mandatory minimum penalties or reducing the length of the mandatory minimum sentence. Finally, policymakers could consider allowing states to investigate and prosecute offenses that have become subject to federal jurisdiction over the past three decades" Id., at p. 57.  

Full Report, 60 pg. PDF (indexed to highlighted sections) available at: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/CRS_FederalPrisonPopulationBuildup_R42937-220113fc.pdf

* Note: Special thanks to Nathan James, Analyst in Crime Policy, CRS, njames@crs.loc.gov, for this report. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is an arm of the Library of Congress devoted to providing for Congress research and analysis on legislative issues. In addition to meeting with Congressional members and staffers, CRS releases reports and issue briefs for members of Congress. These reports and issue briefs are made available to Congress through a web site that is not available to the general public. The CRS strongly believes that its sole purpose is to directly serve Congress and not the public. https://opencrs.com/faq/

Sadly, the President's Budget or FY2014, once again submits an unrealistic proposal to address crowding with a miniscule budget offset of "$41 million for a proposed legislative initiative, which, if passed, would allow additional Good Conduct Time credit for inmates." This is the same proposal to increase Good Conduct Time credit by a mere seven (7) days a year, that Congress turned down in the President's Budget's for FY2012 and FY2013, as "unrealistic," meaning that a seven day increase as a $41 million dollar offset, does little to safely reduce the growth of the federal prison population. Congress cannot build its way out of the mass incarceration dilemma it now faces, because of a failed criminal justice policy; and recommends Congress "changing or reversing some of the policies that have been put into place over the years which contributed to the increasing number of federal prison inmates," inter alia, increasing good time and reinstating parole. The BARBER AMENDMENT, a simple two sentence statutory amendment, genuinely accomplishes these ends, with out disrupting release or reentry processes and public safety, by restoring--rolling back--federal good time allowances to pre-1987 levels. Virtually, BARBER is a "Relief Valve" and $1.2 billion dollar annual austerity sentencing bill.

The President and Members of Congress must work across the isle, side-by-side, on bipartisan legislation to end the "War On Drugs." They must rely on the data mining findings of criminal justice records from the last three decades, conducted by the nation's top criminal justice professionals, reform advocates, NGO's, government and policy makers, that have established the very best evidence based practices the country has ever known; clearly defining what works and what does not work in criminal justice. They must act on the CRS report, supra. FedCURE is calling on the President and Members of Congress to enact the BARBER AMENDMENT ~ a proposed bill to increase federal good time allowances ~ to safely reduce the federal prison population by at least 10%, at a cost saving's of $1.2 billion dollars annually.

The "War on Drugs" was launched in 1970, by the 91st Congress, with Public Law 91-513, on which President Nixon successfully branded drug addicts as criminals. However, to his credit and not to be overlooked, a whopping two-thirds of Nixon's $100 million dollar crime budget went for treatment & rehabilitation. The budget for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, alone, is $6.7 billion dollars for FY 2013.

America is the World's Mass Incarcerator because of the "War on Drugs." No doubt about it. "The Growing Inmate Crowding [in the Federal Bureau of Prisons] Negatively Affects Inmates, Staff, and Infrastructure." The crowding is so severe and so dangerous that the GAO has sounded the alarms. In its recently released detailed report and recommendations on the state of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (GAO-12-743), inter alia, GAO says the matter is only to get worse and something has to be done; and now!. A copy of the report and its recommendations can be found here: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/GAO-12-743-BOP-Crowding.pdf.

A GAO/FedCURE live video chat on GAO-12-743 can be found here: See the video [19:04-19:52] here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/25878123.

Institution Crowding:

Testimony of Director, Charles E. Samuels, Jr., to House Appropriations, 17 April 2013: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hhrg-113-ap19-wstate-samuelsc-20130417.pdf.

New Film: 'Breaking The Taboo ~ What will it take to end the war on drugs?' Featuring prominent statesmen including Presidents Clinton and Carter. Narrated by Morgan Freeman (English version) & Gael Garcia Bernal (Spanish version). 58 minutes: http://www.youtube.com/user/breakingthetaboofilm

PBS: Should Drugs Be Legalized? YES. 86% for vs. 14% against. PBS Program: Intelligence Squared Debates:

Results:  http://www.fedcure.org/documents/LegalizeDrugs_IntelligenceSquaredDebatesPBS-070214.pdf.

TRANSCRIPT: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/LegalizeDrugs_IntelligenceSquaredDebatesPBS-TRANS-070214.pdf

New PEW Report: A majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not. http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/

We can and must do better. Vote for the BARBER AMENDMENT. | http://www.fedcure.org/documents/HR1475.shtml 

                                                  

                                                               ||| FedCURE Report |||

                           ~ State of Reduction In Sentence Initiatives For Federal Offenders ~ 

                Increased Good Conduct Time | Special Programming Credits | Elderly Release

                                                     Compassionate Release Program   

                                                           Report Issued: 14 May 2012

The current landscape of the state of reduction in sentence initiatives for federal offenders is set out in the report in five (5) pending legislative devices and or proposals seeking to reduce federal prison sentences, inter alia, to increase amount of good conduct time credits for federal inmates above the current credit of 47 days per year, awarded after serving each year of a term of imprisonment; credits for special programming; early release for elderly inmates; and reduction in sentence for extraordinary reasons.

Report: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/FedCURE-Report-TheState-of-ReductionInSentenceInitiativesForFederalOffenders.shtml 

If you have any particular item or issue on the FY 2013 Budget that you wish us to address, please let us know:   http://www.fedcure.org/contact.shtml

                                                                      Pass It On!  . . .  Pass It On!

Best Regards, 

Mark Mark A. Varca, J.D., Chairman,

FedCURE  

P. O. Box 15667  |  Plantation, Florida 33318-5667 |  USA

Website:  http://www.FedCURE.org  

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/fedcure

twitter:  http://twitter.com/FedCURE

YouTube:  http://youtube.com/FedCURE

For more discussions on The Barber Amendment goto:

CHANGE: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/increase_federal_good_time_allowances and POPVOX at: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/fedcure 

   
FedCURE NEWS Special Video Presentation SECOND*LOOK  |  The Sentencing Reform Act  http://www.fedcure.org/SecondLook.shtml          

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
President of the United States
Dear Mr. President and Members of the 113th Congress of the United States,

Subject: The BARBER AMENDMENT - Increased Good Time Allowances.

I am asking you to please support The BARBER AMENDMENT, which would amend Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3624(b)(1) as follows: by striking the number "54" in the first sentence as it appears and inserting in lieu thereof the number "128"; and in the same sentence, by striking "prisoner's term of imprisonment" and inserting in lieu thereof "sentence imposed." This Amendment is retroactive. [END].

SECOND LOOK: The Federal Bureau of Prisons is running at 38% over operating capacity. In October 2012 the GAO's David C. Maurer reported, on GAO 12-743, that a 10% reduction in the federal prison population would save $660 million a year - FedCURE estimates the number is over $1.2 billion dollars a year. Maurer also reported that home confinement would be half the cost of incarceration or half way house (RRC). See the video [19:04-19:52] here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/25878123 The President's Budget for FY 2012 and 2013, included 48 to 58 million dollars (respectively) in offsets for a proposed legislative initiative that would have allowed 54 days Good Conduct Time for inmates, as well as for general administrative efficiencies. Neither proposal was passed by Congress.

What is more, however, is an historic, groundbreaking 2013 report, from the 'Congressional Research Service' (CRS) */ titled, "The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options" thoroughly documents the United States' "historically unprecedented 790% increase in the federal prison population." The Report supports the long held view by many, including FedCURE, its members, partners, fellow advocate organizations, former and current members of Congress, judges, high level government officials, the nations most respected, independent nonpartisan think tanks, prominent scholars, criminal justice professionals and an overwhelming majority of the public, that Congress cannot build its way out of the mass incarceration dilemma it now faces, because of a failed criminal justice policy; and recommends Congress "changing or reversing some of the policies that have been put into place over the years which contributed to the increasing number of federal prison inmates," inter alia, increasing good time and reinstating parole. The BARBER AMENDMENT , a simple two sentence undisruptive statutory amendment, genuinely accomplishes these ends, with out disrupting release or reentry processes and public safety, by restoring--rolling back--federal good time allowances to pre-1987 levels. Virtually, BARBER is a $1.2 billion dollar annual austerity sentencing bill.

While elaborating on "several options Congress could consider if policymakers wanted to expand early release options for federal inmates, including (1) reinstating parole, (2) expanding good time credits, and (3) expanding the conditions under which courts could reduce sentences pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(1)(A)," it is abundantly clear that the report concludes, inter alia, that the way out of the dilemma--to reduce the growth of the federal prison population--is for Congress to employ "Early Release Measures." These measures include "(1) modifying mandatory minimum penalties, (2) expanding the use of Residential Reentry Centers, (3) placing more offenders on probation, (4) reinstating parole for federal inmates, (5) expanding the amount of good time credit an inmate can earn, and (6) repealing federal criminal statutes for some offenses." BRAVO!

Moreover, according to the report and righteously so, "Congress might also consider changing or reversing some of the policies that have been put into place over the years which contributed to the increasing number of federal prison inmates. Some of these options include placing some inmates in alternatives to incarceration, such as probation, or expanding early release options by allowing inmates to earn more good time credit or allowing inmates to be placed on parole once again. Congress could consider reducing the amount of time inmates are incarcerated in federal prisons by limiting the number of crimes subject to mandatory minimum penalties or reducing the length of the mandatory minimum sentence. Finally, policymakers could consider allowing states to investigate and prosecute offenses that have become subject to federal jurisdiction over the past three decades" Id., at p. 57.

Full Report, 60 pg. PDF (indexed to highlighted sections) available at: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/CRS_FederalPrisonPopulationBuildup_R42937-220113fc.pdf
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* Note: Special thanks to Nathan James, Analyst in Crime Policy, CRS, njames@crs.loc.gov, for this report. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is an arm of the Library of Congress devoted to providing for Congress research and analysis on legislative issues. In addition to meeting with Congressional members and staffers, CRS releases reports and issue briefs for members of Congress. These reports and issue briefs are made available to Congress through a web site that is not available to the general public. The CRS strongly believes that its sole purpose is to directly serve Congress and not the public. https://opencrs.com/faq/
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Bipartisan Support: Republican's (www.RightOnCrime.com) and Democrat's ( http://www.besmartoncrime.org) and members of Congress agree that the current prison system is way so ineffective and that we have been wrong on crime for the past 28 years. It has been a escalating burden on taxpayers who are footing the bill for more prisons. The penal model enacted by Public Law 98-473 (Sentencing Reform Act of 1984) of "incapacitation" in lieu of "rehabilitation and reentry" has failed miserably. We can and must do better.

Our economic crisis is due in part to the state of our judicial system where so many first time non violent offenders are given Draconian sentences and no means to redeem themselves. Once in the prison system, they have no reason to desire rehabilitation or work towards early release.

Americans want to see results, not stiffer sentences. We can change they way the judicial system enforces punishment and how inmates serve their time in a way that would benefit both the inmate and society. The BARBER AMENDMENT would benefit the following:

* The BARBER AMENDMENT allows the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to maintain correctional worker staffing and help relieve overcrowding of prisons.
* The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a budget that exceeds $6.8 billion dollars a year. After the FBI, the BOP has the largest budget of any unit in the Department of Justice.
* The BARBER AMENDMENT saves taxpayers $1.2 billion dollars per year.
* Releasing 10% of the federal prison population will not disrupt existing Federal Bureau of Prisons policy and procedures and public safety; and GAO says saves $660 million a year.
* The BARBER AMENDMENT - Good Time Allowances rewards those inmates who have shown positive behavior.
* Although early release would not be guaranteed, it would allow a Second Chance to those who prove they are deserving of it.
* The cost to house an inmate for 12 months is almost $30,000.00. Costs rise significantly for all inmates over age 60 and nearly double or quadruple for inmates with medical issues.
* People in prison do not receive the same health care as free people and lengthy non-parolable sentences cause medical emergencies for those in facilities; and huge indigent health care costs upon release.
* The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) is the largest police force in the United States, more then 38,000 employees. The AFGE.org, the FBOP's labor union, is battling on the Hill to add 15,000 correctional officers because of safety concerns due to overcrowding and budget cuts. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that building additional bed space in prisons will not resolve the systemic issues of the prison system. We can not build our way out of this.
* The BOP has been triple bunking because of lack of bed space, which heightens tensions and makes it more dangerous for both staff and inmates.

Federal Sentencing data collected, post Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (over 29 years) provides the gold standard of evidence on what works and what does not; and when is the proper time to release an offender from a sentence while posing no risk to public safety. I would also direct you to these facts: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=164544453571541

The government's experts on these issues all support reforms, such as early release, via increased good time allowances and reinstating parole, as evidenced in the CRS Report, supra, and further, by the distinguised pannels sitting on FedCURE NEWS Presentation Second Look. Please take the time to watch U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (Video #1), U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder (Video #2) and most of all, Patricia Cushwa, Commissioner of the United States Parole Commission (Video #11) and Harley G. Lappin, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Video #8). I would be remiss, however, if I did not strongly urge you to view all of the video's on "Panel Four, titled: Good Time, Community Corrections and Re-Entry." See the exclusive videos here:http://www.fedcure.org/SecondLook.shtml

Institution Crowding:
This chart shows federal inmate cells at normal rated capacity versus overcrowded conditions at low, medium and high security facilities. Despite a ten year build out, increased double bunking and triple bunking, since 2003, the overcrowding rate hovers at 38%. The federal prison population was 165,000 in January 2003. April 2013, it was 218,500. Proof, the bureau cannot build its way out of crowding. Chart: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/BOP-CROWD.CHARTS.shtml.

Testimony of BOP, Director, Charles E. Samuels, Jr., to House Appropriations, Subcommittee, 17 April 2013. See: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hhrg-113-ap19-wstate-samuelsc-20130417.pdf.

[Quote] The BOP confines over 176,000 inmates in Bureau-operated facilities, which have a total rated capacity of just under 129,000 beds. Crowding is of special concern at higher security facilities, including penitentiaries (operating at 54 percent over capacity) and medium security institutions (operating at 44 percent over capacity). These facilities confine a higher number of inmates who are prone to violence than lower security facilities. The BOP has managed overcrowding by double and triple bunking inmates throughout the system, or housing them in space not originally designed for inmate housing, such as television rooms, open bays, program space, etc.

In addition to double and triple bunking, to manage crowding, we have improved the architectural design of our newer facilities and have taken advantage of improved technologies in security measures such as perimeter security systems, surveillance cameras, and equipment to monitor communications. These technologies support BOP employeesÂ’ ability to provide inmates the supervision they need in order to maintain security and safety in our institutions. We have also enhanced population management and inmate supervision strategies in areas such as classification and designation, intelligence gathering, gang management, use of preemptive lockdowns, and controlled movement. While we continue to look for ways to address crowding in our facilities, the challenges continue as we face continued growth in the inmate population.

The BOP performed a rigorous analysis of the effects of crowding and staffing on inmate rates of violence, and found a direct relationship between crowding, staffing, and institution safety. Data was used from all low, medium, and high security BOP facilities for male inmates for the period July 1996 through December 2004. We accounted for a variety of factors known to influence the rate of violence and, in this way, were able to isolate and review the impact that crowding and the inmate-to-staff ratio had on serious assaults. This study found that increases in both the inmate-to-staff ratio and the rate of crowding at an institution (the number of inmates relative to the institutionÂ’s rated capacity) are related to increases in the rate of serious inmate assaults. An increase of one in an institutionÂ’s inmate-to-custody-staff ratio increases the prisonÂ’s annual serious assault rate by approximately 4.5 per 5,000 inmates.

The BOP employs many management interventions in an attempt to prevent and suppress inmate violence. These interventions are resource-intensive and include: paying overtime to increase the number of custody staff available to perform security duties, utilizing staff from program areas (detracting from inmate programs and other vital institution functions), locking down an institution after a serious incident and performing intensive interviews to identifyperpetrators and causal factors, performing comprehensive searches to eliminate weapons and other dangerous contraband, and designating and housing inmates in Special Management Units (SMU). SMU inmates consist of sentenced offenders who participated in or had a leadership role in geographical group/gang-related activity, or those who have a history of disruptive, disciplinary and/or misconduct infractions. The BOP designates inmates to SMUs because greater management of their interaction is necessary to ensure the safety, security, and orderly operation of BOP facilities, and protection of the public. SMU inmates require a more restrictive confinement than general population inmates. The BOP currently has three SMU locations. [End Quote].

Sadly, while the bureau and DOJ argue for relief on crowding, the President's Budget or FY 2014, once again submits an unrealistic proposal to address crowding with a miniscule budget offset of "$41 million for a proposed legislative initiative, which, if passed, would allow additional Good Conduct Time credit for inmates." This is the same proposal to increase Good Conduct Time credit by a mere seven (7) days a year, that Congress turned down in the President's Budget's for FY2012 and FY2013, as "unrealistic," meaning that a seven day increase as a $41 million dollar offset, does little to safely reduce the growth of the federal prison population. BARBER, on the other hand, is a truly realistic legislative reform, installing a system wide "Relief Valve" and as a $1.2 billion dollar annual austerity sentencing bill.

FedCURE is calling on the President and Members of Congress to enact the BARBER AMENDMENT ~ a proposed bill to increase federal good time allowances ~ to safely reduce the federal prison population by at least 10%, with out disrupting release or reentry processes and public safety, at a cost saving's of $1.2 billion dollars annually. These savings on incarceration can be redirected (within in the bureau's budget) to reentry.

Since inmates "earned" the right to be in prison, why can't they also "earn" the right of release and reentry?

The BARBER AMENDMENT would greatly contribute to the healing of our economy and the healing of our nation. There are almost 219,000 people incarcerated in federal prison today and the majority of these are first time non violent offenders, whom under current Federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Probation Office procedures, can be safely released via increased good time allowances, with no disruption to release and reentry processes and public safety.

Accordingly, I urge you, in the most strongest terms, to please support The BARBER AMENDMENT.

Sincerely Yours,