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A Feel-Good Story From Our Backyard

Earlier this month, a group of law students from the University of California, Irvine did something special: they won the release of an elderly inmate based on the law of compassionate release. That is not easy to do. Before a recent new law, it was nearly impossible, and even now, it’s exceedingly rare. But the man Read More

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The Federal First Step Act of 2018

Here’s more meat on the bones of the new sentencing law from last week. Earning credit toward early release. You can earn 10-15 days of credit for every thirty that you participate in certain programs. These may include work programs, academic classes, vocational training, trauma counseling, substance-abuse treatment, faith-based services, and family-building and parenting. The credits Read More

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On the Friday Before Christmas …

When all through the House, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse: Congress enacted a major change to federal sentencing law. It’s called the First Step Act, and you may have heard about it. Here’s a press release on it from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. What does it do? About ten things. Read More

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Our Federal Prisons Are Fueled By Drugs

That’s the takeaway from this report by the federal courts and U.S. Sentencing Commission. To summarize, there are almost 200,000 people in federal prison today, and almost half of them (or 48%) are there for drugs. Almost all of them (93%) are men, and the vast majority are young, minority men. The breakdown is 35% Hispanic, 35% black, and 27% Read More

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Daydreams of Saints

Talk about rehabilitation. Michael Santos is extraordinary. If you haven’t heard of him, you should look him up. He’s 51 years old, but he’s got the vitality of someone half his age, or younger, which is surprising because he’s lived more than half his life in the federal prison system. In 2013, he completed a 26-year prison sentence, but he’s not only managed to emerge Read More

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Starving the Defense

You may not know it, but inmates in the federal system can email. The government has an email system that it’s rolled out across federal prisons for the past decade. The Bureau of Prisons contracts for the system with a private company called CorrLinks, and the BOP’s overall program is called TRULINCS, or the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System. As the name Read More

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