PREA, First Step and Other News

We have a lot to talk about in this week’s newsletter. First off, as we mentioned last week, there was a case in Illinois in which an inmate at a halfway house had filed a 2241 motion trying to get his release from halfway house due to the good time fix. Unfortunately, the court denied him relief. In it, they stated that section 102(b)(2) of the First Step Act states that this subsection will not go into effect until after the Attorney General releases the risk assessment system.

Well, section 102 does talk about the time credits (10 days for every 30 days of programming), but unfortunately, the BOP has found another way to screw people out of the time they are legally entitled to. After reviewing the bill, it does state that. Therefore, at the latest, the BOP must recalculate the new good time no later than July 19, 2019. This MAY be completed earlier than that, but we all know that probably won’t happen.

In addition, 102(b)(3) states that the law will not apply to everyone. We’ve had several people ask if this means those excluded from receiving time credits (sex offenders, violent offenders, etc.) will be excluded from the good time fix. YOU ARE STILL INCLUDED! All the applicability clause does is state that basically this law applies to “New Law” inmates only. If you committed your offense BEFORE November 1, 1987 and still fall under the parole system, these are the inmates that the good time fix will not affect. Anybody who committed their offense on or after November 1, 1987, including on or after the First Step’s enactment (December 21, 2018), they are eligible to get the additional seven days good time.

There were also several recent articles posted in the USA Today talking about the BOP. The first was complaining that inmates were dining on shrimp and steak and being paid while employees were not. Well, in the ten years I’ve been down, the only steak I’ve seen was a hamburger patty and the shrimp came in a ramen soup packet. Maybe other places have this, but I’ve yet to see it. Also, the pay that inmates received is funded through the inmate trust fund. This is our own money that after the BOP pays the bills for things involving the trust fund (commissary products, etc.), the profits are used to fund the inmate performance pay program. So, Congress has no funds appropriated to pay inmates and therefore that argument is without merit.

The other article leads into today’s main post. It it, the investigative report states that the Inspector General determined that numerous BOP employees who were accused and found in violation of policy regarding sexual harassment claims and other investigatory responsibilities, were never punished and in fact, were usually rewarded for their misconduct. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some legitimate employees who want to do what is right, but it’s usually higher ups that don’t want to mess with the problems.

In 2012, I had an incident with another inmate trying to proposition me for sexual favors. After turning him down numerous times, he proceeded to follow me into the shower and walk into my shower. I reported it to several staff members and nothing was done. In the end, I was placed in the SHU for 70 days under investigation. While there, staff even tried to put the perpetrator in the same cell as me! It wasn’t until my U.S. Senator got involved that it was resolved. Magically, every staff member I had reported it to all got “promoted” the day I was released from the SHU. This is not an uncommon occurrence.

Recently, a friend of mine had a similar incident in which a known predator tried to enter into the shower with him. After reporting it, the perpetrator was locked up (for five days) and then released. He was placed back into the same housing unit, albeit on the opposite end. Yet, that inmate still proceeded to visit the restroom on the other end of the building where the victim lived and the perpetrator would spent numerous hours in that bathroom either washing clothes or cleaning something.

When the victim approached authorities again, their response was that the guy is a skinny old man. How hard is it for 20 something guys in a dorm to tell him to stay out. Well, the “zero tolerance” policy of PREA seems to be that there is “zero tolerance” for having to do any work. In fact, one of the thing that PREA requires is outside support via telephone. Across my institution, the telephone number for the national sexual assault hotline is listed, but when you try to place a call, you are told your call cannot be completed. Why? It is a 1-800 number and those are banned by the BOP.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, or more commonly sexual harassment, there are several ways in which you can report it. The first, obviously, is to tell a staff member. The second, you can file an administrative remedy. You are not required to attempt informal resolution and can go directly to a BP-9. If you feel that the issue is sensitive, you can file a sensitive BP-10 with the regional director, although I’ll be honest, 99% of the time, this is denied. You can also report it on TRULINCS by going to Request to Staff and choosing the DOJ Sexual Abuse Reporting mailbox. This goes directly to the Inspector General’s office. This mailbox is not monitored 24 hours per day and thus if this is an emergency situation, seek help locally immediately. The last option is to have a third party report it on the BOP website. You should be able to find the website address in your A & O manual. Another option is to have your family and friends (or yourself) contact your U.S. representative or senator. You’d be surprised that they will listen and sometimes that is what it takes to get things back in order.

In closing, PREA was supposed to be the Department of Justice taking the prison rape and sexual abuse allegations seriously, but when the bill first passed, it was hidden in a bill protecting the Fisheries and Wildlife of the Caribbean. Luckily, it is now in it’s own section of the U.S. Code. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court returned to work yesterday. We will update our list of cases granted cert this Friday. But, there is one case that has been set for oral arguments. United States v Haymond, which is set to determine if 18 USC 3583(k) which requires a mandatory minimum five year sentence for a repeat porn offender is unconstitutional. The arguments on that case are set for February 26.

==================================================
#BackSoSoon is a blog dedicated to helping sex offenders successfully reintegrate back into society. Our Corrlinks address is backsosoonblog@gmail.com and our website is www.backsosoonblog.com.

Leave a Reply