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Bureau of Prisons Publishes FSA Program Incentives Program Statement

The Program Statement Explains How Inmates Will Be Rewarded for Taking Evidence Based Recidivism Reduction Classes

The FIRST STEP Act and Rewards

As many of you know, the FIRST STEP Act, which was codified in 18 U.S.C. 3632, provides that eligible inmates may earn time credits for successfully participating in and completing approved Evidence-Based recidivism Reduction Programs or Productive Activities.   Eligibility is based on offense History.

“As required by the FSA, 18 U.S.C § 3632 (d)(4)(D), an inmate cannot earn FTC if he or she is serving a sentence for a disqualifying offense or has a disqualifying prior conviction.”

However there are additional incentives beyond FTC for inmates that participate in and successfully complete EBRR programs. The Bureau of Prisons Recently Published a Program Statement, 5220.01, that explains how and what is available to those who complete evidence based programming.


First of All, the following things are defined in the program statement:

Incentive: A tangible reward available to any inmates who participate in EBRR Programs in areas identified as needs through the Risk and Need Assessment process.

Evidence Based Recidivism Reduction Program (EBRR): A category of programs defined by the FSA. A list of approved EBRR Programs is maintained on the agency’s intranet and public website.

Successful Participation: To be successfully participating in programming, inmates must (a) attend all sessions with only excused absences; (b) complete all assigned activities/homework; and (c) comply with the rules and instructions set forth by the program instructor.

Awarding of Incentives:

In order to be awarded incentives, inmates must complete a risk and needs assessment.  Incentives can also be awarded when inmates successfully complete, enroll or participate in recommended programs or activities.  No Incentives are available for partial completion, failure or program withdrawal.

Matching Incentives With Programs:

“Any confirmed EBRR program participation results in additional phone and visitation privileges and consideration for a nearer release transfer as specified in 18 U.S.C. § 3632(d)(2) … In addition, inmates will be eligible for an additional incentive based on the duration of the EBRR program. Inmates completing EBRR programs identified on the RSD Sallyport page and the BOP public website as being under 100 hours are eligible for access to FSA incentive events.”

Types of Incentives:

The biggest types of incentives are the inclusion of phone and visitation privileges and a Transfer to an institution closer to the release residence.

Increased Phone and Visitation privileges:

Two incentives for successful participation of an EBRR include more phone and visitation privileges: this includes

  1. 510 minutes of phone minutes at no charge to the inmate for one month’s validation cycle with a limit of 30 minutes per day; and
  1. Additional time for social visitation at the institution, as determined appropriate by the Warden.

Transfer closer to institution closer to release residence:

This can get an inmate considered for placement to a facility closer to the inmates release residence subject to the following:

  1. The recommendation of the Warden at the inmate’s current institution;
  2. A determination by the Designation and Sentence Computation Center that the proposed receiving institution is an appropriate facility for the inmate, following a review of the relevant designation criteria; and
  3. Bed availability at the proposed receiving institution.

Additional Policies:

The BOP can also award several other things to inmates who have completed classes successfully:

FSA Achievement Awards:  A limited financial award to offset time lost from work while taking intensive EBRR Courses.  The Person must complete a single EBRR worth 100 hours or more.

Preferred Housing Units:  This includes the Getting Ready for the Outside World (GROW) special mission unit which promotes the acquisition of reentry skills by directing participants towards the reentry areas and programs most critical for them, and is likely to be quieter, well maintained, and include a cohort of inmates focused on personal wellbeing and growth.

Loss or Removal of Incentives:

Persons who are found guilty of the following misconduct are barred from earning incentives for the time periods listed:

120 days for a 100 Series incident report.
90 days for a 200 series incident report.
60 days for a 300 series incident report.
30 days for a 400 series incident report.

If anything here applies to you, contact us today.

At The Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, we fight aggressively for our clients. We are experienced, and know what it takes to present a successful defense in a federal criminal case. For prompt, courteous and skilled representation as your federal criminal defense attorney, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.
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