Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Out

President Obama released the proposed federal budget this week, including how the money will shake out for the Department of Justice, which includes the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Read FAMM's summary here.  If you're really ambitious, read the whole DOJ budget section here.  If you just can't get enough of this stuff, read the entire budget here.  And for those true budget nerds amongst us who want insight into the budget negotiation process between DOJ and the Office of Management and Budget, check out this document.

Here are the highlights:
  • Funding for the custody and care of an average daily population of 219,075 prisoners, an increase of nearly 10,000 people over the current population.
  • $44.7 million to begin the activation process for a new federal prison in Aliceville, Ala. and to expand existing inmate programs (Occupational Education and the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program).
  • $41 million in savings if Congress passes modest increases in good time credit for federal prisoners. 
Good time credit is, of course, the big news here.  For years, federal prisoners have gotten a maximum of 47 days off each year for good behavior, and FAMM and others have been arguing in favor of a different interpretation that lines up with the law's allowance of up to 54 days off each year.  These weeks of extra incarceration add up and cost taxpayers millions.

No good time changes are law yet -- right now, it's just a budget proposal.  To see the proposed good time changes become reality, we have to get Congress to pass them into law, and that could take some time.  But you better believe that FAMM is going to fight for this little change -- not just because it will save money, but because it's right.