First Step Act – Revised 2022

Reduction in Recidivism

Requires the Attorney General to develop a risk and needs assessment system

  • The BOP assess the recidivism risk and criminogenic needs of all federal prisoners
  • Place them in recidivism reducing programs
  • Including productive activities to address their needs and reduce this risk.
  •  Under the act, the system provides guidance on the:
    • type,
    • amount, and
    • the intensity of recidivism reduction programming and
    • productive activities to which each prisoner is assigned, including
    • information on which programs prisoners should participate in based on their criminogenic needs.
    • on how to group, to the extent practicable,
      • prisoners with similar risk levels together in recidivism reduction programming and
      • housing assignments.
  • The Act also amends 18 U.S.C. § 4042(a), requiring the BOP to assist inmates in:
    • applying for federal and state benefits and
    • obtain identification, including a
      • social security card,
      • driver’s license or
      • other official photo identification, and
      • birth certificate.
  • The First Step Act also expands the Second Chance Act to deliver recidivism reduction programming.

Incentives for Success

  • The Act amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), so that federal inmate can earn:
    • up to 54 days of good time credit for every year of their imposed sentence
    • rather than, for every year of their sentence served.
    • For example, you’re sentenced to 10 years, your maximum good time credit = 540 days.
    • These good-time credits go towards pre-release custody.
    • Ineligible for good-time credit are generally categorized as:
      • violent, or involve
      • terrorism,
      • espionage,
      • human trafficking,
      • sex and sexual exploitation; additionally
      • excluded offenses are a repeat felon in possession of a firearm, or
      • high-level drug offenses
      • For a more complete list, see disqualifying offenses

Confinement

  • 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) requires the BOP to house inmates in facilities within 500 driving miles of their primary residence.
  • The BOP variety of factors goes into placement, including:
    • bed space availability,
    • security designation,
    • programmatic needs,
    • mental and medical health needs,
    • any request made by the inmate related to faith-based needs,
    • recommendations of the sentencing court, and
    • other security concerns.
  • The FSA reauthorizes and modifies a pilot program that allows the BOP to place certain elderly and terminally ill prisoners on home confinement to serve the remainder of their sentences.

Correctional Reforms

  • Criminal justice-related provisions, including;
    • prohibition on the use of restraints on pregnant inmates in the custody of BOP and the U.S. Marshals Service.
    • requirement the BOP to provide tampons and sanitary napkins for free
    • The FSA requires BOP to provide training to correctional officers and other BOP employees:
      • on how to interact and de-escalate encounters with people who are diagnosed with mental illness or other cognitive deficits.
      • Also included is a prohibition against the use of solitary confinement for juvenile delinquents in federal custody.

Sentencing Reforms

  • Changes to Mandatory Minimums for Certain Drug Offenders for some drug traffickers with prior drug convictions
    • the threshold for prior convictions that count toward triggering higher mandatory minimums for repeat offenders,
      • is reduced from the 20-year to a 15-year mandatory minimum,
    • The life-in-prison mandatory minimum (where there are two or more prior qualifying convictions),
      • to a 25-year mandatory minimum.
  • Retroactivity of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA)
    •  Those who received longer sentences for crack cocaine than if sentenced for possession of powder cocaine can submit a petition in federal court to have their sentences reduced.
  • Expanding the Safety Valve

FEMALE PATTERN RISK SCORING

MALE PATTERN RISK SCORING

Violent Offense Codes for PATTERN Risk Assessment *

Cut points used when calculating an inmate’s Risk of Recidivism

Ambridge Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing Fentanyl 12/2020

Possessing Fentanyl – DOJ

In early December 2020, Michael Gamble was paid a surprise visit by law enforcement. At the conclusion of their search, they found at least 90 G of Fentanyl along with a loaded handgun with an attached extended magazine. None of this looks good, and easily crosses an Offense Level of 34 (with its approximate base number of 28 or greater). Michael Gamble, age 37, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand and is scheduled sentencing for Feb. 9, 2023.

The DOJ has a case, and while everyone deserves legal representation, in the federal system 98% plea as opposed to going to trial, but I get ahead of myself.

How over the years did a medication initially develop in 1959 by Dr. Paul Janssen as an intravenous surgical anesthetic, wind up on our streets? Recalling my days as a surgical resident in the mid-1980s, this was on no one’s radar, except anesthesia. Interest came initially from large animal veterinarians, which morphed into skin patches for humans in the early 2000s to treat chronic pain. This was followed with user-friendly delivery options; a lollipop, tablet, and nasal spray.

Carfentanyl, a fentanyl analog is approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 100 times more than fentanyl, and 50 times more than heroin. It is to be used as a general anesthetic for very large animals.

Fentanyl (Carfentanyl) analogs, including fentanyl-laced heroin, come in many flavors, with street names such as white heroin, Perc-O-Pops, Chiclets, Apache, China Girl, White China, Dance Fever, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, Tango and Cash, Friend, Goodfella, and Redrum (murder spelled backward). The sheer variety and combinations make toxicology testing and accurate death reporting extremely challenging.

Having a cogent defense, that includes sentence mitigation through presentence interview preparation is key. Should you have a question, contact us.

Former CEO of Health Clinic Convicted of Medicaid Fraud

Former CEO of Health Clinic Convicted of Medicaid Fraud

St. Gabriel Health Clinic Inc. (St. Gabriel), a Louisiana nonprofit was contracted with the Iberville Parish School Board to provide primary care services to students as well as services related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.


Evidence showed that St. Gabriel practitioners provided character development and other educational programs to entire classrooms of students and followed by fraudulent billing to Medicaid, as group psychotherapy.

Victor Clark Kirk, 73, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the CEO of St. Gabriel Health Clinic Inc. and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison per count.

When facing the Federal Bureau of Prisons, retaining an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, and someone experienced in guiding you through the sentencing process, following the guilty verdict is critical to your future. Should you have any questions, contact us. 

Probation Officers | Federal | The PSR

Probation Officers Representing The Court:

They Conduct The Presentence Interview,

This is critical – as from it they prepare

Your Presentence Report (PSR),

Which acts as your “referral” to

The Federal Bureau of Prisons for everything

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For a No Obligation Free Consult Call Dr.Blatstein at: 240.888.7778, or through email at: info@PPRSUS.com. Dr. Blatstein answers and personally returns all of his calls.

Probation receives and evaluates pre-sentence investigation requests.

Their Process:

  • 1st they interview you, and then
    • Identify and pursue leads to obtain evidence.
    • Gather and document evidence by interviewing involved parties, obtaining statements, reviewing and analyzing records and files, etc.
    • Gather criminal history, police reports, victim impact statements, criminal complaints, and information and review them prior to the interview with the offender.
    • Conduct offender criminal history checks, warrant inquiries, and driver’s license abstract checks.
    • Compile and maintain history and case records.
    • Inform offenders of their rights, responsibilities, and purposes of the pre-sentence investigation process.
    • Interview offenders are required by the courts to have a pre-sentence investigation completed.
    • Utilize PSI interview guide and the Criminogenic Domains of Criminal History, Education/Employment, Financial, Family/Marital, Accommodation, Leisure/Recreation, Companions, Alcohol/Drug, Emotional/Personal, and Attitude/Orientation.
    • Complete various extensive assessment tools to gauge offender risk and needs.
    • Collect PSI fees.
    • Coordinate investigations with other law enforcement agencies, regulatory agencies, and other relevant entities.
    • Confirm information gathered during the interview.
    • Communicate with the appropriate Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff, other state agencies, related organizations, other entities, volunteers, and the public to provide information, referral services, technical advice, and consultation regarding PSI.
    • Communicate with Courts, attorneys, law enforcement, and other agencies involved in a court-ordered pre-sentence investigation.
    • Document interview and investigation.
  • Identify and Inform crime victims of their rights.
    • Assist the victim advocates in coordinating victim requests for offender information; victim issues such as recovery from injury, financial losses, or victim mediation; preparation of victim impact statements and reports; communicate offender progress and victim assistance to various local, state, and federal officials, and to treatment staff.

Prepare The Presentence Report and

Recommend administrative, legal, and/or sentencing action.

  • Present evidence to prosecutors, legal staff, or courts.
  • Prepare and present testimony as required for legal proceedings or administrative hearings.
  • Report offender compliance with the presentence investigation to courts.
  • Summarize information gathered during the investigation and interview into the pre-sentence format.

Make sentencing recommendations

  • based on sentencing guidelines and a thorough analysis of:
  • Ensure the report is distributed according to Applicable Code standards.
  • Monitor programs for compliance with state and federal laws compliance.
  • Gather, compile, and maintain statistics for required and requested reports.
  • Investigate and confirm the information on offender release plans or interstate compact investigations.
  • Maintain working knowledge of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR) programs and community-based programs that are available for offenders.

Note: The duties of probation officers listed above are not intended to be all-inclusive.

Federal Sentencing and Placement – The Process

98% of federal defendants plea

Federal Sentencing

1st: Federal Defendants indicted, >93% likely will receive a federal sentence to a BOP facility

 

2nd: The defendant’s first appearance in court
  • ~93+%, can result in either a plea or verdict of guilty to a federal sentence
  • Between the Defendant’s 1stand, 2nd court appearance; a resume or CV of the defendant’s background is developed: called the Presentence Report (PSR).
  • The PSR is where the Defense Team Can make a Placement Request, while documenting the defendant’s medical, criminal, work & education histories, etc.
3rd: The defendant’s second court appearance is for the Sentencing Hearing
  • The details of sentencing are not taught in most law schools
  • Judges determine the length of time the defendant is imprisoned
  • Judges can also make a placement request to the BOP
4th: The BOP determines placement
  • Some of the factors that affect placement (BOP Policy Statement P5100.08 (Chapter 4 Pages 5-13 and Chapter 5 Pages 12-13):
    • Judges recommendations
    • Public Safety Factor (PSF) Variables
      • Accepting Responsibility
      • Age
      • Criminal History
      • Education Level
      • Legal Release Residence
    • Management Variables; Pre-determined Security levels
      • Disruptive Group-confirmed member
      • Greatest Offense Severity #
      • Greatest Severity Offense
      • Prison Disturbance
      • Serious escape
      • Serious Telephone Abuse
      • Sex Offender
      • The threat to Government Officials
    • Medical CARE LEVELS I-IV Structure
    • Mental Healthcare CARE LEVELS I-IV Structure
    • Psychology Treatment Programs
    • Medication Availability

      • On Formulary, or available
      • Non-Formulary requires a lengthy preapproval process
      • Or Just Not Available, where a similar substitute may be implemented

For Groups: My PowerPoint Presentation

BOP BRAVE Program – For Those New To Federal Prison

BOP BRAVE Program 

A part of The First Step Act – Admission Criteria

A 6-month program designed to facilitate favorable initial adjustment to incarceration – for young males new to federal prison, serving their first sentence in a medium facility.  Photo Credit: The Marshall Project

______________________

BOP Brave Program – Admission Criteria:

I- Designed for medium security male inmates.

II- The inmate is 32 years old or younger.

III- They will be serving a sentence of 60 months or more, and is their 1st time in the BOP.

IV- The program is assigned at the beginning of their sentence.

The responsibility for your client’s mental and physical health should be safeguarded in order to protect them from themselves (and others) while providing a safe environment for the duration of their incarceration.

This should be the responsibility of the legal counsel, the court, and BOP.

_______________________

The BRAVE Program is located at the following federal prison facilities:

 

info@PPRSUS.com * 240.888.7778

Entering The BOP – Verifying The Availability of Your Medications

Verifying Medication  Availability

Will Go A Long Way To Easing Your Client’s Fears

    • They assume that they will still get medical care on the inside.
    • The assumption may also be that they will also get the same medications that they got on the outside,
    • This will likely be a False assumption.

 

Medication availability (~ 3500 different drugs), falls into 3 categories.

1st) On Formulary -Available:

      • These medications are available for BOP healthcare providers for inmate use.

2nd) Non-Formulary -These require a lengthy Preauthorization Process

      • These medications while they are stocked, are not available and require a lengthy Pre-authorization.
      • As the BOP Formulary is available online, and should your medication fall into this category, this discussion should take place long before the Presentence Interview for obvious reasons.

3rd) Similar equivalents – Not On Formulary (Not Available)

      • Here similar or equivalent substitutions are used. It is before this point, and long before the PSI, after consulting with the current treating physician of record, that defense needs to make appropriate decisions regarding this medical problem.
      • Albeit, addressing it before the PSR is complete, with the backing of the US Attorney, and finally the court.
        1. Examples of medication confusion for Cholesterol Control:
          • PCSK9 Inhibitors vs. Statins. Statins are a popular treatment that has been available since the 1980s. PCSK9 inhibitors, on the other hand, are a new type of cholesterol drug. They were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015.

Generics

    • These are the drug of choice for the BOP as they are cheaper than brand-name medications.
    • It may be beneficial to inform your client ahead of time that, while they’ll be taking a generic medication
      • since there are many manufacturers who each produce similar generic drugs
      • these same drugs, while may differ in color, size, and shape;
      • they should be the same
    • Nobody likes surprises, especially if they are entering prison for the first time.

                                                              Generic Lipitor Good Rx

 

Federal Prison Placement Preparation

The Presentence Report

1st. Prepare For Your Presentence Interview

Properly prepared, will allow the probation Office to draft an accurate

Presentence Report – which will control your future

Incorporate these federal prison placement data points:

Medical and Mental Healthcare needs to be implemented through

  • Psychological Treatment Programs while available, have limited access and several may be security level specific.

The First Step Act Includes;

I) Brave Program A first-timer young male offender 32 years of age or younger, facing a sentence of 60 months or more

II) Challenge Program A male inmate facing a high-security penitentiary with a current diagnosis of either: Mood, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Delusion, and/or Substance-induced Psychotic Disorders

III) Mental Health Step Down A male or female who lacks the skills to function in a general population prison setting and is willing to work with Psychiatry Services

IV) Resolve A male or female with a current diagnosis of a mental illness related to physical, mental, and/or intimate domestic violence or traumatic PTSD

V) Skills A significant functional impairment due to intellectual disabilities, neurological and/or remarkable social skills deficits such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) to mention just a few.

VI) Stages  A male inmate with a serious mental illness and a primary diagnostic of Borderline Personality Disorder, along with a history of unfavorable institutional adjustment.

VIIa) Sex Offender Non-Residential Single Sex Crime or first-time Internet Sex Offense

VIIb) Sex Offender Residential Multiple sex crimes.

VIIc) Butner’s Commitment and Treatment Program for Sexually Dangerous Persons, Page 12Is considered for sexually dangerous persons with the possibility of criminal recidivism

VIII) Female Integrated Treatment Is a female with substance abuse (RDAP Eligibility Possible), trauma-related disorders, and other mental illnesses. (FIT) Program

Medication availability falls into 3 tiers:

  1. On the BOP Formulary (available).
  2. Non-Formulary; these require a lengthy preauthorization process.
  3. Last: these are just not available. While similar medications are substituted, how is their efficacy verified?

Security Requirements

  1. Offense Level vs Criminal History Calculation
  2. Criminal History Calculation
    • +3 points for each prior sentence > 1 Year + 1 Month.
    • +2 points for each prior sentence > 60 days, not counted above.
    • +1 point for each prior sentence, <= 60 days not counted above; for up to a maximum of 4 points in this category.
    • +2 points for each revocation that has a new charge or occurs under federal supervision.
    • + 1 point for each prior sentence resulting from a conviction of a crime of violence that did not receive any points as noted above because the sentence was treated as a single sentence, up to a total of 3 points for this subsection.

The BOP and Prison Security Level Placement

The Presentence Report – A Medical, Medication, and Security Requirement Referral

PPRSUS.com

As found in my LinkedIn 2/29/2020 post

Healthy Steps for Older Adults 2022

FSA, Productive Activities (PA)
Healthy Steps for Older Adults 2022

Program Description Healthy Steps for Older Adults is an evidence-based falls prevention program designed to raise participants’ knowledge and awareness of steps to take to reduce falls and improve health and well-being. The goal of the program is to prevent falls, promote health, and ensure that
older adults remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.
Hours 3
Location(s) All institutions
Needs Addressed Medical/Recreation/Leisure/Fitness
Program Delivery Contractors
Health Services
Recreation
Unit Team
Volunteers

AARP Foundation Finances 50+ (2022)

AARP Foundation Finances 50+ (2022)

Program Description

This program provides financial education and counseling for vulnerable households, particularly adults age 50+.

Older adults face unique challenges in financial planning and weak job prospects. This program will assist the older adult in financial goal setting that translates into positive financial behaviors.

Hours 1.5
Location(s) All BOP Locations
Needs Addressed Finance/Poverty