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DOJ allowing prisoners granted home confinement amid COVID to complete sentences at home

The Justice Department (DOJ) decided on Tuesday to allow prisoners who were granted house arrest amid the COVID-19 pandemic to remain at their homes for the remainder of their sentence even after the COVID-19 public health emergency expires within a few weeks. 

The DOJ said in a release on Tuesday that it issued a final rule to grant the director of the Bureau of Prisons to permit those who were allowed to continue serving their sentences at home to complete their term at their home. 

The director was initially granted the authority to extend the amount of time that prisoners can spend in home confinement based on the “emergency conditions” of the pandemic from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, an economic stimulus package passed at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. 

The Biden administration had announced earlier this month that it planned to end the public health emergency by May. But the Senate passed a GOP-led resolution last week to declare the public health emergency concluded, sending the bill to President Biden, who has said he will sign it. 

The release states that the bureau will have the authority to “impose proportional and escalating sanctions” for people who commit “infractions,” including sending them back to prison. 

Colette Peters, the director of the bureau, instructed the prison system that anyone granted house arrest under the CARES Act can stay there as long as they follow the rules they need to. 

The bureau will also be allowed to transfer prisoners into a Residential Reentry Center when necessary, in instances of a home residence not being a viable option for the person or “minor” accountability and “non-significant” disciplinary issues. 

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, declared his support for the decision in a tweet. 

“If home confinement is working, adults in custody should be able to continue reconnecting with their families and rebuilding their lives,” he said. 

The Twitter account for the committee’s Democrats tweeted that the rule will grant a “case-by-case, individualized approach” to rehabilitating people.

Source: The Hill

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