Rep. Davis Introduces H.R. 1475, the Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009

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March 12, 2009
Statements
For Immediate Release:                                                                  Contact: Ira Cohen
March 12, 2009                                                                                   (773) 533-7520  
Statement of Congressman Danny K. Davis
on the Introduction of the "Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009

The United States of America is the number one imprisoned or incarcerated nation on the face of the earth, in both proportion of the population and in actual numbers.

We spend enormous amounts of money holding individuals who have spent considerable time in punishment for their conviction, gone through rehabilitation programs and are now ready to re-enter the civilain world and become assets rather than liabilities to society.  Currently there is no parole for individuals who have been convicted of federal crimes and are serving prison sentences.  

It is my feeling and that of many individuals and organizations who work with criminal justice and prison reform issues that we unnecessarily keep people confined, contained and imprisoned when many of them could be released and involved in re-entry activities which could help them to become productive tax-paying citizens, thereby reducing the burden on the nation's other tax payers.

In an effort to shorten some prison stays and to restore the former system of good time allowances towards service of federal prison terms and for other purposes, I along with Representatives Al Green of Texas, Bobby Rush of Illinois, John Lewis of Georgia, Maxine Waters of California, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Chaka Fattah of Pennsylviania, Shelia Jackson-Lee of Texas, Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands, Corrine Brown of Florida and Ed Towns of New York are introducing today (March 12, 2009), the Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009.

This bill, when passed, will provide each prisoner convicted of an offense against the United States and confined in a penal or correctional institution for a definite term other than life, whose record of conduct shows that the prisoner has substantially observed all regulations promulgated by the Director of the Bureau of Prisons and has not been subjected to punishment a reduction in time to be served as follows:

1) Five (5) days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is not less than 6 months and not more than 1 year

2) Six (6) days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is more than 1 year and less than 3 years

3) Seven (7) days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is not less than 3 years and less than 5 years

4) Eight (8) days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is not less than 5 years and less than 10 years

5) Ten (10) days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is 10 years or more

and

(B) When two or more consecutive sentences are to be served, the aggregate of the several sentences shall be the basis upon which the deduction shall be computed.  In addition, a prisoner, at the discretion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons may qualify for industrial or work time, and/or exceptionally meritorious service which may result in good time allowances

It at any time during the term of imprisonment, a prisoner violates the regulations promulgated by the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, all or any part of his/her earned time may be forfeited.

This act is designed to rationally free up prison space, shorten unnecessary prison stays and save tax payer money.