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Federal Prison Population Rising Again After 'Time Credits' Reform

After the Department of Justice last month announced its rules for implementing the "time credits" program required by the 2018 First Step Act, DOJ provided for retroactive application of these credits, which produced a notable decline in the overall federal prison population. In the last two weeks of January, the federal inmate population dropped nearly three percent to 153,293 from a count of 157,596 on January 13.

On Thursday, the federal Bureau of Prisons updated its count and said the number now reads at 153,316, says Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman in his Sentencing Law and Policy blog. The federal prison population was steadily creeping up throughout most of 2021, an increase of nearly 6000 from a low of 151,646 inmates on Jan. 21, 2021. Departing federal prison director Michael Carvajal told Congress on Thursday that the Elderly Offender Home Detention Program, which allows some term, has allowed 1,177 inmates to move to home confinement.

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