First Step Act Moves On Schedule, Rosen Says

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New Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who toured the federal prison in Englewood, Co., last week, said that the Justice Department is “pushing hard” to abide by the requirements of the First Step Act, reports USA Today. Rosen said DOJ is on schedule to deliver a critical tool to assess the needs and risks of future recidivism for federal prisoners. The program, required by the law, is due by July 19. On the same date, the federal Bureau of Prisons is set to recalculate the amount of “good time” earned by federal offenders, an action that is expected to result in the release of 2,200 offenders to their home communities. Since the Act became law in December, Rosen said, 1,093 drug offenders have been released under a provision that reconciled overly harsh sentences issued to crack cocaine offenders. Another 171 low-risk elderly inmates and 46 chronically-ill offenders also have been released under the legislation. “I’m putting my personal attention on that,” Rosen said. “The attorney general is, too.”

Rosen’s attention to another prison-related matter attracted the most public notice of his tenure so far. In a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Rosen weighed in on where former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort should be confined during his prosecution on state financial fraud charges. Citing Manafort lawyers’ concern for his “health and safety” if moved to a state prison, Rosen said federal officials preferred that Manafort remain in federal custody, where he is serving a 7.5-year sentence on a financial conviction. Rosen dismissed the suggestion he was intervening on behalf of Manafort. He said he was merely attempting to resolve a question raised by federal prison officials.

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