Good Conduct Time Credit Under the First Step Act

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 250 (Tuesday, December 31, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 250 (Tuesday, December 31, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 72274-72278]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27976]
[[Page 72274]]
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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Bureau of Prisons
28 CFR Part 523
[BOP-1032-P]
RIN 1120-AA62
Good Conduct Time Credit Under the First Step Act
AGENCY: Bureau of Prisons, Justice.
ACTION: Proposed rule.
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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) proposes to modify regulations
on Good Conduct Time (GCT) credit to conform with recent legislative
changes under the First Step Act (FSA), which would result in
recalculation of the release date of most current inmates. However, as
provided in the FSA, this change will not be effective until the
Attorney General completes and releases the risk and needs assessment
system.
DATES: Electronic comments must be submitted, and written comments must
be postmarked, no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 2, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Please submit electronic comments through the
regulations.gov website, or mail written comments to the Rules Unit,
Office of General Counsel, Bureau of Prisons, 320 First Street NW,
Washington, DC 20534.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Qureshi, Office of General
Counsel, Bureau of Prisons, phone (202) 353-8248.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Posting of Public Comments
    Please note that all comments received are considered part of the
public record and made available for public inspection online at
www.regulations.gov. Such information includes personal identifying
information (such as your name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by
the commenter.
    If you want to submit personal identifying information (such as
your name, address, etc.) as part of your comment, but do not want it
to be posted online, you must include the phrase ``PERSONAL IDENTIFYING
INFORMATION'' in the first paragraph of your comment. You must also
locate all the personal identifying information you do not want posted
online in the first paragraph of your comment and identify what
information you want redacted. If you want to submit confidential
business information as part of your comment but do not want it to be
posted online, you must include the phrase ``CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS
INFORMATION'' in the first paragraph of your comment. You must also
prominently identify confidential business information to be redacted
within the comment. If a comment contains so much confidential business
information that it cannot be effectively redacted, all or part of that
comment may not be posted www.regulations.gov.
    Personal identifying information identified and located as set
forth above will be placed in the agency's public docket file, but not
posted online. Confidential business information identified and located
as set forth above will not be placed in the public docket file. If you
wish to inspect the agency's public docket file in person by
appointment, please see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT paragraph.
Introduction and Summary
    In this document, the Bureau proposes to modify regulations on GCT
credit to conform with recent legislative changes enacted in the First
Step Act of 2018 (FSA), Public Law 115-391, December 21, 2018, 132 Stat
5194). Section 102(b) of the FSA amends 18 U.S.C. 3624(b) to indicate
that inmates may receive up to 54 days of GCT credit for each year of
the sentence imposed by the court, instead of for each year of actual
time served. As a practical matter, the latter method had resulted in a
cap of 47 days per year of credit, as explained and upheld in Barber v.
Thomas, 560 U.S. 474 (2010). This proposed regulation amendment would
support the recalculation under the FSA of the release date of most
current inmates (other than those serving sentences for offenses
committed before November 1, 1987, sentences of one year or less, and
sentences to life imprisonment).
    Under section 102(b)(2) of the FSA, the recalculation of GCT credit
was not effective until the Attorney General completed and released the
risk and needs assessment system on July 19, 2019.\1\ Although this
proposed regulation is not yet in effect, the Bureau re-calculated
release dates beginning on July 19, 2019 under the statutory authority
of the FSA. Based on these re-calculations, 3163 inmates were released
from Bureau custody on July 19, 2019; the Bureau is in the process of
completing recalculations for the remainder of the inmate population
based on the FSA authority, prioritizing recalculations by proximity of
projected release date, and releasing inmates as appropriate according
to the recalculated GCT release dates.
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    \1\ Section 102(b)(2) of the First Step Act indicates that the
amendments made by that section can only take effect after the
Attorney General completes and releases a risk and needs assessment
system described in section 101(a) of the First Step Act.
    Section 101(a) amends 18 U.S.C. 3632(a) to require the Attorney
General to consult with an Independent Review Committee, also
authorized by the First Step Act, to develop a risk and needs
assessment system. This risk and needs assessment system was
publicly released on the Department of Justice website on July 19,
2019.
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    The purposes of the proposed regulation amendment are to update the
Bureau's current GCT regulations to be consistent with the FSA and to
explain to the public and the inmate population how GCT will be
calculated under the FSA.
Background
    The regulation at 28 CFR 523.20 is the Bureau's interpretation of
the former version of the GCT statute, 18 U.S.C. 3624(b)(1), enacted as
part of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), effective April 26,
1996. This, in turn, was based on the Bureau's historical
interpretation of the first version of Sec.  3624(b), enacted as part
of the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA), effective November 1, 1987.
    The SRA stated that inmates serving sentences of more than one
year, other than those committed for life, would receive GCT credit
toward the service of the inmate's sentence ``beyond the time served,
of fifty-four days at the end of each year of his term of imprisonment,
beginning at the end of the first year of the term,'' unless the Bureau
determines that there have been disciplinary infractions warranting
removal of credit. The SRA required the Bureau to make such a
determination ``within fifteen days after the end of each year of the
sentence,'' and required that GCT credit for the final year or portion
of a year should be ``prorated and credited within the last six weeks
of the sentence.'' 18 U.S.C. 3624(b) (1987).
    Based on Section 3624(b)'s text, legislative and statutory history,
and penological policies and interests involved in administration of
the statute, the Bureau interpreted this statute to mean that GCT
credit should be calculated based on the amount of actual time served,
rather than the length of the sentence imposed by the court.
    The Bureau reached this conclusion for the following reasons:
First, section 3624(b) provided that an eligible inmate would receive
GCT credit ``toward the service of his sentence, beyond the time
served, of fifty-four days at the end of each year of his term of
imprisonment, beginning at the end of the first year of the term,
unless the Bureau of Prisons determines that, during that year, he has
not satisfactorily complied with such
[[Page 72275]]
institutional disciplinary regulations[.]'' As a prisoner approaches
the end of his sentence, GCT credit for ``the last year or portion of a
year of the term of imprisonment shall be prorated and credited within
the last six weeks of the sentence.'' The text of the statute indicated
that GCT credit should be calculated on the basis of time served
because of its repeated yearly requirements of calculation, behavioral
compliance, and proration.
    Second, the legislative history indicated that GCT credit was to be
calculated on the basis of time served. See S. Rep. No. 98-225 at 56
(1983), reprinted in 1984 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3182 (``A sentence that exceeds
one year may be adjusted at the end of each year by 36 days for a
prisoner's compliance with institutional regulations . . . .''); id. at
147 (``[S]ection 3624(b) provides a uniform maximum rate of 36 days a
year for all time in prison beyond the first year'').
    Third, the statute that preceded section 3624(b), 18 U.S.C. 4161
(repealed), specifically directed deduction of GCT credit from the
total ``term of [the prisoner's] sentence.'' Before enactment of the
SRA, under 18 U.S.C. 4161 (repealed), GCT credit was to be ``deducted
from the term of [a prisoner's] sentence beginning with the day on
which the sentence commences to run.'' SRA's section 3624(b), on the
other hand, required the award of GCT credit ``at the end of each
year.'' The change conveyed the intent of Congress that GCT credit
should be earned by a prisoner at the end of each year actually served,
rather than automatically awarded at the beginning of the sentence.
GCT Under the Current Regulation
    Under the current regulation and prior law:
     Inmates earn the first full 54 days of GCT credit only
after 365 days of incarceration.
     The Bureau prorates the last year (or portion of the year)
of the inmate's sentence.
    The Bureau's interpretation of Sec.  3624(b) credit was addressed
in Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S. 474 (2010)). The Supreme Court determined
that ``[t]he statute's language and its purpose, taken together,
convince us that the BOP's calculation method is lawful . . . [it]
tracks the language of Sec.  3624(b).'' Barber, id.at 480.
    The Bureau previously awarded GCT credit such that an inmate served
approximately 85% of his/her sentence.\2\ The Bureau's interpretation
of the former statute, as codified in its current rule, as requiring
GCT credit to be awarded based on time served was consistently upheld
as being reasonable. See e.g., Brown v. McFadden, 416 F.3d 1271, 1273
(11th Cir. 2005); Yi v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 412 F.3d 526, 534
(4th Cir. 2005); O'Donald v. Johns, 402 F.3d 172, 174 (3rd Cir. 2005);
Perez-Olivio v. Chavez, 394 F.3d 45, 53 (1st Cir. 2005); White v.
Scibana, 390 F.3d 997, 1002-1003 (7th Cir. 2004); Pacheco-Camacho v.
Hood, 272 F.3d 1266, 1267-1268 (9th Cir. 2001).
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    \2\ For example, under the Bureau's current system (pre-FSA), an
inmate with a 10-year sentence may earn up to 470 days of GCT
credit, because GCT credit is based on time served, so the inmate
would end up being released before the date on which the imposed
sentence is set to expire. By contrast, under the FSA, an inmate
with a 10-year sentence may earn a maximum of 540 days because GCT
credit is based on length of the sentence imposed, whether or not
the inmate has begun to serve the sentence. So, under the FSA, an
inmate with a 10-year imposed sentence is eligible for 540 days of
GCT credit.
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GCT Under the FSA
    Section 102(b)(1) of the First Step Act (FSA) amended 18 U.S.C.
3624(b)(1) to require:
     That inmates serving a sentence of more than a year, other
than a life sentence, receive GCT credit up to 54 days for each year of
the prisoner's sentence imposed by the court beginning at the end of
the first year of the term; and
     That credit for the last year of a term of imprisonment
shall be credited on the first day of the last year of the term of
imprisonment.
No other changes were made. Based on revised Sec.  3624(b)'s text, the
language of the FSA, and the penological policies and interests
involved in administration of the statute, the Bureau formulated the
following possible interpretations of this statute:
Alternative 1
    The language of revised Sec.  3624(b)(1) directs the Bureau to
award GCT credit ``of up to 54 days for each year of the prisoner's
sentence imposed by the court[.]'' [Emphasis added.] Since the statute
no longer instructs the Bureau to prorate GCT credit for ``the portion
of the year,'' it could be argued that this deletion means that if an
inmate has less than 12 months for any part of his/her sentence, he/she
earns no GCT credit for that portion of the sentence. This
interpretation, however, ignores the first part of the statute, which
instructs the Bureau to award GCT credit for the full term imposed, and
therefore contravenes the apparent intent of Congress. Therefore, the
Bureau believes this would be an erroneous and unfair interpretation.
Alternative 2
    The revised language of the FSA says that an inmate ``may receive
credit toward the service of the prisoner's sentence, of up to 54 days
for each year of the prisoner's sentence imposed by the court,'' and
that ``credit for the last year of a term of imprisonment shall be
credited on the first day of the last year of the term of
imprisonment.'' A generous reading of this language is that an inmate
earns 54 days of credit each year, and, on the first day of the last
chronological year of the service of his/her sentence, earns another 54
days.
    This interpretation assumes that the phrase ``last year of a term
of imprisonment'' is meant as the chronological last year of service,
so that the inmate would receive 54 days of credit on the first day of
the last chronological year left to serve. It could be argued that the
intention of Congress in deleting the pro-ration language was that the
Bureau should not prorate GCT credit at all during the final year of
service, but instead award a full 54 days of GCT credit for any portion
of the last chronological year.
    However, this interpretation ignores two problems. The first part
of the revision to the statute indicates that an inmate can receive a
maximum of ``up to 54 days for each year of the prisoner's sentence
imposed by the court,'' so awarding a full 54 days of GCT credit for
less than a year remaining on an imposed sentence appears inconsistent
with the intent of Congress.
    Second, awarding 54 days of credit for any partial chronological
last year presents the potential possibility of an inmate's release
after his/her sentence should have ended. For instance, if an inmate's
last chronological year consists of 10 days left to serve beginning on
January 1st, but 54 days of GCT credit is awarded to that inmate on
that date, then that inmate should have been released 44 days earlier.
However, the inmate could not have been released earlier, because he/
she would not have earned that 54 days of GCT credit until the first
day of the last chronological year. This would result in some inmates
receiving benefits incongruous with those received by others.
    Finally, Congress used the same phrasing throughout the sentence--
``the last year of a term of imprisonment''--which implies that they
intended the phrase to be interpreted consistently and in context with
the full subsection, such that a ``year'' as it relates to the
[[Page 72276]]
``term of imprisonment'' refers to the sentence imposed.
    The Supreme Court came to the same conclusion in Barber: ``The
words `term of imprisonment' in this phrase almost certainly refer to
the sentence imposed, not to the time actually served (otherwise
prisoners sentenced to a year and a day would become ineligible for
credit as soon as they earned it).'' Barber, 560 U.S. at 483. See also
Brown v. Gardner, 513 U.S. 115, 118 (1994) (presumption that a given
term is used to mean the same thing throughout a statute).
Alternative 3
    The FSA has not altered language in the statute indicating that GCT
credit will only be awarded ``subject to determination by the Bureau of
Prisons that, during that year, the prisoner has displayed exemplary
compliance[.]'' The fact that this language has not changed from the
prior version indicates that the Bureau must evaluate an inmate's
conduct ``during the year,'' and that GCT credit should continue to be
awarded on the anniversary date after service of a year of sentence
consistent with Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S. 474 (2010).
    Based on this language, it is possible to argue that the Bureau
should determine a projected release date based upon the length of an
inmate's imposed sentence, with any portion of the sentence that is
less than a full year calculated at a prorated amount. Under this
interpretation, the inmate may receive up to 54 days GCT credit on the
anniversary date of his/her imposed sentence until he reaches the
projected release date, at which point his sentence will be satisfied.
    However, if an inmate earns 54 days of GCT credit on the
anniversary date of the last partial year remaining, but is determined
by the Bureau to have failed to display ``exemplary compliance with
institutional disciplinary regulations,'' then the statute is unclear
regarding whether the Bureau may withhold GCT credit. The Bureau must
determine whether inmates in this situation may be awarded GCT credit
which is not subject to withholding since the inmate is no longer in
custody. This issue highlights one of the conclusions drawn by the
Supreme Court in Barber, that ``BOP's approach furthers the objective
of Sec.  3624'' in that it ``ties the award of good time credits
directly to good behavior during the preceding year of imprisonment.''
\3\ Barber, 560 U.S. at 482-83.
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    \3\ Barber, 560 U.S. at 482-83.
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    Since we can only assume Congress was aware of this logical result
and intended the revisions regardless, we believe it is reasonable and
logical to interpret the statute as permitting the Bureau to require
exemplary conduct even during the final period of an inmate's sentence,
and therefore conclude that it is permissible for the Bureau to
continue its practice of withholding GCT credit as a disciplinary
sanction when necessary.
    It is a longstanding principle that the Bureau has the authority to
compute sentences and award credit.\4\ Barber, 560 U.S. at 482-83. The
Bureau believes that its method of calculating GCT ``comports with the
language of the statute, effectuates the statutory design . . . enables
inmates to calculate the time they must serve with reasonable
certainty, and prevents certain inmates from earning GCT for time
during which they were not incarcerated.'' O'Donald v. Johns, 402 F.3d
172, 174 (3d Cir. 2005).
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    \4\ See United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 335 (1992);
United States v. Martinez, 837 F.2d 861, 865-866 (9th Cir. 1988)
(quoting United States v. Clayton, 588 F.2d 1288, 1292 (9th Cir.
1979)); United States v. Evans, 1 F.3d 654, 654 (7th Cir. 1993)
(citing Gonzalez v. United States, 959 F.2d 211, 212 (11th Cir.
1992)).
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BOP'S Interpretation Under The FSA
    The Bureau believes that the interpretation described above in
Alternative 3 is the most reasonable interpretation of the revised
statute. The Bureau should determine a projected release date based
upon the length of an inmate's imposed sentence, with any portion of
the sentence that is less than a full year calculated at a prorated
amount. The inmate may receive up to 54 days GCT credit on the
anniversary date of his/her imposed sentence until he reaches the
projected release date, at which point his/her sentence will be
satisfied.\5\
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    \5\ Mathematically, inmates will earn GCT credit in the amount
of .148 times the number of days of their full term of imprisonment.
(54 / 365 = .148 GCT credit per day served).
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    Under this interpretation, more GCT credit is awarded than was
awarded under the prior statute, resulting in inmates receiving a
maximum of 54 days of credit for each year of the sentence imposed. It
also remains consistent with the Supreme Court's analysis in Barber vs.
Thomas by continuing to award GCT credit based on a requirement of
``earning'' credit after the service of the relevant period, thus
recognizing that, as the statute indicates, 54 days is a maximum award
and not a required award. While inmates ultimately might earn credit
for days of the term that they did not serve, we assume Congress
intended such a result.
    It is also important to note that pursuant to Section 102(b)(3) of
the FSA and 18 U.S.C. 3624(b)(1), this change will apply to all inmates
except those serving life sentences, those serving sentences of one
year or less, and those who committed the offenses for which they are
currently imprisoned before November 1, 1987.\6\ In some cases, due to
judicial action, the Bureau will be required to recalculate a sentence
or a portion of a sentence, including, in some cases, sentences or
counts for which service has been completed.
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    \6\ Section 102(b)(3) states: ``APPLICABILITY.--The amendments
made by this subsection shall apply with respect to offenses
committed before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act,
except that such amendments shall not apply with respect to offenses
committed before November 1, 1987.''
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    The Bureau asserts that any new recalculation based on the
revisions of the FSA does not constitute an untimely release and/or an
unlawful restraint on liberty. Although the legislative history refers
to this change as a ``fix'' to the Bureau's approach ``to accurately
reflect congressional intent,'' 164 Cong. Rec. S7774 (daily ed. Dec.
18, 2018), there was nothing unlawful about the pre-First Step Act
sentence credit system. Indeed, criminal defendants challenged the
Bureau's methodology and urged the courts to adopt essentially the
First Step Act's approach, but the Supreme Court rejected that
challenge, holding instead that the Bureau's interpretation was ``the
most natural reading'' of the statute. Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S. 474,
476 (2010).
Literacy Requirement
    The FSA did not change language indicating that, ``[i]n awarding
credit under this section, the Bureau shall consider whether the
prisoner, during the relevant period, has earned, or is making
satisfactory progress toward earning, a high school diploma or an
equivalent degree.'' In the current regulation, the Bureau interpreted
this part of the statute to require inmates to earn or make
satisfactory progress toward earning a General Educational Development
(GED) credential.
    In this proposed rule, however, we make a minor change to better
conform to the language of the FSA. In so doing, we propose to modify
the regulation to indicate that the Bureau will consider whether
inmates have earned or are making satisfactory progress toward earning
a high school diploma, equivalent degree, or Bureau-authorized
alternative program credit. We published similar language as a proposed
rule on January 9, 2015 (80 FR
[[Page 72277]]
1380) and received twenty-seven comments, most of which were in support
of the change. We re-frame the proposed change now as part of this
proposed rule and invite public comment once more.
    This is an exercise of the Director's authority under 18 U.S.C.
3624(b)(4) to make exemptions to the GED requirements as she deems
appropriate. Inmates who participate in or successfully complete an
``authorized alternative adult literacy program'' will not need to
demonstrate satisfactory progress toward earning a GED credential to be
considered for the full benefits of GCT. The purpose of this regulation
is to exercise the Director's discretion to authorize alternative adult
literacy programs which will more effectively meet the specialized
needs of inmates (such as inmates who have limited English proficiency,
in accordance with Executive Order 13166, or inmates facing learning
obstacles), and will also enable those inmates to qualify for GCT even
if they would not ordinarily qualify for the U.S.-based GED program.
    It has also become apparent that the Bureau's Literacy Program does
not meet the specific needs of certain groups of inmates, such as those
who are not proficient in the English language or who will be released
outside of the United States. For instance, according to officials from
the Mexican Ministry of Education, GED certificates are not accepted by
Mexican employers and government. Because of this, the Mexican
Secundaria Program (the compulsory education for Mexican nationals) is
a better alternative reentry program for inmates who will be released
to Mexico than the U.S.-based GED program. Therefore, for individuals
subject to a final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion whose
primary language is Spanish and whose release country accepts the
Mexican Secundaria certificates, the Mexican Secundaria Program is the
better, more practical option.
    The Bureau does not intend the Mexican Secundaria Program to be a
literacy option for U.S. citizen inmates. U.S. citizen inmates without
documented learning challenges are required to take the GED program to
enhance their opportunities for successful post-release employment
because GED certificates are the basic academic requirement for most
entry-level jobs in the United States. However, inmates subject to a
final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion remain eligible to
participate in literacy programs under part 544, even though it is not
required to qualify those inmates to earn GCT.
    Another group of inmates whose needs may not be met by the GED
program are those with learning challenges or obstacles, or those with
unique intellectual and employment needs who may have already reached
their optimum level of academic achievement. Under current regulations,
inmates whose cognitive abilities have precluded them from being able
to complete the GED tend to withdraw from the GED program or otherwise
receive exemptions for not showing a gain in academic achievement
scores. Under the proposed rule, these inmates also would be provided
with the option of participating in ``authorized alternative adult
literacy programs'' which would provide instruction in the development
of life skills.
Regulatory Analyses
Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13771
    This proposed rule falls within a category of actions that the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined do not constitute
``significant regulatory actions'' under section 3(f) of Executive
Order 12866 and, accordingly, it was not reviewed by OMB.
    The economic effects of this regulation are limited to the Bureau's
appropriated funds. This rule is expected to result in greater awards
of Good Conduct Time credit, which would reduce more terms of
imprisonment. A greater reduction in terms of imprisonment would
benefit both the inmates being released and the Bureau, which would
then have marginal savings in resources, staff time, and bedspace. At
this time, however, the Bureau cannot, with complete accuracy, estimate
the monetary value of that cost/resource savings. However, given the
current strain on the Bureau's resources, staff, and facilities, the
Bureau would expect any anticipated savings generated by this rule to
have minimal effect on the economy.
    The average per capita cost for the Bureau to incarcerate an inmate
is $90.10 per day. Earlier release dates will save the Bureau that
amount; however, the specific number of days will vary widely depending
on length of sentence and amount of GCT credited, and whether GCT is
withheld for disciplinary sanctions or failing to meet literacy
requirements. Therefore, specific savings cannot be calculated.
Further, any savings resulting from the application of this regulation
will only be realized upon an inmate's release, as his or her term of
imprisonment is recalculated under this revised regulation. Therefore,
the cost savings may not be fully realized until the revised projected
release dates, which could be decades in the future.
    For these reasons, it is not possible to forecast the actual cost
savings which may be generated by the application of this regulation.
Executive Order 13132
    This regulation will not have substantial direct effect on the
States, on the relationship between the national government and the
States, or on distribution of power and responsibilities among the
various levels of government. Therefore, under Executive Order 13132,
we determine that this regulation does not have sufficient federalism
implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
    The Director of the Bureau of Prisons, under the Regulatory
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), reviewed this regulation and by
approving it certifies that it will not have a significant economic
impact upon a substantial number of small entities for the following
reasons: This regulation pertains to the correctional management of
offenders committed to the custody of the Attorney General or the
Director of the Bureau of Prisons, and its economic impact is limited
to the Bureau's appropriated funds.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    This regulation will not result in the expenditure by State, local
and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of
$100,000,000 or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of
1995.
Congressional Review Act
    This regulation is not a major rule as defined by the Congressional
Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 804. This regulation will not result in an annual
effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in
costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition,
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of
United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies
in domestic and export markets.
[[Page 72278]]
List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 523
    Prisoners.
Kathleen Hawk Sawyer,
Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons.
    Under rulemaking authority vested in the Attorney General in 5
U.S.C. 301; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510 and delegated to the Director, Bureau of
Prisons in 28 CFR 0.96, we propose to amend 28 CFR part 523 as follows:
SUBCHAPTER B--INMATE ADMISSION, CLASSIFICATION, AND TRANSFER
PART 523--COMPUTATION OF SENTENCE
0
1. The authority citation for 28 CFR part 523 continues to read as
follows:
    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301; 18 U.S.C. 3568 (repealed November 1,
1987 as to offenses committed on or after that date), 3621, 3622,
3624, 4001, 4042, 4081, 4082 (Repealed in part as to conduct
occurring on or after November 1, 1987), 4161-4166 (repealed October
12, 1984 as to offenses committed on or after November 1, 1987),
5006-5024 (Repealed October 12, 1984 as to conduct occurring after
that date), 5039; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510.
0
2. Revise Sec.  523.20 to read as follows:
Sec.  523.20  Good Conduct Time.
    (a) Good conduct time (GCT) credit. The Bureau of Prisons (Bureau)
typically awards GCT credit to inmates under conditions described in
this section. GCT credit may be reduced if an inmate: (1) Commits
prohibited acts which result in certain disciplinary sanctions (see
part 541); or
    (2) Fails to comply with literacy requirements in this section and
part 544 of this chapter.
    (b) For inmates serving a sentence for offenses committed on or
after November 1, 1987: (1) The Bureau will initially determine a
projected release date based on the length of an inmate's imposed
sentence. The projected release date is subject to change during the
inmate's incarceration.
    (2) Any portion of a sentence that is less than a full year will be
calculated at a prorated amount.
    (3) An inmate may receive up to 54 days GCT credit on the
anniversary date of his/her imposed sentence, subject to the
requirements in this section.
    (4) When the inmate reaches the Bureau-projected release date, the
sentence will be satisfied/completed and the inmate will be eligible
for release.
    (c) For inmates serving a sentence for offenses committed on or
after November 1, 1987, but before September 13, 1994, GCT credit is
vested once received and cannot be withdrawn.
    (d) Literacy requirement. (1) For inmates serving a sentence for
offenses committed on or after September 13, 1994, but before April 26,
1996, all GCT credit will vest annually only for inmates who have
earned, or are making satisfactory progress toward earning, a high
school diploma, equivalent degree, or Bureau-authorized alternative
program credit (see part 544 of this chapter).
    (2) For inmates serving a sentence for an offense committed on or
after April 26, 1996, the Bureau will award:
    (i) Up to 54 days of GCT credit per year served on the anniversary
date of his/her imposed sentence, if the inmate has earned or is making
satisfactory progress toward earning a high school diploma, equivalent
degree, or Bureau-authorized alternative program credit; or
    (ii) Up to 42 days of GCT credit per year served on the anniversary
date of his/her imposed sentence, if the inmate does not meet
conditions described above (in (d)(2)(i)).
    (3) Aliens. Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraphs (1) and
(2), an alien who is subject to a final order of removal, deportation,
or exclusion, is not required to participate in a literacy program to
earn yearly awards of GCT credit. However, such inmates remain eligible
to participate in literacy programs under part 544.
[FR Doc. 2019-27976 Filed 12-30-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-05-P