Independent Review Committee Statement on DOJ’s First Step Act Implementation Progress and Status Report

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today announced release of an updated report on development and implementation of the First Step Act’s (FSA) statutorily required “Risk and Needs Assessment System” (RNAS).

As outlined in Title I of the FSA, that system is intended to assess the individualized risk of post-release recidivism for all prison inmates in federal custody; similarly assess each inmate’s criminogenic needs; incentivize inmates to address those needs through referrals to appropriate programming at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP); and reward inmates who successfully complete such programming and thus reduce their risk of post-release recidivism with “time credits” applicable in home confinement, residential reentry centers and halfway houses, or supervised release during what would otherwise be the end of their sentences.

Members of the Independent Review Committee (IRC), the panel of outside subject-area experts established by FSA to advise and assist the Attorney General with development and implementation of the RNAS, released the following joint statement:

“The IRC remains pleased and grateful that DOJ has proved receptive and attentive to its advice and counsel during development of and planning for PATTERN and related elements of FSA Title I’s RNAS. The Committee is committed to an ongoing collaboration with the Department as it continues to refine and expand its Title I efforts so that FSA’s promised benefits may be made available as widely as possible to BOP inmates and the public at large.”

For DOJ’s initial July 19 report on development and implementation of FSA’s RNAS, see here. For more information about FSA and the IRC, please visit or contact David Tell, Executive Director, First Step Act Independent Review Committee.

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