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Second Chance Act

On April 28, 2008, the President signed into law the Second Chance Act of 2007, 18 U.S.C.
§ 3624 was signed into law to improve the outcomes for people returning to communities from prisons and jails. This legislation authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide programs and services to help reduce recidivism.



In fiscal year 2010, $144 million were appropriated for prisoner reentry programs, including reentry initiatives in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Second Chance grant programs:

  1. * Reentry demonstration projects under Sec. 101
  2. * Mentoring grants to nonprofit organizations under Sec. 211 
  3. * Reentry Courts under Sec. 111
  4. * Family-based, substance abuse treatment under Sec. 113
  5. * Grants to evaluate and improve education in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities 
under Sec. 114
  6. * Technology career training demonstration grants under Sec. 115
  7. * Reentry Substance Abuse and criminal justice collaboration under Sec. 201
  8. * Reentry research under Sec. 245



This Act permits eligible inmates to spend some portion of the final twelve months of their sentence in a community correctional facility, also known as a halfway house or residential reentry center.

“The Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of the final months of that term (not to exceed 12 months), under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the community. Such conditions may include a community correctional facility.” Id. § 3624(c)(1). This authority “may be used to place a prisoner in home confinement for the shorter of 10 percent of the term of imprisonment of that prisoner or 6 months.” Id. § 3624(c)(2).

It should be noted that § 3624 expressly does not override the BOP’s authority to designate an appropriate facility, thus a prisoner must meet general eligibility requirements discussed above for these placements.

The regulation implementing this mandate provides that “[i]nmates may be designated to community confinement as a condition of pre-release custody and programming during the final months of the inmate’s term of imprisonment, not to exceed twelve months.” 28 C.F.R.
§ 570.21(a). This regulation also provides for “home detention as a condition of pre-release custody and programming during the final months of the inmate’s term of imprisonment, not to exceed the shorter of ten percent of the inmate’s term of imprisonment or six months.”

Pursuant to the Second Chance Act, the BOP staff is required to individually review inmates for RRC placement approximately 17-19 months before their projected release date, and inmates are to be individually considered using the five factors listed in §3621(b).

Inmates will be individually assessed for their appropriateness for and the length of pre-release RRC placements using the following five factors from 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b):

(1) The resources of facility contemplated,

(2) The nature and circumstances of the offense;

(3) The history and characteristics of the prisoner;

(4) Any statement by the court that imposes the sentence:

(a) Concerning the purposes for which the sentence to imprisonment was determined to be warranted; or

(b) Recommending a type penal or correctional facility as appropriate, and;

(5) Any pertinent policy statement issued by the U. S. Sentencing Commission.



Pursuant to the Second Chance Act, the Attorney General was directed to conduct a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of removing eligible elderly offenders from a Bureau of Prisons facility and placing such offenders on home detention until their term of confinement has expired. 42 U.S.C. §17451(g)(1)(A).

To be eligible for the Elderly Inmate Pilot Program, offenders must satisfy two sets requirements in addition to the requirement that the offender must be not less than 65 years of age:

(1) The offender must be serving a term of imprisonment other than life imprisonment based on a conviction for an offense or offenses that do not include any crime of violence, sex offenses, or other offenses enumerated inn the statute;

(2) The offender must have served greater of 10 years or 75% of the term of imprisonment imposed at sentencing;

(3) The offender must not have been convicted in the past of any Federal or State crime of violence, sex offense, or other offense enumerated in the statute.

(4) The offender must not have been determined by the BOP to have a history of violence or of sex offenses or the other offenses described in the statute;

(5) The offender must not have escaped or attempted to escape from a BOP institution;

(6) The BOP must determine that release of the offender to home detention will result in a substantial net reduction of costs to the federal government; and

(7) The BOP must determine that the offender poses no substantial risk of engaging in criminal conduct or of endangering any person if released to home detention.

Patrick Boyce Federal Mitigation Specialist at NCIA is an expert in the field of prison consulting and a 2003 graduate of the RDAP program. Successful RDAP eligibility, admissions and support maximizes ones chances of a sentence reduction and early release. Timing is critical with the ever changing and complex requirements surrounding what documentation is deemed acceptable for RDAP admission, it is extremely important to contact us as early in the process as possible. For a free no-obligation case analysis contact Patrick now!

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