Home confinement for federal prisoners is about to expand with the release of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") new April 4, 2019, Operations Memorandum, Home Confinement Under the First Step Act. You can access a copy of the entire operations memorandum here: BOP Home Confinement Memorandum. We have previously reported about the BOP's implementation of the Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program. However, the April 4, 2019, Operations Memorandum gives greater detail about how the BOP intends to implement the new home confinement provisions of the First Step Act of 2018 ("First Step Act").

BOP Recognizes Its Duty To Increase Home Confinement For All Eligible Offenders

As part of the First Step Act, Congress amended 18 U.S.C. § 3621(c) by directing that:

The Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, place prisoners with lower risk levels and lower needs on home confinement for the maximum amount of time permitted under this paragraph.

The maximum amount of time that a prisoner may spend on home confinement is ten percent of their sentence or six months, whichever is less.

Home confinement Under First Step Act

Home confinement Under First Step Act

(Note: It is crucially important to remember that once the First Step Act is fully implemented, prisoners will be able to spend longer than six months on home confinement through the accumulation of "time credits" for engaging in productive activities such as working or taking BOP programs. The "banking" of time credits for increased home confinement is separate from the BOP's general statutory authority to place prisoners on home confinement for ten percent of their sentence, or six months, whichever is less).

According to the new BOP operations memorandum:

The Bureau interprets the language to refer to inmates that have lower risks of reoffending in the community, and reentry needs that can be addressed without RRC placement. The Bureau currently utilizes home confinement for these inmates. Accordingly, staff should refer eligible inmates for the maximum amount of time permitted under the statutory requirements.

The good news for prisoners and their family members is that BOP staff are now required to "refer eligible inmates for the maximum amount of time permitted under the statutory requirements." Again, that maximum amount is 10 percent of the sentence or six months, whichever is less. Individuals in federal prison who are close to release who have "lower risks of reoffending in the community, and reentry needs that can be addressed without RRC placement" should immediately request placement on home confinement for the maximum duration possible. Such requests should be directed to the inmate's case manager. Inmates in minimum or low-security institutions will most likely qualify for this benefit.

If you or your loved one want professional assistance in requesting home confinement from the BOP, the Law Office of Brandon Sample can assist you. Please contact us at 802-444-4357 or submit a contact form request here: free home confinement consultation.


The First Step Act authorizes the BOP to release eligible elderly offenders and eligible terminally ill offenders onto home confinement as part of a pilot program that runs through 2023.

The term eligible elderly offender means an offender in the custody of the Bureau-

(1) who is not less than 60 years of age;

(2) who is serving a term of imprisonment that is not life imprisonment based on conviction for an offense or offenses that do not include any crime of violence (as defined in section 16 of Title 18), sex offense (as defined in section 20911(5) of this title), offense described in section 2332b(g)(5)(B) of Title 18, or offense under chapter 37 of Title 18, and has served 2⁄3 of the term of imprisonment to which the offender was sentenced;

(3) who has not been convicted in the past of any Federal or State crime of violence, sex offense, or other offense described in paragraph (2), above.

(4) who has not been determined by the Bureau, on the basis of information the Bureau uses to make custody classifications, and in the sole discretion of the Bureau, to have a history of violence, or of engaging in conduct constituting a sex offense or other offense described in paragraph 2 above;

(5) who has not escaped, or attempted to escape, from a Bureau of Prisons institution (to include all security levels of Bureau facilities);

(6) with respect to whom the Bureau of Prisons has determined that release to home detention under this section will result in a substantial net reduction of costs to the Federal Government; and

(7) who has been determined by the Bureau to be at no substantial risk of engaging in criminal conduct or of endangering any person or the public if released to home detention.

The term eligible terminally ill offender means an offender in the custody of the Bureau who—

(1) is serving a term of imprisonment based on conviction for an offense or offenses that do not include any crime of violence (as defined in section 16(a) of Title 18, United States Code), sex offense (as defined in section 111(5) of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (34 U.S.C. § 20911(5))), offense described in section 2332b(g)(5)(B) of Title 18, United States Code, or offense under chapter 37 of Title 18, United States Code;

(2) satisfies the criteria specified in paragraphs 3 through 7 included in the Eligible Elderly Offender definition, above; and

(3) has been determined by a medical doctor approved by the Bureau, i.e. Clinical Director of the local institution, to be: in need of care at a nursing home, intermediate care facility, or assisted living facility, as those terms are defined in section 232 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. § 1715w); or diagnosed with a terminal illness.


According to the new Operations Memorandum, the following process will apply to elderly or terminally ill offenders qualified for release on home detention:

Offenders referred under this pilot shall be processed for home detention utilizing current RRC/Home Confinement procedures.

For Eligible Elderly Offenders, a BP-A0210, Institutional Referral for CCC Placement, will be completed. Staff should refer all inmates meeting criteria (1) through (5) in the definition of Eligible Elderly Offender, above. Reentry Services Division (RSD) staff will determine if the inmate meets criteria (6) and (7) under the definition. A clear annotation will be made on the referral packet that “This inmate is being referred for Home Confinement placement under the provisions contained in the First Step Act for placement of eligible elderly offenders and eligible terminally ill offenders.”

For Eligible Terminally Ill Offenders, to include debilitated offenders that may need placement in nursing home, intermediate care facility, or assisted living facility, institution staff will refer the inmate for a Reduction in Sentence (RIS) under Program Statement Compassionate Release/Reduction in Sentence: Procedures for Implementation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 3582 and 4205(g). If not appropriate for a RIS, the Office of General Counsel will provide RSD the RIS packet for consideration under this pilot.

Requests for participation in home detention pilot program must be routed through the inmate's case manager and unit team. Interestingly, inmates who are considered "terminally ill" will first be considered by the BOP for compassionate release before considered for release under the pilot program.


About Brandon Sample

Brandon Sample is an attorney, author, and criminal justice reform activist. Brandon’s law practice is focused on federal criminal defense, federal appeals, federal post-conviction relief, federal civil rights litigation, federal administrative law, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


  1. Mary on April 19, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    My name is mary, I am a quadriplegic with some use if my arms..I am accused of an non violent crime in the state of GA. I have read horror stories of Augusta Medical Prison, I know you are Federal work but is there any where I can turn to not go to this prison

  2. Nancy Hogan on April 22, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Could you speak to a question we have please? My husband was sentenced to 23 years in prison and has served 19 of those 23 years. Clearly he has served more than 2/3 of his sentence. His out date (WITH GOOD TIME CREDIT) is 8/2020. If he applies for and is granted release to home confinement (he is 63 years old) will his good time credits follow him; is his release from home confinement 8/2020 or 8/2023? I can find nothing in writing that clarifies this question.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Patricia cleary on May 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      Nancy while on home confinement, you are technically still under BOP jurisdiction, and your husband’s good conduct time adjustments will follow him.

    • Shannon Hamblin on November 11, 2019 at 11:52 am

      Once on home confinement if an inmate were 2 fail a drug test for suboxone within 36 hrs of being on house arrest what will happen 2 inmate how much longer will he have to serve in jail,do they take his good time

      • Shannon Hamblin on November 11, 2019 at 11:57 am

        Any info u could give me on the reppurcuations of failing as drug test 4 suboxone within 36 hrs of being on house arrest his serve date 2 door before house arrest was 2-28 -20will my husband loose his good time will he get out on his serve date

        • Carolyn on November 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm

          My husbands release date with bop is June 2021 He has good time all his classes in…the halfway house date is December 2020 but the case manager said he’s not putting the paperwork in until June 2020 with the dates and all when is the case manager supposed to put in the paperwork…because he’s giving my husband a hard time I thought the paperwork was supposed to go in 15 months….prior to going to the halfway house….

  3. John Moore on April 30, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Mr Sample,
    My brother who is currently out on bond, is scheduled for a Supervised Release Violation hearing near the end of May 2019. As part of his original 37 month sentence, he was also ordered to serve 5 years of Supervised Release. He has already completed 27 months of the 60 months supervised release. According to the violation worksheet, the most serious Grade of Violation is “B”, Criminal History Category is II and range of imprisonment is 6 – 12 months. The prosecutor has offered my brother a 12 month deal, which my brother has not accepted as of yet. Based on the information and details that I have provided, are there any sentencing options that the Judge has to choose from or is actual imprisonment the only option? Can the Judge sentence him to 6 months halfway house & 6 months home detention for example? Can the Judge sentence him to 1 year and a day, in order for him to receive Good Time credit and then serve approximately 5 to 6 months in prison and then go to the halfway house for the remaining 6 months, if he is sentenced to prison? Your answering these questions will be greatly appreciated.

  4. Sherrie Evans on May 8, 2019 at 3:07 am

    My brother is complicated he is in prison for a drug crime while on parole but he went 10 years with out getting into trouble , He was a productive member of society, got cdl had a home and his own vehicles and he is a very hard worker , he’s a good person loves people respectful kind and loves lol sports ! He loves his family and he just doesn’t belong in Prison for 10 years , what’s even worse is they have him in the Polensky unit wich is for the most violent criminals ever , ( death row ). He drives a truck for the prison too, please help me I’m desperate and he has parole hearing coming up in 5 months ,,

  5. Kenneth Terrell on May 25, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    I am a federal Resident at the Augusta Federal halfway house. My home confinement eligibility date was Jan. 14 2019.

    I have been at the halfway house since 3/13/19. I have completed all the programs, I have a job, I pay my subsistence payments as required. My counselor put me in for home confinement, but the paperwork didn’t make it to the Probation office in Savannah (my home address is Savannah).

    Finally, after my complaint the counselor was forced to get my paperwork to the right place. I was threatened that I better not call anyone else. FINALLY, the Probation officer made it to my house, told my wife, everything was good, but now I am being told that my home address wasn’t approved. I asked why, I was told that there was no reason, but we may not ever find out why.

    So the probation officer had been out of his office, so I am 48 days from my release date, met ALL requirements for home detention but here I sit. Can I do anything at all??

  6. Ana Pappas on July 14, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Hello, I hope you can help.
    Currently, the inmate in question is in an FPC with a release date of May 2021. According to our calculations, she should be eligible to be placed on home confinement in May-June 2020. We are trying to figure out all the logistics of bringing her home and ensuring she has a place to live, which is complicated, so I have 3 questions:
    1. You mention that the inmate should request direct placement into home confinement vs first going to a halfway house through their case manager; I have read that we need to write to our congressman and district representatives and ask constituent services to mediate this request on our behalf. Which is the case?
    2. At what point does time-earned stop being accrued towards release? We are trying to estimate when she will be released based on good time and time-earned, and there is no clear guidance as to when in the process the calculation of time-earned stops being added towards time served in order to pinpoint a release date.
    3. How far in advance should we expect to know the exact release date and how long does the process take? I’ve read it can take 18 months.
    Thank you so much.

  7. Davina White on September 25, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Hello- My husband is currently in the RRC in Brooklyn, NY and his release time is 12/13/19 and his 10% date had passed and his social worker has yet to request home confinement for him. He’s been at the halfway house since 7/20/19. Who can I call to help move this process along. He has a non- violent crime and follows all the rules plus he is employed. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank You

  8. Derrick Kyles on October 7, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    My wife have been sentenced to 6 months in federal camp in Bryan, Texas . Will she be able to serve any of her time in home confinement. She has a job and her job is holding her position for only 3 months.

    • David moon on October 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm

      Did you hear about a program “oaks of justice”? Home Confinement for low risk, first time camp bop inmates?

  9. Linda Grizzle on October 30, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Hello my son currently has 22 months of a 17 year sentence. He has already served 14 years. Is home confinement an option? He will have his own home beside me his mother or he can live with me. When should he put in for halfway house or home confinement. He is sentenced to halfway house for at least a year.

  10. Michael Fremin on October 30, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Good evening… My wife is incarcerated In Alabama at a Camp at the present time, and has MS.. currently her MS has been acting up causing more nerve damage. As stated by her doctor that they take her to, when she has an “episode”, she needs steroids immediately after.. Her visit today is 6 weeks after an episode; which means it is too late for the treatment.. I am concerned that the lack of medical treatment at that facility, even though it is thoroughly noted in the medical records, could lead to her eventually loosing all of her mobility. She is currently starting on year 3 of an 8 year sentence for Wire Fraud (1 count) and Theft (1 count).. Is there anyway to get the DOJ to review her case and assign her the rest of her confinement at home, where she could get medical care using our own insurance and no cost to the tax payer as well as start the payment of restitution. She is a first AND LAST time offender..
    Thank you in advance

  11. Raymond Romero on November 5, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    I have been sentenced to a halfway house for two months for a federal misdemeanor probation violation. Is home confinement an option? I have my own home and have a full time job. What is an issue is that my job is an hour and a half away from halfway house where as it is 40 min from my home

  12. Larry Ammons on November 17, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    I was a federal inmate convicted under tha ACA and received 215 months. I served more than 11 years before being release under UNITED STATES V STITT in the Sixth Circuit.
    I am now being forced to return to prison because that case was over turned and the gov is seeking to have all released returned.
    I have been out for 2 years and 4 months. I have started 2 business, married and have no negative probation reviews.
    I am being represented by the public defenders office in Memphis.
    Is there anything I can do at this point?

    • Gina on December 29, 2019 at 6:37 pm

      I Would like to know on the first step act if Donald Trump has pass the bill on. The credits earned on programs that you do in there. My husband has nine months left and I was hoping if this went into a fact he will be home earlier.
      Thank you!!

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