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BOP Good Time Ploy Exposed

Over the years has repeatedly gotten inquiries from readers in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inquiring about rumors that the amount of statutory good time they were eligible to earn under the new sentencing guidelines would be increased from 56 days a year to relieve prison crowding. Our response has been that given the political climate it will be surprising if good time remains at all, much less that itll be increased. As an example, the 1994 crime bill reduced good time awards to 54 days a year for "violent offenders." The sheer number of inquiries should have made us suspicious, but we attributed it to wishful thinking on the part of BOP prisoners.

PLN has received a signed copy of a memo marked "restricted communication" dated December 8, 1992, and signed by Philip Spears, warden. While the prison is not specified the American Corrections Association states that Mr. Spears was warden of the Federal Prison Camp in Big Spring, Texas, in the early 90s. The memo, addressed to all department heads on the subject of "EGT Dispensation Program" states:

"Thanks to all department heads for their participation in the EGT [Earned Good Time] Dispensation Program. I would like to encourage those departments not currently participating in the program to do so. This program is considered vital to the management of inmates throughout the Bureau of Prisons. Its simplicity and effectiveness has proven itself since its inception three (3) years ago."

"To reiterate my July 14, 1992, memorandum, the basic tenet of this program is as follows: 'Each department head will designate one staff member to leak information regarding upcoming extra good time awards to selected inmates. These awards being based upon good conduct, and participation in Bureau approved programs."

"Any questions regarding the EGT Dispensation program should be directed to Dr. Nancy Holmes (Program Coordinator), Psychology Department, Ext. 412."

It appears that the BOP realized that prisoners doing flat sentences of 30 and 40 years werent going to be inclined to be obedient if they could only get 56 days a year off their sentence. To cover up the fact that they had very little carrot they embarked on this program whereby the BOP dispenses rumors that more good time, i.e. shorter sentences, are just around the corner. All prisoners will have to do to get it is do whatever the BOP says and not rebel, it being understood that the BOP would do the awarding of the good time. An analogy is the donkey who has the carrot tied to its back dangling in front of him, no matter how far he walks itll never get the carrot.

In the real world only Congress can increase or change the amount of good time awarded to BOP prisoners. Given todays political climate, as exemplified by the recently passed crime bill, with the Gingrich controlled congress, does anyone think there is a likelihood laws will be passed to let federal prisoners out sooner? Thats unlikely, so stop dreaming about that carrot. Anyone wanting a copy of warden Spears memo should send PLN a SASE requesting it.

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