News Release

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Welcomes BOP Rule Allowing for the Release of Thousands Under the First Step Act

Washington, DC (Jan. 13, 2022) – Thousands will be released from federal prisons in the coming weeks thanks to implementation of a rule created by the 2018 First Step Act. The rule, implemented today by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), allows incarcerated individuals to work toward home confinement or supervised release by completing approved Evidence-Based Recidivism Reduction (EBRR) Programs and Productive Activities (PAs). The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has long advocated for the passage and full implementation of the First Step Act and welcomes this step toward fulfilling the promise of the First Step Act by allowing incarcerated individuals to prepare for reentry into society in a meaningful way.

“The First Step Act reflects a commitment to redemption and rationality in the criminal legal system. We welcome BOP’s long overdue implementation of a rule designed to make our communities safer by reducing recidivism and by treating people caught in the system with humanity,” said NACDL President Martín Antonio Sabelli. “Now more than ever, in the midst of a pandemic raging in our jails and prisons, we must commit to fair, rational, and humane sentencing practices which allow incarcerated people to prepare to re-join their families and communities.”

“Opportunities to earn time credits reduce recidivism, facilitate re-entry, and move many out of harm's way and return them to their communities,” said NACDL Executive Director Lisa Wayne. “The implementation of this rule has been delayed for too long and has cost so many their freedom. These transfers are a start, but the Department of Justice must do more to honor the mandate of the First Step Act.”

NACDL continues to advocate for more robust reforms to harsh sentencing practices and calls on the BOP and the Department of Justice to more adequately and expediently enforce the First Step Act and provide an urgently needed path to rehabilitation and release.


Jessie Diamond, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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