News Release

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Commends Biden Administration’s Decision to Reconsider Returning Individuals to Prison after COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC (Dec. 21, 2021) – NACDL commends the Department of Justice’s decision to reconsider returning individuals on CARES Act home confinement to prison. The CARES Act has allowed thousands of incarcerated individuals to serve their sentences safely at home and has demonstrated the effectiveness of home confinement as an alternative to prison. NACDL and its partners have long advocated against the DOJ’s previous decision to return these individuals to prison at the conclusion of the pandemic. Today, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Department of Justice has rescinded its previous memo and given the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) the authority to permit individuals to remain on home confinement. NACDL implores the BOP to exercise this authority and allow anyone released on CARES Act home confinement to serve out their sentences at home.

“Thanks to this decision – advocated for by NACDL and its partners -- thousands of fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers can continue to rebuild their lives and their communities rather than needlessly returning to prison. Each and every one of these people remind us of the power of redemption and the need to reexamine the reflexive instinct to imprison,” said NACDL President Martín Antonio Sabelli. “Reversing mass incarceration means not only looking forward but also extending a hand back to those whose continued imprisonment serves no purpose.”

“The Department of Justice agrees that individuals who have successfully reintegrated into society, obtained jobs, signed leases, enrolled their children in schools, and complied with their conditions of release should not be senselessly ripped from their lives and sent back to prison, but there is still more to be done,” said Elizabeth Blackwood, NACDL Counsel and Director of the First Step Act Resource Center. “The White House should now continue to consider clemency for those on CARES Act home confinement who at any time could be sent back to prison should the BOP determine that they violated even minor conditions of home confinement.”

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Jessie Diamond, Public Affairs & 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.