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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: June 25, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 122)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 37776-37778]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr25jn03-22]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Bureau of Prisons

28 CFR Part 523

[BOP-1112-P]
RIN 1120-AB12

 
Good Conduct Time: Aliens With Confirmed Orders of Deportation, 
Exclusion, or Removal

AGENCY: Bureau of Prisons, Justice.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In this document, the Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) proposes to 
amend its rules on Good Conduct Time (GCT). The purpose of this 
proposed rule is to more effectively reduce the lengthy General 
Educational Development (GED) waiting lists and to reevaluate the 
``satisfactory progress in a literacy program'' provision of the 
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) and/or 
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA) for aliens with 
confirmed orders of deportation, exclusion, or removal. This proposed 
rule will increase the proportion of our literacy funds and resources 
that go to inmates who will remain in the U.S. after release.
    This proposed rule will exempt such inmate aliens from the 
``satisfactory progress in a literacy program'' provision of the 
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) and/or 
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA). The Bureau's Literacy 
Program rules

[[Page 37777]]

currently comprise only GED attainment. This means that inmate aliens 
who have confirmed orders of deportation, exclusion, or removal, but do 
not have a high school diploma or GED, will not need to demonstrate 
satisfactory progress toward earning a GED credential to be considered 
for the full benefits of GCT. When considering GCT, we propose to allow 
54 days GCT for each year served if the inmate is an alien with a 
confirmed order of deportation, exclusion, or removal from the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (now referred to as the 
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS)).
    In this document, we also propose to reorganize the rule for 
clarity and accuracy. Other than the substantive change regarding 
sentenced deportable aliens, we make no further substantive changes.

DATES: Comments are due by August 25, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments to Rules Unit, Office of General Counsel, 
Bureau of Prisons, 320 First Street, NW., Washington, DC 20534.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Qureshi, Office of General 
Counsel, Bureau of Prisons, phone (202) 307-2105.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Is the Purpose of This Rule Change?

    The purpose of this proposed rule is to more effectively reduce the 
lengthy General Educational Development (GED) waiting lists and to 
reevaluate the ``satisfactory progress in a literacy program'' 
provision of VCCLEA/PLRA for aliens with confirmed orders of 
deportation, exclusion, or removal. This proposed rule will increase 
the proportion of our literacy funds and resources that go to inmates 
who will remain in the U.S. after release.
    VCCLEA/PLRA requires that inmates lacking a high school diploma or 
GED must participate satisfactorily in the literacy program to receive 
full benefits of GCT.
    In November 1997, the Bureau's education staff implemented the 
literacy provision of VCCLEA and PLRA (see 28 CFR 544.70-544.75). 
Inmates sentenced under either of these two laws must enroll or re-
enroll in a literacy program and make satisfactory progress towards 
earning a GED credential. If they do not do this, inmates may suffer 
negative consequences to their GCT credit. For PLRA inmates, this would 
mean not being eligible for the maximum, 54 days, of GCT (see 28 CFR 
523.20(a)(1)). For VCCLEA inmates, this would result in their GCT not 
vesting.
    Although we made extensive efforts to enroll as many inmates in 
literacy programs as possible, the waiting lists for enrollment in 
these programs grew from no appreciable waitlist in August 1997 to 
11,397 in April 2003. Aliens with confirmed deportation orders 
represent a small fraction of all VCCLEA/PLRA sentenced inmates without 
a verified GED. On April 14, 2003, 6% of all VCCLEA/PLRA sentenced 
inmates without a verified GED were aliens with confirmed deportation 
orders (2,390 out of 39,562).
    18 U.S.C. 3624(b)(4) gives the Director authority to make 
exemptions to the GED requirements as he deems appropriate. Through our 
literacy program, we help inmates compete for available jobs and cope 
with post-release community, family, and other responsibilities. 
Because we must concentrate our resources on inmates who will be 
released into U.S. communities, we will not require inmates with 
confirmed orders of deportation, exclusion, or removal to participate 
in the literacy program.
    In this proposed rule, we make an exemption to the GED requirements 
to provide relief to the growing demand for literacy programs by 
amending 28 CFR 523.20 to allow the full benefit of GCT provisions for 
aliens with confirmed orders of deportation, exclusion, or removal. 
These inmates may still participate in the literacy program, even 
though it will not affect their GCT.

What Is the Bureau Proposing to Change?

    We propose to change 28 CFR 523.20(a)(1) on Good Conduct Time to 
allow 54 days GCT for each year served if the inmate is an alien with a 
confirmed order of deportation, exclusion, or removal from the INS 
(BCIS). We published this rule as an interim final rule on September 
26, 1997 (62 FR 50786). We received no public comment on that interim 
rule. This rulemaking is a change to the same interim rules.
    This proposed rule will have the practical effect of exempting 
aliens with confirmed orders of deportation, exclusion, or removal from 
participating in the literacy program, as set forth in 28 CFR 544.70-
544.75. The Bureau's Literacy Program, described in 28 CFR part 544, 
subpart H, currently comprises only GED attainment.
    Such inmate aliens can vest (VCCLEA) or will retain eligibility for 
the full benefits of GCT (PLRA) even if they choose not to participate 
in the literacy program. However, the proposed rule does not prevent 
any of these inmates from participating in the literacy program.
    In this document, we also propose to reorganize the rule for 
clarity and accuracy. Other than the substantive change regarding 
sentenced deportable aliens, we make no further substantive changes.

Who Will This Rule Affect?

    This proposed rule will affect inmate aliens with confirmed orders 
of deportation, exclusion, or removal. These inmates will not need to 
participate in the literacy program to retain the maximum GCT credit of 
54 days or to have their GCT vest.

Where Can I Send Comments, and How Will the Bureau Consider Them?

    You can send written comments on this proposed rule to the Rules 
Unit, Office of General Counsel, Bureau of Prisons, 320 First Street, 
NW., Washington, DC 20534.
    We will consider comments we receive during the comment period 
before we take final action. In light of comments we receive, we may 
change the proposed rule.
    We do not plan to have oral hearings on this proposed rule. All the 
comments we receive will remain on file for public inspection at the 
above address.

Executive Order 12866

    This regulation has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with 
Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'', section 
1(b), Principles of Regulation. The Director of the Bureau of Prisons 
has determined that this rule is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), and accordingly 
this rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

Executive Order 13132

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Under Executive Order 13132, this rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications for which we would 
prepare a federalism assessment.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Director of the Bureau of Prisons, under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), reviewed this regulation. By 
approving it, the Director certifies that it will not have a 
significant economic impact upon a substantial

[[Page 37778]]

number of small entities because: this rule is about the correctional 
management of offenders committed to the custody of the Attorney 
General or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, and its economic 
impact is limited to the Bureau's appropriated funds.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not cause State, local and tribal governments, or 
the private sector, to spend $100,000,000 or more in any one year, and 
it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. We do 
not need to take action under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by Sec.  804 of the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This rule will 
not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; 
a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets.

List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 523

    Prisoners.

Harley G. Lappin,
Director, Bureau of Prisons.

    Under the rulemaking authority vested in the Attorney General in 5 
U.S.C. 552(a) and delegated to the Director, Bureau of Prisons, we 
propose to amend 28 CFR part 523 as follows.

SUBCHAPTER B--INMATE ADMISSION, CLASSIFICATION, AND TRANSFER

PART 523--COMPUTATION OF SENTENCE

    1. The authority citation for 28 CFR part 523 is revised to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 18 U.S.C. 3568 (repealed November 1, 
1987, as to offenses committed on or after that date), 3621, 3622, 
3624, 4001, 4042, 4081, 4082 (Repealed in part as to conduct 
occurring on or after November 1, 1987), 4161-4166 (repealed October 
12, 1984, as to offenses committed on or after November 1, 1987), 
5006-5024 (Repealed October 12, 1984, as to conduct occurring after 
that date), 5039; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510.

    2. Revise Sec.  523.20 to read as follows:


Sec.  523.20  Good conduct time.

    (a) For inmates serving a sentence for offenses committed on or 
after November 1, 1987, but before September 13, 1994, the Bureau will 
award 54 days credit toward service of sentence (good conduct time 
credit) for each year served. This amount is prorated when the time 
served by the inmate for the sentence during the year is less than a 
full year.
    (b) For inmates serving a sentence for offenses committed on or 
after September 13, 1994, but before April 26, 1996, all yearly awards 
of good conduct time will vest for inmates who have earned, or are 
making satisfactory progress (see Sec.  544.73(b) of this chapter) 
toward earning a General Educational Development (GED) credential.
    (c) For inmates serving a sentence for an offense committed on or 
after April 26, 1996, the Bureau will award:
    (1) 54 days credit for each year served (prorated when the time 
served by the inmate for the sentence during the year is less than a 
full year) if the inmate has earned or is making satisfactory progress 
toward earning a GED credential or high school diploma; or
    (2) 42 days credit for each year served (prorated when the time 
served by the inmate for the sentence during the year is less than a 
full year) if the inmate has not earned or is not making satisfactory 
progress toward earning a GED credential or high school diploma.
    (d) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of 
this section, an alien who is subject to a final order of removal, 
deportation, or exclusion is eligible for, but is not required to, 
participate in a literacy program, or to be making satisfactory 
progress toward earning a General Educational Development (GED) 
credential, to be eligible for a yearly award of good conduct time.
    (e) The amount of good conduct time awarded for the year is also 
subject to disciplinary disallowance (see tables 3 through 6 in Sec.  
541.13 of this chapter).

[FR Doc. 03-15823 Filed 6-24-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-05-P



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