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bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedDecember 9th, 2013

What is it?

S.1783 — the Federal Prison Reform Act — aims to reform the prison system by monitoring recidivism rates in federal prisons.

If passed, highlights of the bill include:

  • The creation of a “Post-Sentencing Risk and Needs Assessment System” that tracks the recidivism rates of all U.S. federal prisoners.
  • Granting authority to the Attorney General to develop recidivism reduction programs.
  • Promoting research on the success of recidivism reduction programs.
  • Allowing prisoners with low-risk of recidivism to earn up to 50% of their prison time in home confinement or a halfway house if they meet certain benchmarks in recidivism reduction programs.
  • Giving prisoners with medium to high-risks of recidivism the opportunity to earn "credits" to re-categorize themselves as low-risk.
  • Penalizing the Bureau of Prisons for any failure to implement the program,

The program would exclude sex offenders, violent offenders, terrorists, major organized crime offenders (think leaders of drug cartels and human trafficking operations) and major fraud offenders.


The 214,000+ people in federal prisons, their families, the Bureau of Prisons,


A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note:

Recidivism or "relapses into criminal behavior" is a huge factor for people in federal prisons. A study conducted by the Bureau of Justice on national recidivism found that:

  • "Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
  • Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
  • Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.
  • Property offenders were the most likely to be rearrested, with 82.1 percent of released property offenders arrested for a new crime compared with 76.9 percent of drug offenders, 73.6 percent of public order offenders and 71.3 percent of violent offenders."

Recidivism rates vary for every prisoner, depending on age, offense, sex, and number of prior arrests.


Sponsoring Sen. John Cornyn (TX-R) Press Release

The Houston Chronicle

(Photo Credit: The Nation)


Federal Prison Reform Act of 2013

Official Title

A bill to enhance public safety by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Federal prison system with offender risk and needs assessment, individual risk reduction incentives and rewards, and risk and recidivism reduction.