What You Need to Know About Prison Home Confinements and Rental Housing

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

What You Need to Know About Prison Home Confinements and Rental Housing

Becky Bower

Federal and state prisons are considering granting susceptible inmates early release in an effort to avoid major coronavirus outbreaks – and some already have. While many U.S. states were at the forefront of releasing nonviolent (often older) inmates early, the U.S. Attorney General issued his own order last Friday granting those eligible the option of home confinement.

But who will house these vulnerable federal prisoners? And how will state-wide early prison releases will affect the rental housing industry, leasing policies, and criminal background screening in the future?

While the industry’s future might seem like an uncertain, complex, legal-ridden mess, we’re here to help shed some light during potentially the darkest timeline.

The Federal Response: Home Confinement

On April 3rd, 2020, Attorney General Bill Barr ordered federal prison officials to prioritize releasing vulnerable inmates at facilities struggling to contain outbreaks of coronavirus. On the federal level, this presently speeds up the process in complexes in Danbury, Connecticut; Oakdale, Louisiana; and Elkton, Ohio. However, the migration to home confinement will increase as other facilities are impacted by the pandemic.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) update on April 5th reports that home confinement has already increased “by over 40% since March” and the Attorney General’s emergency order will only further increase these numbers.

With this initiative, the criteria in which inmates are considered for home confinement have also changed. According to Politico, federal prisoners were previously eligible for home confinement after they completed 90% of their sentences, but AG Barr’s memo pushes for earlier releases.

In late March, the AG issued guidance detailing a non-exhaustive list of factors to consider when assessing which inmates should be granted home confinement during the pandemic. These factors are:

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