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Federal Prisons Push for Mandatory Restitution

Federal Prisons Push for Mandatory Restitution

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) recently announced a major proposal for the way incarcerated individuals make phone calls and buy items for personal use. Going forward, inmates could be required to pay victims before they are allowed to make telephone calls or purchase products from the prison commissary. The new rule mandates that 75% of any money received by an inmate must go towards paying off their outstanding debts to their victims. This controversial and potentially harmful position could have significant implications for prison conditions. Continue reading to learn more.

Promoting Restitution

The BOP believes that this policy will help promote restitution by ensuring that victims receive the funds they are due while also allowing those in custody an opportunity to develop responsible financial habits. This shift comes as part of a larger effort by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to improve access to victim services and increase accountability among individuals who have committed crimes involving serious injury or malice.


This program has been met with both criticism and praise. On the one hand, some justice advocacy groups have argued that this policy unfairly impacts those in custody who may not be able to afford to pay their victims and could result in further economic marginalization of already vulnerable populations. Likewise, activists have raised concerns about how this will affect families whose incarcerated relatives are unable to send them money or buy items they need while inside.

Some experts in prison reform and criminal justice are skeptical of the new policy, stating that prisons need comprehensive reform, rather than punitive measures. Addressing root causes such as trauma, substance abuse, and lack of education is key to reforming the prison system.


On the other hand, advocates for victims' rights have applauded the policy as a way to ensure that restitution is paid, and wrongful acts are not forgotten. Supporters also point out that while inmates may struggle financially, they will benefit from developing good financial habits before returning home. Furthermore, prison officials affirm that individuals who cannot pay their victims will still receive basic care and access to services, such as education and counseling.


Ultimately, the success of this policy will depend on how it is implemented in practice. It remains to be seen whether the BOP's efforts will translate into real and meaningful changes for victims and those in custody. It is alarming to see federal prisons go in the same direction as private prisons. These oppressive policies may grant victims and their families a reprieve, but it is more likely that inmates’ families will be unjustly targeted.

For those accused and convicted of a crime, their sentence is not handed down in a vacuum. Their families and their lives after release are permanently shaped by incarceration. The stigma of a criminal record, the cost owed by families, and the resulting trauma leave scars.

If you have been accused of a crime, you must contact a qualified attorney immediately. Our fierce advocates at The Draskovich Law Group can protect your rights and interests. Contact our firm for more information.


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