Durbin, Booker Applaud Justice Department Decision To Reconsider Trump-Era Opinion And Allow Thousands Of Individuals To Remain On Home Confinement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism, today released the following joint statement after Attorney General Garland announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has reconsidered a Trump-era Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion that would have required individuals on CARES Act home confinement to return to prison at the end of the pandemic:


“In the closing days of the Trump Administration, the Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo wrongly declaring that federal inmates transferred to home confinement under the bipartisan CARES Act must return to Federal Bureau of Prisons custody following the COVID-19 emergency.  The reality is that these individuals pose no threat and are successfully reintegrating into their communities.  We thank Attorney General Garland for responding to our request to rescind this Trump-era opinion and look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration on community-based strategies to improve our criminal justice system.”


On April 23, 2021, Durbin and Booker sent a letter to Garland noting that OLC’s January 15, 2021 memorandum opinion incorrectly found that following the emergency period of the pandemic, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must recall federal inmates released to home confinement pursuant to the CARES Act and require these inmates to complete their sentences at BOP facilities.  In fact, the CARES Act does not require or permit BOP to recall these prisoners.


In a statement released Tuesday, Garland stated that DOJ “will exercise our authority so that those who have made rehabilitative progress and complied with the conditions of home confinement, and who in the interests of justice should be given an opportunity to continue transitioning back to society, are not unnecessarily returned to prison.”