Joe Giudice reported to Fort Dix just over a week ago on March 23, 2016. Just before his self-surrender, Joe gave an interview to People saying that it would be easy time and he could be out after serving only 18 or his 41 month sentence. He told the site, “”I shouldn’t be in there longer than a year and a half. You get good time, and now they have, with my kind of crime, you are eligible for programs in there so I will do as many programs as I can. A lot of programs knock 10 days off a month. So, whatever programs are available. I don’t care if I have to take up to 24 hours, seven days a week, I will knock off as many things to pass time and get it over with and get out. That’s what your goal is, to basically work on getting out.”
Joe is a wee bit confused. Currently the BOP lists Joe’s release date as, 3/14/2019, that assumes he will get his approximately five months of good time. If he doesn’t get good time his release date will be 8/23/2019. But let’s assume he doesn’t lose any of his good time. There are not “a lot of programs” that he can sign up for like macramé classes or weight watchers that will result in a sentence reduction. There are four. He can try for clemency (from say, the governor), he can try for compassionate release (if say he was dying or some other major tragedy was occurring), he can try for extended halfway house time through the Second Chance Act, or he can do the Residential Drug Addiction Program (RDAP). Of those four choices, he qualifies for one. The RDAP program.
Because Joe is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, I think he misunderstood the sentence reduction for completing RDAP. A prisoner who competes the program is eligible for up to 12 months off their sentence and an added 6 months to their halfway house time (if eligible, Teresa was not eligible for a halfway house and neither is Joe.) So I think he heard something like “You can get out of prison 18 months earlier (yet still serve an extra 6 in a halfway house) and interpreted that as him “getting out in a year and a half.” That is not going to happen. But you may be surprised to find out how quickly he could be out of Fort Dix.
Recently, some of you have been asking about reports that Joe is not eligible for RDAP in the first place because he is not eligible as a non US citizen. That is not true. If citizen or not, if you meet certain qualifications, which Joe does, you can in fact earn and receive a sentence reduction if you are admitted to the program. This is the same program that Apollo Nida is using to shave time off of his sentence. You know, in addition to being a rat which reduced his time considerably.
That’s another issue, the RDAP programs can only take as many inmates as they have funding for. Because of the opportunity for a reduced sentence, the program is exceedingly popular and a large percentage of inmates qualify. While he may not be approved for the program if space is in high demand, he does not currently have an INS detainer and is thereby currently qualified.
I recently contacted Keren H. Sohahong-Kombet, Founding Partner of Sohahong Law Group LLC who specializes in deportation cases who explained circumstances related to Joe and his RDAP eligibility. Ms. Sohahong-Kombet shared the following:
To answer your question, it’s incorrect that non-citizens are prohibited from participating in federal prison programs to gain early release. However, unlike U.S. citizens, once a non-citizen inmate completes the program and receives the credit, the federal prison notifies ICE of the prisoner’s new release date (usually about 6 months before the new date of release).Depending on the crime, ICE places what’s known as a detainer on the inmate. The detainer effectively notifies the prison that ICE intends to take custody of the individual upon his release from federal prison, and allows the prison to hold the inmate for up to 48 hours after his scheduled release so that ICE may seize him directly from the prison. Once ICE picks the inmate up, he is transferred to an ICE facility, and is no longer considered to be serving a prison sentence; he is now “civilly detained.” That may sound nicer than being “incarcerated,” but clients typically express that immigration detention is much worse than federal prison.In Mr. Giudice’s case, his crimes are considered “aggravated felonies” in the immigration context, so in all likelihood, ICE will lodge a detainer once his release date approaches, regardless of whether he serves the entire 41 months, or is scheduled for early release.