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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 22, 2015.
Reforming Alternatives to Incarceration and Sentencing to Establish a Better Path for Youth Act of 2015 or the RAISE Act of 2015
This bill amends the federal criminal code to permit a court to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum for certain nonviolent youth offenses if the mandatory minimum is unjust to the youth and not necessary to protect public safety.
The term "youth" means an individual prosecuted or sentenced for a criminal offense committed at age 21 or younger.
The bill requires the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to release early, subject to a period of pre-release custody, a nonviolent youth offender who has: (1) completed one half or more of his or her prison term, and (2) received no disciplinary violations for violent conduct in the last two years.
A court may reduce the prison term of a youth who has completed 20 years of such prison term if: (1) compelling evidence warrants a sentence reduction, and (2) the youth poses no public safety danger. Additionally, a court must treat as discretionary a mandatory life prison term for a youth offender and impose an appropriate sentence after considering the youth's age.
It limits to 30, 60, or 90 days the maximum prison term imposed on a defendant who commits a first, second, or third technical violation of a probation condition.
The BOP must separately designate youth correctional facilities, minimize contact between youth and other offenders, and establish youth education, skills training, reentry, and mental and emotional health programs.
The Department of Justice must establish pilot programs for diversion of high-risk, victimized, and primary caretaker youth. The BOP must establish pilot programs on youth mentorship, government service, and service to abandoned, rescued, or vulnerable animals.
This bill's provisions apply to youth involved in the federal criminal justice system before, on, or after enactment.