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August 18, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Quick Facts: Currently positive-testing inmates: 387 (up from 370) Currently positive-testing staff: 318 (up from 309) Recovered inmates: 42,844 (down from 42,894) Recovered staff: 7,127 (up from 7,126)


Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Coleman II USP: 55 (unchanged)

Sheridan FCI: 30 (unchanged)

Berlin FCI: 29 (unchanged)

Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing staff:

Pollock USP: 29 (unchanged)

McCreary USP: 20 (up from 19)

Oakdale I FCI: 15 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 130,945 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,377 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 119,711 (down from 119,752) Positive tests: 42,712 (down from 42,744)

Total Vaccine doses distributed: 211,139

Case Note: Plea influenced by Government's threat to file prior felony complaint, and other factors, justifies release...


In U.S. v. Antonio Vela Avalos, 2021 WL 3617420 (D. Utah Aug. 16, 2021) (Kimball, J.), the court found, among other reasons, that because defendant’s decision to plead guilty was influenced by the Government’s threat to file a notice of prior drug convictions, and those convictions today would not expose him to a life sentence, release was warranted, explaining: "Based on this discovery, Mr. Avalos and his co-defendants were arrested. Mr. Avalos was in a difficult position due to his history of drug convictions. His prior convictions include four controlled substance violations, felony possession of stolen property, and a misdemeanor DUI. At that time, if Mr. Avalos was convicted, he would have faced a mandatory life sentence if the government filed notice of those prior drug convictions. With the possibility of a life sentence, Mr. Avalos accepted a plea deal in which he admitted to a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 in exchange for the government not seeking life. During sentencing, even though the government did not seek mandatory life, Mr. Avalos’ past convictions marked him as a career offender. … At the time of his arrest, Mr. Avalos was 46 years old. Now, a 54-year-old man, Mr. Avalos suffers from fairly typical conditions like hypertension, hypothyroidism, and knee, back, and shoulder pain. Less typical, however, Mr. Avalos suffers from a condition stemming from his past intravenous drug use. While incarcerated, Mr. Avalos has been an exemplary inmate: he has not had any write-ups, has been stably employed, obtained his GED, taken additional coursework (including some college courses), and broken his addiction to methamphetamine. … Now that the court has evaluated each of Defendant's claims, it must consider whether, as a whole, these circumstances satisfy the extraordinary and compelling standard. Candidly, the court has struggled with this decision; it is a close call. Nevertheless, the court finds that the totality of Defendant's circumstances are extraordinary and compelling for five reasons.First, it is indisputable that Defendant's sentence—or threat of a sentence—would not be as severe today as it was when he was charged. Second, Defendant is now 54 years old and has spent the last nine years incarcerated—which is four years more than the mandatory minimum he would face were he sentenced today. Third, during those nine years of incarceration, Mr. Avalos has been a model inmate, obtaining his GED, never being disciplined, and maintaining stable employment. These are uncommon rehabilitative steps for an inmate to take, especially at his age. Fourth, Defendant's recovery from his methamphetamine addiction strongly weighs in favor of the court's finding. Recovering from this addiction is extraordinary and compelling by any standard. Fifth and lastly, Defendant's ailment caused by intravenous drug use further adds to the court's finding. As a 54-year-old, Defendant's condition, although not now debilitating, can be serious and lead to declining health as he ages. While none of these five considerations alone are sufficient to warrant a reduction in sentence, the totality of Defendant's circumstances persuades the court that it should grant his motion.”



Death Watch: An additional inmate fatality -- as yet unnamed -- has been identified by the BOP, bringing the inmate death toll to 244. Five of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4



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