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August 26, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG


Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 114 BOP facilities and 14 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 448 (up from 423) Currently positive-testing staff: 634 (up from 616) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 49,343 (down from 49,383) Recovered staff: 13,627 (up from 13,621)


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

Oakdale FCI: 48 (unchanged)

Schuylkill FCI: 40

Oklahoma City FTC: 26 (up from 23)

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

Central Office HQ: 57 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 28 (unchanged)

Brooklyn MDC: 23 (up from 22)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 141,795 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,903 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,723 (up from 128,720) Positive tests: 55,371 (up from 55,368)


Total vaccine doses administered: 328,441 (up from 328,173)


Case Note: A cautionary tale regarding the intricacies of exhaustion...


In U.S. v. MATTHEW RAY VALENZUELA, 2022 WL 3577074 (D.N.M. Aug. 19, 2022) (Johnson, CJ), although ultimately denying compassionate relief on the merits, the court’s expression of uncertainty regarding whether defendant exhausted administrative remedies should be a warning that defendants must take every precaution to ensure the exhaustion requirement is satisfied, the court explaining: "Defendant's Motion contends that he exhausted his administrative remedies. (Doc. 50 at 1). He states that “[m]ore than 30 days have passed since Valenzuela's petitioned Warden Hijar for compassionate release. She has failed to respond to Valenzuela's petition within this 30 day period.” (Doc. 50 at 1). The Motion was filed on April 15, 2022. (Doc. 50 at 1). In its Response, the United States contends that Defendant has not exhausted his administrative remedies. (Doc. 54). An e-mail string attached to the Response indicates that the BOP has no record of any request for compassionate release from Valenzuela. (Doc. 54-1 at 1). Defendant Valenzuela's Motion attaches a copy of what appears to be a computer system printout from TRULINCS 90399051 dated March 8, 2022. (Doc. 50 at 5). It recites that it was “DELIVERED VIA The U.S. PRISON MAIL SYSTEM AT LA TUNA,” is addressed to “Mr. M. Palacios, Acting Camp Administrator, FPC at La Tuna, P.O. Box 1000, Anthony, New Mexico 88021,” and indicates “Cc: Warden Sandra Hijar” at the bottom. (Doc. 50 at 5, 7). However, Valenzuela's Motion states:

The petition was transmitted to Warden Hijar via electronic messaging to Mr. M. Palacios, the Acting Camp Administrator. Warden Hijar does not have an email address that is accessible by inmates at the prison camp. Emails addressed to Warden Hijar are delivered to her by senior staff members ...”

(Doc. 50 at 1). Attached to Defendant's Reply is a response from S. Hijar, Warden, dated April 19, 2022, denying Valenzuela's request for compassionate release. (Doc. 56 at 10). The Warden's response advises Valenzuela that he may appeal the decision via the administrative remedy process within 20 days of receipt of the response. (Doc. 56 at 10). Although the Warden's response is dated more than 30 days after the March 8, 2022 date when Valenzuela contends the request was sent, the statutory time is calculated from the receipt of such a request by the warden. § 3582(c)(1)(A) (emphasis added). There is nothing in the record establishing when Warden Hijar actually received Valenzuela's request for compassionate release. Defendant Valenzuela's second Motion for compassionate release was filed in this Court four days before the April 19, 2022 response by the Warden, but it is unclear whether 30 days had passed from receipt of the request by the Warden at the time he filed the motion. … On the record, it is questionable whether Defendant Valenzuela met the exhaustion requirements of § 3582(c)(1)(A) prior to filing his second Motion for compassionate release and the Court is unable to definitively determine whether Valenzuela exhausted his administrative remedies.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified no new COVID-related fatalities. The total number COVID-related inmate deaths remains at 306. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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