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BOP COVID-19 UPDATE -- April 1, 2021

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Quick Facts:

Currently positive-testing inmates: 407 (down from 429)

Currently positive-testing staff: 1,265 (up from 1,273)

Recovered inmates: 46,894 (down(?) from 46,933)

Recovered staff: 5,477 (up from 5,457)

Note: the noted day-to-day reduction in "recovered inmates" is counter-intuitive unless inmates previously deemed "recovered" relapsed.

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

Beaumont USP: 57 (down from 59)

Coleman Low FCI: 56 (unchanged)

Oakdale II FCI: 41 (up from 40)

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

Pollock USP: 84

Coleman Medium FCI: 46

Talladega FCI: 46

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 125,972 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,744 in community-based facilities. Today's stats:

Completed tests: 108,939 (up from 108,889)

Positive tests: 46,501 (down(?) from 46,549)

Note: the supposedly "lower" total number positive tests appears anomalous.

Case Note: No, BOP's position regarding compassionate release is not entitled to deference (duh)

In U.S. v. STEPHEN JONES, 2021 WL 1197803 (D. Conn. Mar. 30, 2021) (Underhill, J.), the court ound that the BOP is not in the best position to weigh the merits of a CR motion: "The government additionally argues that the BOP is in the best position to make determinations regarding sentence reduction and modification and to appropriately balance public safety with the needs of each individual inmate. Accordingly, the government argues that the BOP's initial denial of Jones's motion for release should be afforded deference. … Additionally, the government's argument that the BOP has adequately managed the outbreak of Covid-19 among inmates at Fort Dix and that the risk of infection is comparable to the risk of infection in the greater community is unavailing. Although the BOP has surely undertaken significant measures to control the spread of the virus among incarcerated individuals, it is undeniable that the risk of transmission of an airborne virus like of Covid-19 is much higher in prisons[.] … I additionally cannot agree with the government's argument that because the BOP is well positioned to weigh the safety and health of inmates at a particular facility with public safety, it would be “imprudent to take the matter out of the hands of the BOP” and grant a motion for release following the BOP's denial or failure to act upon that motion. The very purpose of the First Step Act was to remove the BOP as the sole arbiter of motions for sentence reduction by permitting inmates to file motions directly. As the Second Circuit noted in interpreting the legislative history of that act, “[a]fter watching decades of the BOP Director's failure to bring any significant number of compassionate release motions before the courts, Congress allowed people seeking compassionate release to avoid BOP if BOP rejects their motions or fails to act on them.” Brooker, 976 F. 3d at 236. Nothing in that statute directs a court reviewing a motion brought by a defendant to afford deference to the BOP's initial denial of a motion for sentence reduction. … With regard to the requirement that a sentence appropriately “reflect the seriousness of the offense” and “provide just punishment”, Jones has served approximately 21 months of the 60-month sentence imposed. See Govt.’s Mem. Doc. No. 1181 at 2. I have previously denied motions for release where a defendant has served less than the majority of an imposed sentence. … Here, Jones pled guilty to a charge with a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, so I was not free to consider whether a less lengthy sentence may have been appropriate. Given his history, characteristics and efforts toward rehabilitation, I find that a sentence of time served is appropriate in this case. I note that the harshness of incarceration during the pandemic as a result of necessary lockdowns and quarantines additionally factors into my analysis.”

Death Watch: The BOP has identified no new inmate fatalities. Inmate deaths remain at 228. Four of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4.

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