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BOP COVID-19 UPDATE -- April 13, 2021





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Quick Facts:


Currently positive-testing inmates: 293 (up from 245)

Currently positive-testing staff: 1,213 (up from 1,207)

Recovered inmates: 46,737 (down from 46,745)

Recovered staff: 5,614 (up from 5,594)

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:

Berlin FCI: 76 (up from 69)

Oakdale II FCI: 29 (up from 16)

San Diego MCC -- 26


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

Pollock USP: 84 (unchanged)

Coleman Medium FCI: 47 (unchanged)

Talladega FCI: 46 (unchanged)


System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 126,130 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,598in community-based facilities. Today's stats:


Completed tests: 109,772 (up from 109,577)

Positive tests: 46,258 (up from 46,207)


Case Note: Recover from COVID + vaccination no assurance of safety....


In U.S. v. ROGER SWEET, 2021 WL 1339574 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 9, 2021) (Roberts, J.), the court was not convinced that defendant was sufficiently safeguarded from infection by virtue of having "recovered" from COVID and received the Maderna vaccine, explaining defendant "was paroled into federal custody after serving 12 years in Michigan custody to serve the remaining 17 years of his child molestation sentence, but the 73 year old's behaviour over 14 years is enough to merit release when considering the continued risk posed by COVID, even though he’s had it and been vaccinated: "Sweet pled guilty to four counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) and one count of Attempted Receipt of Child Pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2). This Court gave Sweet concurrent sentences of 262 months on Counts 1-4 and 240 months on Count 5. Sweet is housed at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Milan with a release date of December 22, 2037. … The government says it typically would concede that an inmate with Sweet's medical conditions satisfies the extraordinary and compelling prong, but they oppose here for two reasons: (1) Sweet tested positive and recovered from COVID-19; and (2) Sweet received the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 on January 28, 2021. Accordingly, it contends, the chances that Sweet will contract the virus again are remote.Two factors undoubtedly place Sweet at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19: his age and chronic kidney disease. … Although the Court agrees with the government that recovering from COVID-19 and being fully vaccinated decreases one's likelihood of severe COVID symptoms, recent data reveals that the threat of severe illness or death from COVID-19, while diminished, is nevertheless real. An Illinois district court expressed skepticism at the government's reinfection argument and described relevant scientific findings as follows:

[T]he World Health Organization (WHO) issued a scientific brief saying that the public belief that a one-time infection leads to immunity remains unproven and is unreliable as a basis for response to the pandemic. See WHO, "Immunity Passports" in the Context of COVID-19, https://www.who.int/newsroom/commentaries/detail/immunity-passports-in-the-context-of-covid-19 (last accessed June 22, 2020). Specifically, the WHO says that "[t]here is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection." Id. The risk of reinfection is not merely theoretical.

Sweet also produced a series of BOP press releases in which an inmate tested positive for COVID-19 twice. In one instance, the inmate died. See BOP Press Release, Inmate Death at FCI Butner (Low) (Sept. 17, 2020). More broadly, 246 fully vaccinated Michiganders contracted COVID-19 between January 2021 and March 2021. … Of that group, three died. The likelihood of reinfection for Sweet may be even higher than for someone not incarcerated because of the congregate prison setting. The frequent large-scale movements of inmates around prison facilities create ideal conditions for the disease's spread. … Sweet admits that his underlying crimes are extremely serious but says he has been a model inmate. To date, he has incurred no disciplinary infractions while in custody which Sweet says, demonstrates that he can comply with strict rules. Sweet also argues fourteen years in custody satisfies the purposes of sentencing. The government says the nature and circumstances of Sweet's crimes – raping and sexually assaulting a special needs child – are shocking and counsel against his release. … Sweet's actions were abhorrent. Nobody, including Sweet, underestimates the seriousness of his crimes; the details are contained in the presentence report and need not be fully repeated here. Accordingly, the nature and circumstances of the underlying offense weigh heavily against Sweet. However, the Court's inquiry does not stop at evaluating the actions which underpin Sweet's sentence. The Court must evaluate the remaining § 3553(a) factors including whether Sweet remains a dangerous to society. Without a single disciplinary action in fourteen years of incarceration, Sweet's behavior demonstrates a respect for the law and indicates how he may perform on supervised release. See United States v. Fields, No. 12-cr-20274, ECF No. 50 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 8, 2020). Additionally, Sweet is now 73 years old which could reduce the likelihood that he will recidivate. See Office of the Inspector Gen., U.S. Dep't of Justice, The Impact of An Aging Inmate Population on the Federal Bureau of Prisons 40 (2016).”

Death Watch: The BOP has identified no new inmate fatalities, Inmate deaths remain at 230. Four of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4.

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