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BOP COVID-19 UPDATE -- April 27, 2021

Quick Facts:

Currently positive-testing inmates: 214 (down from 285)

Currently positive-testing staff: 162 (down from 169)

Recovered inmates: 46,508 (up from 46,454)

Recovered staff: 6,706 (up from 6,690)

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

San Diego MCC: 33 (down from 47)

Berlin FCI: 19 (down from 48)

Oakdale II FCI: 18 (unchanged)

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

Petersburg Low FCI: 14 (unchanged)

Pekin FCI: 7

Yazoo City USP: 7 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 127,276 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,582 in community-based facilities. Today's stats:

Completed tests: 111,253 (up from 111,051)

Positive tests: 45,986 (down from 46,003)

Case Note: Outrageous trial penalty supports Compassionate Release...

In U.S. v. JERMAINE JERRELL SIMS, 2021 WL 1603959 (E.D. Va. Apr. 23, 2021) (Hilton, J.), the court found an unfathomable trial penalty to be an extraordinary and compelling reason to right a wrong under § 3582(c), explaining, "Prior to trial, Sims was offered a plea agreement, under which he would have pled guilty to one count of misprision of a felony, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4, with a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison. However, Sims proceeded to trial, waiving, on the advice of his attorney, his right to a jury. Contrary to the expectations of Sims' counsel, Sims was found guilty of all charges. He was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 120 months, consisting of 60 months on count 1, mandatory life imprisonment on count 2, life imprisonment on count 4, and 120 months on counts 5 and 6, all to run concurrently, and 120 months on count 3, to run consecutively to the other sentences. Judge Richard Williams made a statement on the record at Sims' sentencing, indicating a life sentence, in this case, amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, while noting that the Fourth Circuit would not endorse such a conclusion. The Fourth Circuit denied Sims' appeal. … During his many years of incarceration, Sims has been a model prisoner and has received extraordinary support for relief or clemency–most notably from Judge Williams, himself. In one of his several letters to the Pardon Attorney on Sims' behalf, Judge Williams stated, if a case ever deserved pardon relief, Sims' case falls in that category. In another, he emphasized his sincere belief that Sims' situation was a prime example of the inequity and basic unfairness of mandatory minimum sentencing as imposed by congressional mandate. [T]his proceeding is the first opportunity for this Court to review Sims' 'extraordinary and compelling' circumstances with any substantial legal basis to provide relief. … Sims' life sentence was not based on an assessment of his future dangerousness or any perceived need to incapacitate him. Sims had no felony record or history of violence, prior to his arrest on the charges for which he is presently incarcerated; he had only a minor misdemeanor record. Sims' life sentence was, instead, the result of an inflexible, minimum sentence mandate that produced the most extreme trial penalty the judicial system can impose on a defendant who exercises his constitutional right to a trial and to hold the government to its burden of proof. Indeed, Judge Williams stated that sentencing Sims to life imprisonment was a painful experience and he expressed frustration at not being able to depart from the mandatory minimum, even though Sims' culpability relative to that of the perpetrators was less and several unique evidentiary circumstances weighed against him receiving the same mandatory life sentence to which the actual perpetrators were sentenced. The fact that Sims was not only released pending trial, but also offered a plea deal with a three-year maximum sentence, underscores how neither the Court, nor the government, viewed Sims as a danger. … Compassionate release and § 3582(c) provide an appropriate method to give secondary review to these sentences and remedy any inequities.”

Death Watch: The BOP has identified no new inmate fatalities. The inmate death toll remains at 233. Five of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4.

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