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BOP COVID-19 UPDATE -- February 10, 2021

Currently positive-testing inmates: 1,594 (down from 1,688)

Currently positive-testing staff: 1,723 (unchanged)

Recovered inmates: 45,107 (up from 44,875)

Recovered staff: 4,570 (up from 4,542)

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

Tallahassee FCI: 229 (unchanged)

El Reno FCI: 113 (down from 129)

Leavenworth USP: 106

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

Pollock USP: 82 (unchanged)

Tucson USP: 69 (unchanged)

Oklahoma City FTC: 59 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 123,825 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,743 in community-based facilities. Today's stats:

Completed tests: 102,848 (up from 102,645) Positive tests: 45,844 (up from 45,772)

Case Note: Defendant's a skunk but he didn't deserve to lose his sight...

In U.S. v. Lindell, 2021 WL 420059 (D.Hawaii Feb. 5, 2021) (Watson, J.), the court's contempt for this "remorseless" defendant, convicted of multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, didn't blind it to this injustice, granting compassionate relief to defendant, who had served 68 months of his 210 month sentence: "Approximately 68 months into his 210-month sentence, Defendant George Lindell asks the Court to reduce his sentence to time served because of his loss of sight while under the care of the Bureau of Prisons, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the incapacity of his spouse and her inability to care for their 8-year-old special needs son. The Court finds that Lindell's preventable vision loss constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason warranting the reduction he seeks. Despite the contemptible nature of his crimes, his failure to take responsibility, and his apparently cavalier attitude towards his many victims, Lindell did nothing to deserve the loss of what many consider to be their most vital sense. This needless loss materially alters the Court's sentencing analysis and commands Lindell's compassionate release. … The Court imposed a sentence at the high end of the guideline range “[d]ue to the devastating impact on the numerous victims, and the defendant's lack of remorse [and] acceptance of responsibility.” … In 2015, Lindell entered Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) custody without any vision issues. Dkt. No. 468-4 (Lindell writing he “was admitted to FDC Honolulu with two good eyes”). By March 2017, that changed. Lindell reported to prison health officials that he was having difficulty reading a white board and small print. Dkt. No. 475 at 112. At first, the BOP acted promptly, recommending, on April 5, 2017, an ophthalmology exam. Id. at 75. That exam, however, for reasons that are not reflected in the record, did not occur until December 13, 2017, more than eight months later. ...On March 5, 2018, BOP Health Services referred Lindell to a retina specialist for “probable intravitreal injection.” Dkt. No. 475 at 127–28. Eight months passed, once again for reasons that are not apparent in the record, before Lindell was seen by the retina specialist. Id. at 142–44. On November 29, 2018, Lindell received his first Avastin injections to treat his AMD. ...BOP Medical Services memorialized Lindell's retina exam and acknowledged that he “need[ed] a 5-week follow-up visit” with a retina specialist. … Despite these instructions, Lindell was seen by an ophthalmologist—not a retina specialist—on May 9, 2019, five months later. Id. at 224. It would be another three months before he saw a retina specialist in August 2019 and received a second set of Avastin injections. … Despite this doctor's note—and an identical one a month later—Lindell has received intravitreal injections just twice since December 2019. Dkt. No. 468–1 at 20–21; Dkt. No. 475 at 229, 273–74. As Lindell summarizes, “in the past 35 months, [he] has received 7 injections in his left eye and only 6 in his right eye,” despite BOP's consultants, as early as 2018, identifying a “monthly” treatment need to save his vision. … Lindell has clearly not had the opportunity to attend to his own medical needs while incarcerated. In fact, he has been denied that ability, despite bureaucratically screaming for it. … While the Court appreciates Government counsel's efforts to assure the Court, and especially Lindell, that he will receive what will hopefully be sight-saving treatments in the future, these efforts do not minimize what has already occurred. Moreover, while the Court has no doubt that the Government's counsel will do what he says, the Court, quite frankly, has little confidence, based on this record, that the BOP will. That is particularly true, given the absence of any enforceable, written commitment by the BOP or even the affidavit of a warden or some other officer charged with Lindell's care. The BOP has neglected Lindell long enough. Their delays, it appears to the Court, have cost this man his vision, and he should be allowed to pursue his care to preserve what little eyesight he has left without the need to rely on those who have put him in this position in the first place. … While the Court was convinced that a 210-month term of imprisonment would do just that, it must consider now that part of the “punishment” imposed was Lindell's vision loss, an outcome that appears to have been preventable. The Court agrees with Lindell that such punishment would not be “just.””

Death Watch: The BOP has reported the death of inmate Joseph Lee Fultz, 52, of FCI Terre Haute. Inmate fatalities now total 220. Four of these inmates died while on home confinement. BOP staff fatalities remain at 4.

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