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BOP COVID-19 UPDATE -- March 23, 2021

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Quick Facts:

Currently positive-testing inmates: 395 (down from 451)

Currently positive-testing staff: 1,348 (down from 1,363)

Recovered inmates: 47,136 (up from 47,097)

Recovered staff: 5,313 (up from 5,298)

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

Florence (High) USP: 48 (down from 49)

Beaumont USP: 39 (up from 33)

Otisville FCI: 22

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

Pollock USP: 84 (unchanged)

Tucson USP: 69 (unchanged)

Talladega FCI: 46 (unchanged)

(the above numbers have barely changed in more than three weeks and therefore are deemed unreliable)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 125,485 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,648 in community-based facilities. Today's stats:

Completed tests: 107,867 (up from 107,748)

Positive tests: 46,719 (down(?) from 46,740)

Case Note: Court convinced sex offender no longer danger; released nine years into 30-year sentence...

In U.S. v. ALEX MEDICINE HORSE, JR., 2021 WL 1056526 (D. Mont. Mar. 18, 2021) (Watters, J.), nine years into a 30 year sentence for aggravated sexual abuse, court accepts updated risk assessment regarding recidivism ensures his safety, but stays release until he is fully vaccinated: "Defendant Medicine Horse moves the Court, for a second time, for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is currently serving a 360-month sentence for aggravated sexual abuse. See Judgment (Doc. 98). His projected release date is October 18, 2037. … The United States asserts that Medicine Horse remains a danger to his community. The Court agrees that a motion for compassionate release “is not an appropriate way to collaterally challenge [the] sentence,” U.S. Resp. (Doc. 142) at 13, and will not entertain any questioning of the jury's verdict. But Medicine Horse has obtained an updated assessment of the level of risk he would pose to his community if he should be released. The new report maintains that his risk of recidivism, as compared to other sex offenders, is “very low.” See Sullivan Report (Doc. 138) at 8. As the United States points out, this is the same conclusion the original evaluation reached. See U.S. Resp. (Doc. 142) at 13–14. But there is an important distinction. The Court did not realize that the original evaluation assumed other victims existed. See Order (Doc. 135) at 4. The new report clarifies that point. See Sullivan Report (Doc. 138) at 5 para. 1; id. at 7, 8. Medicine Horse has shown, as clearly as anyone convicted of a sexual offense can, that he poses a “very low” level of danger to the community. This fact weighs in his favor under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(C). … To date, Medicine Horse has served about nine years. Nine years is a long time, especially for someone who had no prior convictions and who did many positive things for his community throughout his life, as Medicine Horse did. See Presentence Report ¶¶ 49–50. But it is also significantly less time than Congress decreed. To justify a defendant's release 16 years before his anticipated discharge date (with good conduct), a sentencing court should require a clear and convincing showing of both an extraordinary and compelling reason and satisfaction of the factors in § 3553(a). Medicine Horse's motion meets that high threshold. He may not be seriously debilitated, but his numerous medical conditions and his age make his situation, particularly in light of the global pandemic, extraordinary and compelling. For a person in his circumstances, nine years in prison sufficiently reflects the seriousness of his offense and meets the other criteria of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).One factor remains to be considered. The Court anticipates that inmates in Medicine Horse's age group, especially at Federal Medical Centers, will have high priority for vaccination. … This Order is STAYED for up to 30 days. If Medicine Horse has already received the first dose of a two-dose vaccine regimen, he will not be released until two weeks after he receives the second dose. If he has not received any vaccine, he may advise the Court whether he wishes to delay his release until he has been vaccinated. But Medicine Horse cannot choose which vaccination he receives.”

Death Watch: The BOP reports one new COVID-19-related death, but has not yet identified the victim. Inmate deaths now number 227. Four of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4.

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