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December 9, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG





Quick Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 262 (down from 278) Currently positive-testing staff: 230 (up from 229) Recovered inmates: 41,831 (down from 41,875) Recovered staff: 8,581 (up from 8,572)


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

Waseca FCI: 125 (down from 132)

Pollock FCI: 38 (up from 28)

Allenwood USP: 12 (down from 14)

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

Carswell FMC: 14 (unchanged)

McKean FCI: 13 (unchanged)

Rochester FMC: 11 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 134,384 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 15,023 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 126,278 (up from 126,272) Positive tests: 41,699 (down from 41,780)


Total vaccine doses administered: 266,707 (up from 264,687)


Case Note: Liver disease alone found extraordinary and compelling, supporting sentence reduction, even though COVID-19 cannot support relief under USSG § 1B1.13 (Policy Statement)...


In U.S. NITED STATES OF AMERICA v. RONALD LEON BRONNER, 2021 WL 5798302 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 7, 2021) (Howard, J.), the court found that although COVID will not support compassionate release, advanced liver disease standing alone is extraordinary and compelling under § 1B1.13, and that the 11th Circuit’s prohibition against considering facts and circumstances beyond those set out in § 1B1.13 -- such as mandatory minimums -- does not apply to §3553(a) analysis, explaining: “Insofar as Covid-19 is concerned, the pandemic does not qualify as an extraordinary and compelling reason warranting compassionate release. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). Bronner has (wisely) accepted both doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. … Thus, the Court declines to find that the Covid-19 pandemic provides a basis for a finding of “extraordinary and compelling reasons.” However, to the extent Bronner relies on his liver condition as a stand-alone basis for compassionate release, without regard to Covid-19, the Court finds that his advanced liver disease qualifies as a “serious medical condition” under U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13, Application Note 1(A). The record reflects that Bronner has severe cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis B, and hypertension.... On July 1, 2020, while this case was pending, Bronner suffered a stroke while hospitalized to remove fluid from his abdomen. PSR ¶ 89. After the hospital discharged Bronner, his case manager at North Florida Regional Medical Center advised the U.S. Marshals “to prepare for end of life care upon his return to [the] jail facility due to the severity of his cirrhosis and the likelihood that his condition will continue to worsen.” Id. Bronner's conditions were sufficiently serious that the Court recommended he be “promptly designated to FCC Butner” “[i]n light of Defendant's significant life-threatening health conditions. The medical records reflect that Bronner's current facility, FMC Lexington, is attentive to his medical needs and offers treatment, routine monitoring, and outside referrals when necessary. See generally Medical Records Vol. I; Medical Records Vol. II. But the records also reflect that Bronner continues to suffer complications from his liver disease, including a recurring umbilical hernia, ... which occurs in about 20% of people with cirrhosis of the liver complicated by ascites (fluid in the abdomen). ….The Court finds that Bronner's liver disease satisfies the definition of a terminal illness. U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13, cmt. 1(A)(i). For a condition to qualify as a terminal illness, the defendant must be suffering from “a serious and advanced illness with an end of life trajectory.” Id. However, “[a] specific prognosis of life expectancy (i.e., a probability of death within a specific time period) is not required.” Id. Examples of a terminal illness “include … end-stage organ disease.” Id. There is no question Bronner suffers from serious, advanced cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis B. Bronner's case manager at North Florida Regional Medical Center instructed the U.S. Marshals to prepare to provide Bronner with “end of life care” due to the advanced nature of his disease. Based on the available information, the Court concludes that Bronner has a “terminal illness” as defined in § 1B1.13, cmt. 1(A)(i). … That said, Bronner's current term of imprisonment of 120 months is not necessary to accomplish the statutory purposes of sentencing. The Court originally imposed the prison term of 120 months, despite Bronner's serious medical condition, because it was the mandatory minimum. In the absence of the mandatory minimum, the Probation Office calculated Bronner's advisory guidelines range to be 57 to 71 months. See PSR ¶ 107. The Court is of the view that a sentence within his calculated guidelines range of 57 to 71 months would satisfy the objectives of § 3553(a). … In reducing Bronner's term of imprisonment to 62 months, the Court estimates he would be released from prison in September 2022 (assuming he receives full good-time credit). Such a release date will give Bronner and his family adequate time to make arrangements for his release. In addition, Bronner may be eligible for home confinement six months beforehand, or in March 2022. See 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(2). The Court recommends that the BOP closely monitor Bronner's condition and determine, in its discretion, whether to transfer Bronner to home confinement at that time. … The Court cannot say with certainty whether or not Bronner will reoffend. If he does, he will likely be reimprisoned and may not get another chance. However, the Court is optimistic that Bronner's medical diagnosis has taught him that his time is valuable and he must make the most of it.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified no new COVID-19 fatalities. Inmate fatalities remains at 271. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.


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