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February 22, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 1,256 (down from 1,715) Currently positive-testing staff: 1,387 (down from 1,415) Recovered inmates: 54,315 (up from 54,065) Recovered staff: 11,093 (up from 11,051)


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

Oakdale II FCI: 170 (down from 243)

Oakdale I FCI: 156 (down from 160)

Rochester FMC: 84

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

El Reno FCI: 63 (unchanged)

Pollock USP: 62 (unchanged)

Williamsburg FCI: 55 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 134,219 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 12,074 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,894 (down from 128,907) Positive tests: 55,542 (down from 55,555)


Total vaccine doses administered: 298,982 (up from 297,835)


Case Note: lifer released after serving 29 years; returning to Colombia...


In U.S. v. THOMAS CIPRANO, 2022 WL 503742 (E.D. La. Feb. 18, 2022), the court released a lifer after he served twenty-nine years, facilitating his return to Colombia, because today he would not receive a life sentence, explaining: "In 1993, the late Judge Mitchell of the Eastern District of Louisiana sentenced Mr. Ciprano to life imprisonment as to each count, to be served concurrently. At the time, the recidivist provision of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b) imposed a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for defendants with prior felony drug convictions. Mr. Ciprano had two such convictions. … Mr. Ciprano argues that he is entitled to compassionate release for three reasons. First, Mr. Ciprano asserts that, due to the First Step Act of 2018, he would no longer face a mandatory life sentence if he were sentenced today, making his sentence exceptionally harsh. Second, Mr. Ciprano avers that he is sixty-seven years old and suffers from medical conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prostate problems, and eye problems, and is thus entitled to compassionate release as an “elderly inmate with medical conditions.” Third, Mr. Ciprano urges compassionate release because he is particularly susceptible to COVID-19 due to the crowded conditions and insufficient health measures at the Coleman facility in addition to his medical conditions. … The government asserts that courts have found non-debilitating medical conditions and general COVID-19 concerns insufficient to justify compassionate release, and that the Fifth Circuit has not established that non-retroactive changes in sentencing laws justify compassionate release. Nevertheless, the government concedes that if the Court finds that Mr. Ciprano has shown extraordinary and compelling reasons for his release, the relevant sentencing factors permit reducing his sentence. … When Mr. Ciprano was sentenced in 1993, his prior drug convictions triggered a mandatory life sentence. However, the law has changed. The First Step Act now sets the minimum sentence for defendants with prior convictions for “serious drug felon[ies]” at twenty-five years. First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 401, 132 Stat 5194 (2018). Thus, Congress has recognized that the crime of which Mr. Ciprano was convicted no longer warrants the extremely severe punishment of life in prison. Moreover, Mr. Ciprano has already served twenty-nine years in prison, which satisfies the minimum term a court might impose if sentencing Mr. Ciprano today (assuming that his prior convictions would qualify as “serious drug felonies” under the Act's definition). Given these facts, the disparity between the sentence Mr. Ciprano received twenty-nine years ago and the sentence he would receive today constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason to reduce his sentence and grant compassionate release. … Mr. Ciprano's offense was not violent and, as the government concedes, Mr. Ciprano does not have a significant history of violence either before or after he was incarcerated. Additionally, given the twenty-nine years Mr. Ciprano has already served in prison, his sentence has already reflected the seriousness of the offense and promoted respect for the law. Mr. Ciprano poses little risk to the public in the United States because he will likely be deported to Colombia upon his release. … Thus, the sentencing factors further support granting Mr. Ciprano's motion for compassionate release.”



Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has announced no new inmate deaths, which remain at 285. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.


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