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January 31, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Quick Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 7,724 (down from 8087) Currently positive-testing staff: 1,956 (up from 1,898) Recovered inmates: 47,211 (up from 46,690) Recovered staff: 9,674 (up from 9,567)


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

Oakdale FCI: 494 (up from 479)

Yazoo City Medium FCI: 475 (up from 474)

Yazoo City USP: 267 (unchanged)

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

El Reno FCI: 58 (up from 54)

Central Office HQ: 55 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 49

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 134,720 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,733 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 129,043 (down from 29,062) Positive tests: 54,404 (down from 54,423)


Total vaccine doses administered: (up from 291,330)


Case Note: Defendant's refusal to be vaccinated not a factor in compassionate release analysis...


In U.S. v. ERIC GUZMAN, 2022 WL 228288 (D.N.J. Jan. 26, 2022) (Martinotti, J.), the court, along the way to denying compassionate release for defendant sentenced in 2020, declined to address whether defendant’s refusal to be vaccinated should counsel for or against extraordinary and compelling circumstances, explaining: "Guzman argues that, having already contracted COVID-19 while incarcerated, he is at risk of reinfection, and, because of his medical conditions, is at heightened risk of severe illness upon reinfection. (ECF No. 58 at 1–2.) He contends he cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 while in custody because the medical treatment available to him at Fort Dix is inadequate to address any allergic reaction he might have to the vaccine. … Guzman contends that since his incarceration, “efforts by the BOP to accommodate his allergies have been slow with no consistent changes made to his diet to combat the allergic reactions.” (ECF No. 54 at 2.) Guzman included with his supplemental briefing a letter from Kunwar Kaur, MD, an independent physician to whom Guzman provided his medical records, which states “Given [Guzman's] history of multiple allergies/atopy, COVID-19 vaccination was deferred.” (ECF No. 58 at 2; Def.’s Supp. Br. Oct. 8, 2021, Ex. C (ECF No. 58-3).) In his reply brief, Guzman reiterates he has “severe allergic reactions to basic things such as food and other simple medications” and claims “[h]e was advised by the BOP medical staff, NOT to take the vaccine because of these conditions[.]” … The Government argues Guzman does not present an “extraordinary reason” for compassionate release because he was offered a COVID-19 vaccine and refused it. (ECF No. 63 at 11.) The Government challenges Dr. Kaur's letter because, while it states “vaccination was deferred,” it does not state that, in her medical opinion, Guzman should refrain from vaccination. (Id. at 11–12.) The Government further argues such an opinion would contradict the CDC's recommendation to vaccinate individuals with allergies unrelated to vaccine allergies or injectable medications. … The Government cites cases standing for the proposition that a defendant's refusal of a COVID-19 vaccine weighs against a finding of extraordinary and compelling reasons for compassionate release. … The Government also cites cases to support the proposition that a defendant's receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine weighs against a finding of extraordinary and compelling reasons. Because courts have determined a vaccinated status and an unvaccinated status have the same result in an “extraordinary and compelling reasons” analysis, a defendant's vaccination status is a neutral factor for this Court's consideration of whether Guzman has presented extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting his early release. This is consistent with the Court's “caution to neither punish nor incentiv[ize] this Defendant or others with respect to their acceptance or refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.” United States v. Casado, No. 17-409, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141712, at *6 (D.N.J. July 28, 2021). To that end, the Court will give neither positive nor negative undue weight to Guzman's decision to refuse the vaccine. Id.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has announced no new COVID-related deaths, leaving total inmate fatalities at 284. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.



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