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January 7, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Quick Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 3,231 (up from 2,886) Currently positive-testing staff: 881 (up from 790) Recovered inmates: 41,981 (up from 41,936) Recovered staff: 8,848 (up from 8,829)


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

Brooklyn MDC: 255 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 155 (up from 150)

Lexington FMC: 117 (up from 114)

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

Fairton FCI: 29 (up from 28)

Carswell FMC: 30 (up from 26)

Central Office HQ: 28

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 135,413 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,987 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,530 (up from 128,345) Positive tests: 44,827 (up from 44,429)


Total vaccine doses administered: 281,393(up from 280,722)


Case Note: Defendant, a paraplegic receiving substandard medical care at a private for profit prison, granted compassionate release...


In U.S. v. EDWARD JONATHAN RIVAS, 2022 WL 36941 (D. Md. Jan. 4, 2022) (Chuang, J.), the court, with the Government's deference, grants defendant compassionate release citing his myriad medical issues that the court believed would be best addressed at an Federal Medical Center but was instead being addressed with substandard care in a for-profit prison, explaining: "Defendant Edward Jonathan Rivas, a federal prisoner at the Correctional Institution-North Lake in Baldwin, Michigan (“CI-North Lake”) has filed a Motion for Compassionate Release Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). On October 15, 2020, the Court sentenced Rivas to 54 months of imprisonment on his convictions for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); and possession of a firearm by a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Having begun pretrial detention on August 22, 2019, Rivas has served over 28 months on his sentence and, with good time credits, is presently scheduled to be released on June 22, 2023. In his Motion, Rivas seeks a reduction of his sentence to time served under a statutory provision commonly referred to as the “compassionate release” provision because of the COVID-19 pandemic and his various medical conditions. The Government has informed the Court that it defers to the Court on the disposition of the Motion and has not filed a memorandum in opposition to the Motion. … Here, Rivas, who is 43 years old, is a paraplegic as a result of a shooting who must self-catheterize in order to urinate. As reflected in his medical records, Rivas suffers from frequent urinary tract infections and other bladder abnormalities, which he attributes in part to unsanitary conditions and the lack of clean catheters at CI-North Lake. Although not specifically identified as a high-risk condition by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), there are some signs that individuals with spinal cord injuries are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, in part because such individuals’ immunosuppression may be weaker and because those who catheterize are at higher risk of infection from viruses generally. Moreover, although this Court recommended that Rivas be designated to the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina or a comparable BOP medical facility, Rivas is presently incarcerated at CI-North Lake, a private, for-profit prison under contract with the BOP, apparently because Rivas has a pending U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) detainer and is subject to deportation upon his release. It is undisputed that beyond his frequent infections, which have not been satisfactorily controlled, Rivas has not received treatment for several other medical conditions, including a stomach condition and an ear condition that was identified as requiring surgery in 2019 but for which he has not received the needed surgery for over two years, whether because of generally inadequate medical care at CI-North Lake, difficulties in arranging needed medical treatment and surgery during the pandemic, or both. Although Rivas previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and has received the COVID-19 vaccine, he has not yet received the booster vaccine. At the present time, however, the increasing presence of the omicron variant has resulted in increased cases of COVID-19, including among the vaccinated, across the United States. While the BOP reports on the number of active cases of COVID-19 in BOP facilities, its website contains no data for CI-North Lake, presumably because it is a private prison. The Court therefore cannot determine whether Rivas is presently incarcerated in a facility in which he has an imminent risk of exposure to COVID-19. … Although the original sentence considered these circumstances, the Court notes that the combination of Rivas's significant medical issues, the lack of satisfactory treatment at CI-North Lake, and the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout Rivas's period of imprisonment has rendered his prison experience significantly more severe than both that of other inmates generally and that of similarly situated inmates in normal times. Accordingly, a sentence reduction would still result in a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offense, promotes respect for the law, provides just punishment, and provides adequate deterrence, particularly to Rivas.")


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified inmate Lee Cormier, 74, of FCI Beaumont Low as the 275 Covid-related inmate fatality. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.



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