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June 24, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG


Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 230 (up from 159) Currently positive-testing staff: 324 (up from 317) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 50,402 (down from 50,545) Recovered staff: 12,985 (up from 12,974)


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

Marianna FCI: 40 (up from 12)

SeaTac FDC: 32

Petersburg Low FCI: 23 (up from 22)

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

Central Headquarters: 35 (up from 34)

Rochester FMC: 16 (unchanged)

Honolulu FDC: 14 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 140,153 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,803 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,717 (up from 128,716) Positive tests: 55,366 (up from 55,364)


Total vaccine doses administered: 322,196 (up from 321,904)


Case Note: Two sentences down, one to go...


In U.S. v. DARRELL WILLIAMS, 2022 WL 2209997 (S.D. Ind. June 21, 2022) (Stinson, J.), after another court compassionately reduced his 310 month sentence to time served, resulting in the commencement of this 41-month sentence, this court also found the BOP’s neglectful medical treatment caused the petitioner’s current, substantial medical debilitation and so this sentence is now reduced to time-served — but defendant now has to convince the state to reduce his 20-year consecutive sentence -- the court explaining: "In 2001, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri sentenced Mr. Williams to 310 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute in excess of 500 grams of cocaine. See dkt. 36-6 (E.D. Mo. opinion). Just a few months after he was sentenced and entered the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), Mr. Williams was found in possession of heroin while housed at USP Terre Haute. See dkt. 38 at 1–2. Based on this incident, Mr. Williams was convicted in this Court of possessing a prohibited object in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1791(a)(2) and (b)(1). See JAMS docket entry for Feb. 18, 2003. The Court imposed a sentence of 41 months of imprisonment, to be served consecutive to any previously imposed state or federal sentence. Id. It also imposed 3 years of supervised release. Id. While Mr. Williams was being prosecuted in this Court, he was housed in a holding facility in Marion County. See dkt. 36 at 4. During his stint in Marion County, he was involved in a fight with other inmates, which ultimately resulted in him being sentenced in state court to 20 years of imprisonment after he was convicted of possessing a dangerous device and aggravated battery. See dkt. 36-6 at 2; dkt. 36 at 4, 21; dkt. 36-1 at 9. That sentence was consecutive to his other sentences. At this point, Mr. Williams has been in federal custody for more than 20 years. In 2021, he filed a motion for compassionate release in the Eastern District of Missouri. That motion was granted on November 17, 2021, and his 310-month sentence in that case was reduced to time served. Mr. Williams is now 55 years old. He is currently incarcerated at USP Canaan. When Mr. Williams was originally sentenced in the Eastern District of Missouri, he was in relatively good health. Since then, his health has declined precipitously. Since 2014, multiple surgeons have recommended that Mr. Williams receive spinal surgery, but no such surgery has occurred. See dkt. 36-4. And, for several years, Mr. Williams has been wheelchair-bound due to chronic back and neck problems and residual weakness from a stroke he suffered in 2013. Id.; see also dkt. 46-4, 51-1 at 20. In 2018, a BOP physician evaluated Mr. Williams and found that he needed moderate-maximum assistance transferring to the toilet; was incontinent of bowel and bladder and required adult diapers; was wheelchair dependent but could stand with moderate assistance and take 1–2 steps with maximal assistance; required a wheelchair pusher due to cervical spinal disease affecting his upper extremities; could physically wash his own body but would require assistance in a shower or tub, even with assistive devices; could dress most of himself, but needed help to get completely dressed; and needed moderate assistance with transferring from a bed to a chair. Id. The physician rated Mr. Williams as 1 (out of 6) on the Katz Index of Independence of Activities of Daily Living. Id. At the time, Mr. Williams's pain was being treated with Tylenol-3 and Naproxen. Id. Mr. Williams was designated as a Care Level 3 at that time, dkt. 51-1 at 8, and he represents that he still is designated a Care Level 3, dkt. 52. Since 2018, Mr. Williams's condition has deteriorated even further. He reports—without contradiction from the United States—that he can no longer stand or take 1–2 steps. Dkt. 46-5. And recent medical records show that Mr. Williams's pain is now being treated with daily doses of opiates (morphine and oxycodone). See, e.g., dkt. 46-2 at 19. When Mr. Williams was transferred to USP Canaan in January 2021, the transferring facility sent him with orders for cleansing wipes, adult diapers, a transfer board, a trapeze, and other adaptive equipment. Dkt. 51-1 at 2, 4. Despite this, Mr. Williams represents—again, without contradiction from the United States—that he has yet to be provided with all the equipment he needs and that he has only been provided with adult diapers on one occasion. Dkt. 46-5 at 2; see also dkt. 51-1 at 11 (note from January 27, 2021, noting that physician at USP Canaan would discuss need for shower chair and sliding board with the HSA), 14 (note from April 23, 2021, noting that Mr. Williams was still waiting for a shower chair and transfer board). Mr. Williams has also asked USP Canaan multiple times to assign him another inmate to push his wheelchair, dkt. 51-1 at 16, 18, but each time the request has been denied because USP Canaan is only a Level 2 care facility and does not assign inmates to push wheelchairs, id. at 17, 19. As a result, Mr. Williams represents that he has been forced to pay other inmates to push his wheelchair and help him with other self-care tasks. Dkt. 46-5. In February 2021, the BOP alerted Mr. Williams that he had been re-designated to another facility, but he has not yet been transferred and remains at USP Canaan. Recent medical records acknowledge that USP Canaan cannot provide the medical services that Mr. Williams needs, see, e.g., dkt. 46-2 at 30 (note from physician assistant dated Jan. 10, 2022, stating, "consult reviewed, is pending transfer for physical therapy and other treatments not currently available at [USP Canaan]"), but Mr. Williams represents that he was recently informed that he will not be transferred, dkt. 52. When the Eastern District of Missouri granted Mr. Williams's motion for compassionate release, it expressed concern that the BOP had not yet provided an MRI that had been ordered and that Mr. Williams had not yet been scheduled for surgery. Dkt. 36-6. Since that time, Mr. Williams has had an MRI and was examined by an outside specialist. A treatment note dated December 28, 2021, states that the specialist believed that Mr. Williams's chronic cervical and back pain were probably from osteoarthritis, which "would not be surgically treatable." Dkt. 46-2 at 110. He also stated, "In the absence of strong signs of cervical myelopathy or that any of his symptoms are related to spinal canal compromise, he does not require urgent surgical intervention. He is however at risk for a catastrophic neurologic injury with relatively minor trauma. This would only be prevented by an operative decompression but this can be performed electively." Id. … The Court concludes that Mr. Williams has shown extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting release in this case.3 As discussed above, Mr. Williams's health has been steadily declining for nearly a decade. He is currently confined to a wheelchair and, as documented by a BOP physician, needs significant assistance with activities of daily living, including toileting and bathing/showering. Indeed, he is not even able to propel his wheelchair by himself. He also experiences severe pain, which is currently being treated with significant and regular doses of narcotics. Taken together, the Court concludes that these facts establish extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting relief under § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13, Application Note 1(A). … The United States also argues that the sentencing factors in § 3553(a) weigh against release, see generally dkts. 38, 50, but the Court again disagrees. … As recognized above, Mr. Williams's conduct in this case was serious, and he has a track record of felony convictions and disciplinary problems in prison. Mr. Williams has also completed only a small portion of his 41-month sentence in this case. … He is 55 years old and suffers from a number of serious medical conditions. For reasons not disclosed by the record, the BOP has not provided him with needed medical equipment over the last 18 months and has housed him at a facility that admittedly cannot meet his medical needs. And, while a specialist recently determined that Mr. Williams did not need "urgent" surgery, the same specialist also determined that he runs a constant risk of "catastrophic neurological injury." Despite this, the BOP is not taking any steps to provide him with the surgery he needs to avoid that risk. In short, over the course of at least the last two years, the BOP has shown that it cannot or will not provide Mr. Williams with the medical care he needs. Taking all the facts together, the Court finds that the § 3553(a) factors weigh in favor of reducing Mr. Williams's sentence to time served.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified the death, on May 22, 2022, of William Russell Mills, 65, of FMC Fort Worth, raising the inmate death toll to 296. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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