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June 30, 2021: BOP COVID-19 AND COMPASSIONATE RELEASE UPDATE


Quick Facts: Currently positive-testing inmates: 49 (down from 50) Currently positive-testing staff: 136 (up from 133) Recovered inmates: 44,130 (down from 44,225) Recovered staff: 6,883 (unchanged) Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Keeton Corrections Inc (RRC): 9 (unchanged)

Alston Wilkes Society Inc. (RRC): 5 (unchanged))

Bennettsville FCI: 3 (unchanged)

Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing staff: Pekin FCI: 9 (unchanged)

Big Sandy USP: 6 (unchanged)

Central Office HQ: 6 (unchanged) System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 129,483 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,905 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 115,789 (up from 115,765) Positive tests: 43,570 (down from 43,665)

Case Note: Three times the charm...


In U.S. v. RAUF MUHAMMAD, 2021 WL 2650341 (E.D. Tenn. June 28, 2021) (Jordan, J.), after denying requests in September and October 2020, the court changed course and granted defendant's application for compassionate release after he had served 18 years into a life sentence, explaining: "In August 2003, this Court sentenced the defendant to an enhanced statutory minimum sentence of Life Imprisonment for conspiring to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. … As noted, the defendant brings his renewed motion for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i), as amended by the First Step Act of 2018. In support, he cites the COVID-19 pandemic, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, age (55), his rehabilitative efforts, and the likelihood that he would receive a lesser term of imprisonment if sentenced today under current law. Additionally, since the denial of the defendant's prior motions there has been a change in the law impacting the manner in which compassionate release is evaluated within this judicial circuit. See United States v. Jones, 980 F.3d 1098 (6th Cir. 2020). … Each of these is a condition presently considered to possibly increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. See People with Certain Medical Conditions. … In its response brief, the United States “agrees that Muhammad's medical conditions amount to an extraordinary and compelling reason [for compassionate release] in light of the pandemic.” [Doc. 271, p. 15]. The Court recognizes that the United States made that concession on February 9, 2021 [id., p. 17], and since that time our nation has made some progress in its fight against COVID-19. In particular, vaccines are more readily available, thereby reducing one's chance of contracting the disease. Nonetheless, at the defendant's prison complex there are still 23 inmates and three staff currently positive for COVID-19. See Bureau of Prisons, https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/ (last visited Jun. 21, 2021). Our nation remains in an ongoing struggle with COVID diagnoses, hospitalizations, and deaths. Emerging variants and vaccine hesitancy are still grave concerns. In light of these facts, the Court concludes that the United States' February 9, 2021 concession remains true today. “Muhammad's medical conditions amount to an extraordinary and compelling reason in light of the pandemic.” … When sentenced by this Court as a Career Offender in 2003, the defendant was plainly a danger to society. In the years since, he appears to have largely turned his life around. According to the BOP's SENTRY Report, the defendant earned his GED in 2005 after participating in hundreds of hours of preparatory coursework. He has taken many other classes. The Court takes particular note of his 360 hours of culinary arts training and 4,288 hours of cook apprenticeship. Despite serving a Life sentence, the defendant pursued and completed that apprenticeship, and he has earned other certifications. … As harsh sentence was called for in this case, and Court is satisfied that a harsh sentence has been served. The parties agree that the defendant's actual time in custody, combined with accrued good time credit, approaches the bottom of the guideline range that would have been applicable but for the mandatory Life sentence. During his federal incarceration, the defendant has plainly taken full advantage of the rehabilitative programming offered by the BOP. There have been no sanctions for violent conduct and, as noted, no sanctions relating to drugs or alcohol since 2009.”

Death Watch: The BOP has reported no additional inmate fatalities, leaving the number of inmate fatalities at 240. Five of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4.

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