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March 1, 2023: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG


Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 67 BOP facilities and 8 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 165 (down from 170) Currently positive-testing staff: 60 (down from 61) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 45,497 (down from 45,553) Recovered staff: 15,178 (up from 15,171)


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

Carswell FMC: 34 (down from 34)

Allenwood Low FCI: 14 (unchanged)

Oklahoma City FTC: 11


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

Devens FMC: 7 (down from 8)

Terminal Island FCI: 5 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 4 (unchanged)


System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 144,553 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 12,716 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,653 (unchanged) Positive tests: 55,301 (unchanged)


Total vaccine doses administered: 348,263 (up from 348,230)


Case Note: Compassionate release granted to defendant receiving inadequate medical care and housed in SHU without end-date because he previously cooperated...


In U.S. v. Jorge Lopez, Defendant., No. 09-CR-332-10, 2023 WL 2139205 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 21, 2023) (Gottschall, J.), the court reduced defendant's sentence because not only was he receiving inadequate medical treatment for a defective mesh implanted to correct a hernia, but the BOP also then transferred him to the other side of the country and is keeping him in SHU, without an end-date, because defendant previously cooperated, explaining: "Lopez reported no medical issues other than seasonal allergies when he was sentenced in 2013. PSR 25. He underwent surgery on April 2, 2010, at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago, at which time surgeons implanted surgical mesh to repair a hernia in Lopez's abdomen. See ECF No. 2017-1 at 83, 96. Subsequent notes state that the hernia was related to a gunshot wound. See, e.g., ECF No. 2017-1 at 8, 84, 110. Lopez and his doctors have subsequently raised concerns that the surgical mesh implanted in 2010 was defective and possibly the subject of a recall. See Mot. Compassionate Release 14–15; ECF No. 2014-1 at 93 (request for 2010 operative reports including notation seeking to identify the particular mesh implanted). As reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), thousands of surgical meshes were recalled between 2005 and 2013. … On February 22, 2021, medical records state that Lopez's surgical wound had opened (1 cm.). ECF No. 2014 at 51. A second wound had opened by early March 2022, and drainage from the wound began to be noted. See id. at 49. Lopez was referred to an outside medical provider for an X-ray and a surgical consult. Id. After several diagnostic appointments, outside doctors noted that a “9.8 × 4.1 × 9cm mass-like area” had developed in Lopez's abdominal wall, requiring surgery for a “[g]eneralized abdominal mass” and an infected hernioplasty mesh.” ECF No. 2017-1 at 90–93 (record of King's Daughters Medical Center visit on Aug. 16, 2021). During this period, Lopez, who had no prior history of mental illness, began having anxiety attacks for which he was prescribed anxiety medication he continues to take. Lopez's condition continued to deteriorate over the next year. … Records also show that Lopez was “profusely vomiting” on May 13, 2022; a BOP summary states that the vomiting did not resolve until May 20, 2022. Id. at 89, 157. Lopez was taken to the emergency room at King's Daughters Medical Center on May 29, 2022, for treatment for abdominal pain, an abscess, and an infection of his open hernia wound. Lopez underwent surgery at University of Kentucky HealthCare on July 22, 2022. ECF No. 2091 at 20–22 (operative note). His doctors repaired his hernias, removed “numerous pieces” of infected mesh, re-sectioned and repaired his small bowel, and implanted replacement mesh. See ECF No. 2019 at 22 (narrative). Lopez developed serious post-operative complications, including heart conditions such as sinus tachycardia, for which he was transferred to the medical intensive care unit (“MICU”), where he remained for most of the rest of his stay (15 days). See ECF No. 2091 at 64, 68. He experienced substantial heart problems between July 22–28, 2022, requiring the involvement of cardiologists in his care. … As Lopez succinctly states in his affidavit, “Though an appointment was scheduled for me before I left the hospital, the staff at FCI Ashland never took me to any follow up medical appointments after I was discharged from the hospital. To the present day, I have not received follow-up medical care for my abdominal surgery or my heart condition.” Lopez Aff. ¶ 12, ECF No. 2103. The medical records on file support these averments. It is undisputed that Lopez was not taken to any follow-up appointments recommended by his surgeons. In October 2022, BOP officials administratively transferred Lopez over 300 miles away from his surgeon to “FCI-Milan” in Milan, Michigan. … Shortly after arriving at FCI-Milan, Lopez received what he interpreted as a threat from other prisoners due to his status as a cooperator. See Lopez Aff. ¶ 13. Lopez requested a transfer to FCI-Milan's special housing unit (“SHU”) for his safety, which request BOP staff approved. … BOP personnel are required to investigate and verify a threat to an inmate's safety before such a transfer. See 28 C.F.R. § 541.28(a). Lopez has been given no specific timeline for his return to the general prison population. … The government does not dispute that Lopez's medical conditions are serious or likely permanent. … The government instead maintains that BOP personnel are adequately addressing Lopez's medical needs[.] In support of its position the government observes that Lopez does not explicitly state in his affidavit that the medical care he is receiving is insufficient. See Gov't Suppl. Mem. at 2, Feb. 8, 2022, ECF No. 2105. But Lopez's medical records demonstrate clearly that BOP personnel have not scheduled any of the follow-up care Lopez's surgeons recommended when he was discharged on August 11, 2022. No reason for failing to follow this advice has been given, and the government does not indicate that any plans exist to arrange for the care Lopez needs. … Instead of taking Lopez for the follow-up care his doctors recommended when he was discharged from surgery, the BOP transferred Lopez from a facility near his surgeon to FCI-Milan in Michigan, where he has been in solitary confinement (referred to as the “Special Housing Unit” or “SHU”) for his protection. … For all of these reasons, Lopez's transfer to FCI-Milan defeated its stated penological purpose and placed Lopez in a solitary confinement situation (for non-punitive purposes) in which his ability to care for his medical needs has been frustrated and his conditions of confinement have become far more burdensome. Lopez has no way to arrange for surgical follow-up or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, and no realistic option has been suggested by which he could get the medical care and exercise his doctors say he needs. … Accordingly, Lopez has carried his burden to demonstrate that an extraordinary and compelling reason exists in accordance with the nonbinding guidance of § 1B1.13 of the sentencing guidelines.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) Today, the BOP announced no new COVID-related deaths, leaving the total number of inmate COVID-related deaths at 312. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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