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March 14, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 218 (down from 235) Currently positive-testing staff: 393 (down from 423) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 54,293 (down from 54,330) Recovered staff: 12,246 (up from 12,214)


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

Rochester FMC: 40 (down from 47)

Alderson FPC: 15 (unchanged)

Marion USP: 12 (up from 11)

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

Central Office HQ: 30 (unchanged)

Florence ADMAX: 28 (unchanged)

Florence - High USP: 26 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 134,507 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 12,777 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,858 (down from 128,872) Positive tests: 55,506 (down from 55,520)


Total vaccine doses administered: 306,203 (up from 305,769)


Case Note: Justice Department ends limiting compassionate release in plea deals after NPR story

We previously reported that some federal districts were including waivers of compassionate release applications in plea agreements, along with the usual waivers of appellate and collateral review. Fortunately, after an NPR article highlighting this new practice DOJ, the news organization now reports, "The Justice Department is directing prosecutors to stop limiting defendants' ability to seek compassionate release in most federal plea agreements, after advocates criticized the practice as cruel and against the intent of Congress." The article continues:


DOJ officials handed down the order a month after an NPR story detailed the practice, which curtailed peoples' ability to petition for release from prison because of severe illness or other extraordinary circumstances. That story drew the attention of Attorney General Merrick Garland who this week said it seemed "wrong" and pledged to fix the issue. In a new letter, members of the U.S. Senate also expressed alarm at the waivers, which they said had been used in Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois. "This is a particularly pernicious practice because 97 percent of convictions are obtained through plea agreements," said a new letter from Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and 15 other lawmakers.

"In a justice system where pleading guilty is highly incentivized and defendants generally do not have leverage to push back against prosecutors, including terms in a plea agreement that require a defendant to relinquish his right to seek a review of his sentence under 'extraordinary and compelling' circumstances appears unduly coercive," the Senators wrote.

The lawmakers want the Justice Department to share how many people have signed federal plea deals that include those waivers. For now, they're relying on a few stories of people across the country. One 65-year-old man in Arizona fought for months to withdraw his guilty plea after realizing it included limits to his ability to seek compassionate release. In another case, in northern California, Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer called the limits "unconscionable" and "inhumane." The new directive, obtained by NPR and signed by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, said that the majority of U.S. attorneys have not been requiring defendants to waive their rights to ask for compassionate release. Still, she said, making the change apply nationally is important as a matter of consistency and "in the interests of justice."...


Read the full article here.


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has announced no new inmate deaths, leaving the inmate death toll at 288. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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