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March 22, 2023: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG


Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 77 BOP facilities and 8 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 235 (down from 311) Currently positive-testing staff: 49 (up from 47) Recovered inmates currently in BOP: 45,047 (up from 45,041) Recovered staff: 15,217 (unchanged)


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

Allenwood FCI: 31 (unchanged)

Leavenworth USP: 20 (down from 58)

Oklahoma City FTC: 13


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

Terminal Island FCI: 6 (unchanged)

Devens FMC: 4 (unchanged)

Grand Prairie: 3 (unchanged)


System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 145,149 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 12,999 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,655 (unchanged) Positive tests: 55,303 (unchanged)


Total vaccine doses administered: 349,098 (up from 349,054)


Case Note: Court grants CR to 75-year-old non-production child pornography offender with multiple unredressed medical conditions who did not present danger to the community and who had served more than four years of 10-year sentence ...


In U.S. v. JAMES CALVIN PENGLASE, Defendant., No. CR 17-327 (JRT), 2023 WL 2571824 (D. Minn. Mar. 20, 2023) (Tunheim, J.), the court found that Defendant’s multiple medical conditions, together with his age, and fact that the BOP did not heed the court’s recommendation to designate defendant to a medical facility, warrant reducing sentence to time served, which is consistent with 3553(a) because the court reduced another defendant convicted of child porn offenses for the same reason and statistics show non-production child porn offenders are at low risk of recidivism, explaining: "The record indicates that Penglase suffers from numerous ailments, and those medical conditions have worsened over the four years that he has been incarcerated. At sentencing, the Court recognized Penglase's poor health and recommended that he be committed to a federal medical facility in order to provide him with needed medical treatment. (Sentencing J. at 2.) Instead, Penglase is housed at a federal correctional institution in Ashland, Kentucky and unable to get the kind of specialized care required of his serious health conditions. (Compassionate Release Investigation (“CRI”) at 1, Oct. 11, 2022, Docket No. 40.) The Sentencing Guidelines indicate that extraordinary and compelling reasons exist if a defendant is suffering from a serious physical or medical condition that “substantially diminishes the ability of the defendant to provide self-care within the environment of a correctional facility and from which he or she is not expected to recover.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13 cmt. n.1(A). Penglase's need for specialized medical attention and the lack of such care in his current environment demonstrate that he is unable to provide self-care for his numerous serious medical conditions within the correctional facility. Penglase's medical conditions are exacerbated within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. … Further, the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) sentencing factors support modifying Penglase's sentence. … The nature and circumstances of the offense do show that Penglase's offense of conviction is serious. Penglase pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Though it was not a crime of violence, the crime did involve minor victims. Additionally, there is no dispute that the evidence against Penglase was strong, and he pled guilty to the offense. But the Court also notes that Penglase promptly admitted his conduct and accepted responsibility. … Though Penglase's offense was serious, the other sentencing factors weigh in favor of his early release. Penglase's criminal history score, which the Court relied upon in issuing his sentence, includes convictions that are more than 25 years old. (PSR at 7, Apr. 12, 2018, Docket No. 18.) His current imprisonment is the result of his first infraction in nearly two and a half decades. While in prison, Penglase has received no disciplinary offenses, and in fact received credit for good behavior. … The Court also finds Penglase does not present a danger to any person or the community. The BOP found that he is a low security risk and has a low risk of recidivism. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Comp. Release, Exs. A-2, B-4.) Empirical data also supports that Penglase does not pose a serious risk to public safety, as those guilty of non-production child pornography offenses have, in some cases, among the lowest recidivism rates of general offenders. … Penglase's early release also aligns with precedent. This Court recently granted compassionate release for an elderly defendant who had been sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment for possessing and distributing child pornography, after considering his serious health problems similar to Penglase, and that he had already served 63% of his sentence. United States v. Needham, No. 13-111, 2021 WL 2228390, at *3 (D. Minn. June 2, 2021).3 Courts that have denied similar motions have largely done so because the defendants failed to present sufficient evidence of extraordinary and compelling circumstances. Because Penglase has shown extraordinary and compelling circumstances here, the Court finds that granting Penglase's Motion is in line with decisions of other courts. The progress Penglase has made during his incarceration, coupled with the requirements set forth for his supervised release, warrant the readjustment of his sentence and will support his transition out of custody. The Court will therefore modify his sentence to eliminate the remainder of his term of imprisonment and to begin Penglase's ten-year term of supervised release within 30 days, when a bed is available for him at a Volunteers of America Residential Reentry Center.”


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 314. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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