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November 3, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Quick Facts (Full BOP Stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 135 (up from 130) Currently positive-testing staff: 288 (down from 290) Recovered inmates: 42,708 (down from 42,764) Recovered staff: 8,273 (up from 8,266)


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

Canaan UPS: 31 (up from 27)

Forrest City Medium FCI: 13 (up from 10)

Brooklyn MDC: 9 (unchanged)

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

Forrest City Medium FCI: 21 (unchanged)

Forrest City Low FCI: 21 (unchanged)

Devens FMC: 14 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 133,254 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,664 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 124,339 (up from 124,295) Positive tests: 42,413 (down from 42,461)


Total vaccine doses administered: 241,125 (up from 240,249)

Case Note: New judge's explanation for denying compassionate release not sufficiently informative to permit meaningful review, requiring remand...


In U.S. v. GARY ALLEN MITCHELL, Defendant - Appellant., No. 21-6036, 2021 WL 5074471 (4th Cir. Nov. 2, 2021) (unpublished) (per curium), the Fourth Circuit ruled that where the judge presiding over a CR application was not the sentencing judge and there is a significant amount of post-sentencing evidence, a detailed explanation of the denial is necessary, explaining: "Gary Allen Mitchell appeals the district court's order denying his renewed motion for compassionate release under 18U.S.C. §3582(c)(1)(A)(i), as amended by the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 603(b)(1), 132 Stat. 5194, 5239. We previously granted the Government's consent motion for a limited remand to allow the district court to provide additional explanation for its decision to deny Mitchell's motion. On remand, using a § 3582(c)(1)(A) form order, the district court checked a box labeled “DENIED after complete review of the motion on the merits” and noted that “[t]he [c]ourt considered the serious nature and circumstances of the offense” and “the defendant's medical conditions and the Bureau of Prisons' response to those conditions and the COVID pandemic”; “[t]he defendant has a significant criminal history”; “[t]he small percentage of time the defendant has been incarcerated”; and [t]he need for general and specific deterrence.” … While there is no “categorical ... requirement” that a district court explicitly address each of the defendant's arguments in support of his compassionate-release motion,United States v. High, 997 F.3d 181, 187 (4th Cir. 2021), a court “must adequately explain the chosen sentence to allow for meaningful appellate review” in light of the circumstances of the particular case,id. at 188(internal quotation marks omitted). When a case is “relative[ly] simpl[e],” this requirement is satisfied if the order denying relief shows that “the district court was aware of the arguments, considered the relevant sentencing factors, and had an intuitive reason” for denying the motion.Id. at 190-91(emphases and internal quotation marks omitted). For example, where the judge who decides a defendant's§ 3582(c)(1)motion is “the same judge who had sentenced him originally,” and the defendant files his motion shortly after his original sentencing, “it is hardly surprising” that the judge would deny the motion.Id. at 189(alteration and internal quotation marks omitted). However, when a defendant “present[s] a ‘significant amount of [post-sentencing] mitigation evidence,’ ... ‘a more robust3582(c)(1) motion was not simple. The judge and detailed explanation’ [is] required.”Id. at 190(quotingUnited States v. Martin, 916 F.3d 389, 396 (4th Cir. 2019)). Here, Mitchell's§ 3582(c)(1)motion was not simple. The judge who denied his motion was not the judge who originally sentenced him over seven years ago; accordingly, the judge's reasoning in denying Mitchell's motion was not intuitively obvious. Moreover, the district court's explanation does not reflect that Mitchell presented “a mountain of new mitigating evidence,” including reclassification to a low-security facility, zero disciplinary infractions, an extensive history of program participation, a work history in positions of trust, and recovery from the drug addiction that led to the instant offense.See Martin, 916 F.3d at 396-97(remanding for district court to provide an “individualized explanation for why Martin's steps toward rehabilitation” did not warrant relief when she presented “a mountain of new mitigating evidence that the sentencing court never evaluated”). And, contrary to the court's finding that Mitchell had been incarcerated for a small percentage of his sentence, he had already served 70% of that sentence at the time of the court's ruling. We are therefore unable to conduct a “meaningful appellate review” in light of the particular circumstances of this case.See High, 997 F.3d at 189. We thus vacate the district court's order and remand for further proceedings.”



Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified no new COVID-19 fatalities. Total inmate COVID-related deaths remain at 266. Ten of the inmate fatalities died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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