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November 30, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG




Quick Facts (Full BOP Stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 146 (up from 124) Currently positive-testing staff: 232 (down from 258) Recovered inmates: 42,112 (down from 42,144) Recovered staff: 8,508 (up from 8,470)


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

Waseca FCI: 34 (up from 14)

McKean FCI: 23 (unchanged)

Stafford FCI: 11

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

Carswell FMC: 13 (unchanged)

McKean FCI: 13 (unchanged)

Beaumont USP: 12

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 134,347 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,779 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 126,038 (up from 125,901) Positive tests: 41,852 (down from 41,858)


Total vaccine doses administered: 256,993 (unchanged)


Case Note: HIV-positive, vaccinated defendant receives two-year sentence reduction in light of COVID-19 risk...


In U.S. v. MICHAEL JOHNSON, 2021 WL 5494527 (D. Md. Nov. 23, 2021) (Hollander, J.), the court granted a partial sentencing to this fully vaccinated defendant with HIV, explaining: "Johnson argues that the Court should grant the Motion because his underlying health conditions render him particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and thus constitute an extraordinary and compelling reason that warrants his release from prison. Defendant submitted over 90 pages of medical records with the Motion, which confirm that defendant suffers from, inter alia, HIV and Hepatitis C. … Defendant asserts that his HIV status renders him immunocompromised, as evidenced by his low CD4 count. … And, as earlier explained, the CDC considers HIV, Hepatitis C, and hypertension to be conditions that “can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.” … But, the government notes that “defendant's HIV status is asymptomatic and he has not contracted any HIV-related illnesses.” … In any event, the government argues that defendant's health conditions no longer merit his compassionate release because of the measures the BOP has taken to protect inmates and staff from COVID-19. ECF 416 at 4. And, the government points out that defendant has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. … To be sure, the COVID-19 vaccines effectively reduce the health risks posed by the coronavirus. Defendant's COVID-19 vaccination reduces his risk of severe illness if he were to again contract COVID-19. But, in my view, defendant's vaccination status “does not negate that his underlying health conditions make him eligible for compassionate release.” United States v. Spriggs, CCB-10-364, 2021 WL 1856667, at *3 (D. Md. May 10, 2021). Indeed, recent developments make clear that the pandemic is continually evolving and ongoing. For example, the CDC has confirmed that breakthrough infections of COVID-19 among vaccinated individuals occur and, albeit in rare cases, they can result in death. See Rates of COVID-19 Cases and Death by Vaccination Status, CNTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL, Oct. 15, 2021, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#rates-by-vaccine-status, (last accessed Nov. 14, 2021). Moreover, the CDC has recommended that those who were previously considered to be fully vaccinated should now receive a booster shot of an authorized vaccine in order to maintain protection against COVID-19. See CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots, CNTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL, Oct. 21, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1021-covid-booster.html, (last accessed Nov. 14, 2021). But, the record does not reflect whether the BOP has administered a booster to defendant. In light of the changing circumstances regarding COVID-19, coupled with defendant's multiple medical conditions, I conclude that Johnson's vaccination status does not render him ineligible for compassionate release. … In this case, I am not persuaded that the § 3553(a) factors militate in favor of Johnson's immediate release. As the government notes, Johnson's crime of conviction was a serious one: he worked to arrange for the importation of dangerous narcotics from Mexico into the greater Baltimore area. See ECF 189 at 9-10. On the other hand, and as the government concedes, Johnson was not a leader of the conspiracy and “was in fact being used...because he was a drug user and was therefore able to test the conspiracy's narcotics during his Mexican trips.” The Court cannot overlook defendant's criminal history, which is a serious one. That said, Johnson's prior convictions also reflect a longstanding struggle with drug addiction. … In my view, the time the defendant has served to date is not sufficient to assure the Court that defendant would not pose a risk to public safety if he were released now. But, in light of defendant's various medical conditions and his post-sentencing conduct, I am of the view that a reduction of Johnson's sentence is appropriate. … For the reasons elaborated above, I shall grant the Motion, in part. Johnson's sentence shall be reduced from 102 months to 78 months.”



Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified no new COVID-19 fatality. Total inmate COVID-related deaths remain at 267. Ten of the inmate fatalities died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.




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