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November 9, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG




Quick Facts (Full BOP Stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 173 (up from 137) Currently positive-testing staff: 281 (up from 277) Recovered inmates: 42,571 (down from 42,595) Recovered staff: 8,322 (up from 8,318)


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

Canaan UPS: 40 (up from 37)

Terre Haute FCI: 29

Forrest City Medium FCI: 14 (up from 7)

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

Forrest City Medium FCI: 21 (unchanged)

Forrest City Low FCI: 21 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 13 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 133,782 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,702 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 125,106 (up from 125,047) Positive tests: 42,322 (up from 42,307)


Total vaccine doses administered: 245,279 (unchanged)

Case Note: An example of a sentencing reduction, rather than release, under § 3582(c)...


In U.S. v. SAMUEL LEWIS FENNELL, 2021 WL 5149915 (W.D. Va. Nov. 4, 2021) (Urbanski, CJ), the court found that a change in circuit law would result in a lower guideline change, and therefore justified a reduced sentence, though not release, explaining: "On August 15, 2013, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Fennell and two codefendants with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), and 846. Indictment, ECF No. 13. The government subsequently notified Fennell of its intent to seek enhanced statutory penalties pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851, based on a prior felony drug conviction in the Circuit Court for the City of Salem. … On May 5, 2014, a jury convicted Fennell of the conspiracy offense charged in Count One of the superseding indictment. Jury Verdict, ECF No. 231. As a result of the § 851 notice filed by the government, Fennell faced a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years. … Based on the higher adjusted offense level of 38 and a criminal history category of VI, the probation officer calculated a Guidelines range of imprisonment of 360 months to life. … After considering the parties' arguments, the court sentenced Fennell to a term of imprisonment of 360 months. … Fennell seeks compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) on two grounds. First, Fennell argues that he would not be classified as a career offender if he were sentenced today. … Fennell … argues, based on the Fourth Circuit's decision in United States v. Norman, 935 F.3d 232 (4th Cir. 2019), that he would no longer qualify as a career offender if he were sentenced today. … In light of the Fourth Circuit's decision in Norman, it is undisputed that Fennell would not qualify as a career offender if he were sentenced today and that he would no longer be subject to a Guidelines range of 360 months to life. Instead, with the benefit of Amendment 782 to the Guidelines7 and the First Step Act's amendments to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A),8 Fennell would have a total offense level of 34, a criminal history category of III, and a Guidelines range of 188 to 235 months. Thus, the high end of the range that would now apply is more than 10 years less than the Guidelines sentence originally imposed by the court. While this reduction may be less dramatic than the reductions at issue in McCoy, the court finds that the significant disparity between Fennell's current sentence and the sentence he would face today for the same offense provides an extraordinary and compelling basis for a sentence reduction under § 3582(c)(1)(A). … After considering the parties' arguments and the applicable § 3553(a) factors, the court concludes that a sentence reduction is warranted in Fennell's case. The court finds that Fennell's current sentence is greater than necessary to achieve the statutory sentencing objectives and that a lesser sentence, correctly applying the current version of the Guidelines, would adequately reflect the magnitude and duration of Fennell's criminal conduct. If sentenced today, Fennell's Guidelines range would be 188 to 235 months. Given the particular circumstances of this case, including Fennell's history and characteristics, both positive and negative, the court concludes that a mid-range sentence of 212 months is appropriate. Specifically, the court finds that a 212-month sentence is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to reflect the seriousness of Fennell's conduct and criminal history, promote respect for the law, provide just punishment, afford specific and general deterrence, and protect the public. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).”



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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