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October 21, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG



Quick Facts (Full BOP Stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 167 (down from 172) Currently positive-testing staff: 459 (up from 454) Recovered inmates: 42,940 (down 42,988) Recovered staff: 8,022 (up from 8,016)


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

Terre Haute USP: 22 (down from 24)

Coleman Low FCI: 12 (unchanged)

Brooklyn MDC: 11 (unchanged)

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

Oakdale I FCI: 27 (unchanged)

Phoenix FCI: 27 (unchanged)

Forrest City Medium: 19 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 132,444 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,620 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 123,455 (up from 123,453) Positive tests: 42,720 (up from 42,718)


Total vaccine doses administered: 234,516 (down from 234,592)

Case Note: change in law eliminating use of defendant's prior state conviction to support § 851 enhancement supports compassionate release...


In U.S. v. CHRISTOPHER JAMES MILLS, 2021 WL 4860753 (W.D. Va. Oct. 19, 2021) (Jones, J.), the court released defendant from a sentence scheduled to end in 2029 because defendant's prior state conviction would no longer support an § 851 enhancement, explaining: "A jury convicted the defendant of conspiracy to distribute and posses with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), 846. … However, he was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 240 months imprisonment under the terms of § 841(b)(1)(A) because of his conviction for a prior felony drug offense. He is currently incarcerated at FPC Pensacola and has a projected release date of October 7, 2029. … Mills contends that the offense underlying his § 851 enhanced sentence does not qualify as a “serious drug felony.” Therefore, if he were sentenced today, Mills argues that he would receive a shorter sentence. Mills asserts that this alleged disparity constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason justifying a sentence reduction under the compassionate release portion of the FSA 2018. I agree. … In that case, the state court sentenced Mills to seven years, which was suspended to four years and four months. However, the court ordered that the entirety of the sentence could be suspended upon successful completion of the Boot Camp Incarceration Program. Although the presentence investigation report (PSR) indicated that Mills was sentenced to “4 years and 4 months imprisonment,” PSR ¶ 28, ECF 165, in fact he was released after successfully completing the Boot Camp Incarceration Program in less than three months. Thus, he did not serve the stated term of imprisonment and, moreover, the record indicates that the time he spent completing the program (88 days) was credited towards his probationary period and not treated as a term of incarceration. His prior conviction therefore does not satisfy the requirements of a “serious drug felony,” as Mills was not incarcerated for more than 12 months as punishment for the felony drug conviction. Without the enhanced punishment under § 841(b)(1)(A), Mills faced only a mandatory minimum sentence of 120 months imprisonment. … The government argues that the § 3553(a) factors weigh in favor of continued incarceration because Mills was involved in a significant drug trafficking conspiracy and despite completing the Boot Camp Incarceration Program, continued to engage in criminal conduct. Thus, the government believes he is a poor candidate for rehabilitation. I disagree. Mills has served over half of his 240-month sentence. During his time in prison, Mills has maintained a perfect disciplinary record. He earned his GED and completed over 20 educational courses. … The government argues that if this court finds that Mills is entitled to a sentence reduction, he nevertheless should receive a proportional increase above the current guideline range minimum, or 203 months imprisonment. But I disagree. As Mills points out, in imposing the initial sentence of 254 months' imprisonment, Judge Conrad was advised that Mills had previously served four-years and four-months in prison — but in fact, Mills never served an active term of incarceration for a prior drug offense.”



Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announcing BOP COVID-related deaths is located here.) The inmate death toll has risen by one, to 265, and the BOP has identified two of the previously tallied fatalities as Mamoudou Kaba, 24, of USP Lompoc, who died June 21, 2020 (but whose name was not previously released) and Joneka Danielle Treece of FCI Tallahassee, 41, who died October 15, 2021. Ten of the inmate fatalities died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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