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October 31, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG




Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 86 BOP facilities and 11 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 231 (up from 189) Currently positive-testing staff: 315 (down from 333) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 48,309 (down from 48,428) Recovered staff: 14,361 (up from 14,343)


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

Carswell FMC: 56

Butner FCI: 49 (up from 32)

Phoenix FCI: 40


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

Central Office HQ: 58 (unchanged)

Rochester FMC: 27 (unchanged)

Brooklyn MDC: 13 (down from 18)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 143,914 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,981 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,672 (down from 128,680) Positive tests: 55,320 (down from 55,328)


Total vaccine doses administered: 334,671 (up from 333,202)


News Notes: Sentencing Commission focuses on compassionate release...


An article in Bloomberg.com, Restocked Sentencing Panel Prioritizes ‘Compassionate Release’, reports on the fist meeting of the newly constituted U.S. Sentencing Commission, noting its intention to focus on compassionate release:


The US Sentencing Commission met on Friday for the first time in four years with a full slate of new members, which chair Carlton Reeves called a “very exciting” and “highly unusual” moment. Reeves, a federal trial-court judge in Mississippi, led the brief meeting in Washington where the body formally set policy priorities, chief among them providing guidance on the 2018 First Step Act that can get people out of prison with so-called compassionate release. It’s the first time since 1999 that a full slate of voting commissioners was appointed at once, Reeves said, noting that they’re generally appointed to staggered terms. “The fact that all seven of us are new to the commission is highly unusual and, indeed, very exciting,” he said of the bipartisan body, emphasizing that “justice” will be front and center in its criminal-justice work. Following criticism of the commission’s lack of a quorum, including by Supreme Court justices, the Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominees in August. “As everyone is fully aware, after four years there is a backlog of policy work awaiting us,” Reeves said. “Upon our appointment, we quickly rolled up our sleeves,” he said, noting that the commission has only until May 1, 2023, to submit amendments to Congress. Before the confirmation of the commission’s new members, the panel had been without the quorum it needs to make new guidance since January 2019. Those vacancies prevented it from, among other things, addressing changes to the criminal-justice system under the First Step Act. The commission reported receiving over 8,000 comments related to its new priorities, which were announced tentatively in September. Topping the list is a proposal to further describe what constitutes “extraordinary and compelling” reasons for compassionate release. After the First Step Act made it easier to file release requests, those appeals skyrocketed as Covid-19 spread in prisons and courts came to different conclusions about what the statute meant. The commission in a March report said there was “considerable variability” in applying the statute without updated guidance to reflect the new law. Among the federal courts of appeal, the highest grant rate for compassionate release was in the First Circuit at 47.5% and the lowest was in the Fifth Circuit at 13.7%, the commission said. The commission must have at least three federal judges and no more than four members of each political party. Reeves, 58, is the first Black chair. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Supreme Court’s first Black woman, served on the commission before taking the high-court bench. The other commissioners are Luis Felipe Restrepo, Laura Mate, Claire Murray, Claria Horn Boom, John Gleeson, Candice Wong, and “ex officio” or non-voting members Patricia Cushwa and Jonathan Wroblewski. To contact the reporters on this story: Jordan S. Rubin in Washington at jrubin@bloomberglaw.com; Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com



Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) No new deaths within the BOP have been announced, leaving the reported inmate death toll at 309. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.


Job Posting: The Center for Justice and Human Dignity

The Center for Justice and Human Dignity is an education, advocacy, and training center, focused on advancing meaningful change in prison sentencing practices with the goal of reducing the number of people sent to prison and expanding the judicial use of alternative-to-incarceration sanctions.


The Center for Justice and Human Dignity is seeking an Executive Director who will have overall programmatic, operational, development, and fundraising responsibility for the development of CJHD and its staff, programs, public engagement, and execution of its mission. The Executive Director will establish and operationalize programmatic goals and strategic initiatives in alignment with stakeholder interests (including the board and the organization’s founder). Their role will include developing relationships with partners, establishing and implementing fundraising strategy, and leading public relations/media, programs, and operations. The Executive Director will be responsible for (in collaboration with the board and founding partner) the development and implementation of a self-sustaining, funding infrastructure to establish the organization’s full financial independence from its incubator. This position is remote and open to applicants in any location within the United States.


Respond to: aviva@aleph-institute.org


Complete Posting can be viewed here.




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