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September 17, 2021: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG


Quick Facts: Currently positive-testing inmates: 651 (up from 605) Currently positive-testing staff: 574 (up from 567) Recovered inmates: 42,876 (down from 42,912) Recovered staff: 7,456 (up from 7,443)


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

Herlong FCI: 110 (up from 97)

Sheridan FCI: 97 (up from 72)

Coleman Low FCI: 94(unchanged)

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

Pollock USP: 41 (unchanged)

Oakdale I FCI: 26 (unchanged)

Beaumont USP: 26 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 131,126 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,550 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 121,337 Positive tests: 43,049

Total vaccine doses administered: 223,071

Case Notes: Inmate at death's door granted compassionate release ...

In U.S. v. JUAN RAMIREZ, 2021 WL 4150891 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 13, 2021) (Gardephe, J.), the court reduced a lifer’s sentence for, inter alia, ordering a murder, explaining: "On August 10, 2021, Ramirez filed a motion for a reduction in sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), in which he contends that he is entitled to compassionate release because he suffers from advanced pancreatic and liver cancer. (Def. Br. (Dkt. No. 452) at 12 (citing Ramirez Medical Records, Def. Br. Ex. B (submitted under seal)) Ramirez received his cancer diagnosis in July 2021. The Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) physicians treating Ramirez have described his prognosis as “ ‘grim with not much time left,’ ” and “have advised him that there is nothing that they can do for him medically.” (Id. at 12-13 (citing July 28, 2021 BOP email, Def. Br. Ex. C (Dkt. No. 452-3)) Ramirez asserts that, given his “fragile medical condition,” the COVID-19 pandemic presents a grave threat to his health, and “even the mildest or even asymptomatic case of COVID-19 could prove fatal.” … Ramirez is currently serving his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina (“FMC-Butner”). (Id. at 13 n.3) On August 24, 2021, defense counsel submitted a letter advising that, “[a]lthough FMC Butner is a BOP medical facility, it apparently in no way resembles any hospital in New York City in which Mr. Ramirez might receive treatment for his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.” (Aug. 24, 2021 Def. Ltr. (Dkt. No. 457)) Defense counsel reports that Ramirez was quarantined with his cellmate for eighteen days upon arrival at FMC-Butner, during which time “[n]o one from the BOP changed his laundry”; that Ramirez is receiving “the same standard-issue prison meals that all BOP inmates receive,” which is inadequate for “any individual batting Stage 4 pancreatic cancer” and receiving chemotherapy treatment; that he is confined to his cell except when receiving chemotherapy treatment or seeing a physician; that “the only water available for him to drink is supplied by the combination sink/toilet in his cell, and he is not provided with any hot or cold water”; and that his bed is “not a hospital-type bed but instead is ... a standard-issue BOP metal-frame bed with a thin, standard-issue BOP mattress....” (Id. at 1-2) Ramirez asserts that these “conditions are substandard and therefore are relevant to this Court's evaluation of Mr. Ramirez's sentence reduction motion.” (Id.) … The Government concedes that Ramirez's “cancer diagnosis and the BOP's determination that [his] cancer is terminal, constitutes ‘extraordinary and compelling’ circumstances permitting his compassionate release.” Accordingly, this Court finds that Ramirez's advanced pancreatic and liver cancer constitute “extraordinary and compelling reasons” for purposes of the compassionate release statute. … As to the Section 3553(a) factors, Ramirez's offenses are extremely serious. He was the leader of a violent narcotics trafficking organization for years. He kidnapped and robbed others at gunpoint, ordered the murders of at least two victims, and committed numerous assaults. … The Government argues that Ramirez's rehabilitation is “incomplete,” because he “has continued to incur disciplinary infractions at a steady clip in connection with his imprisonment.” (Govt. Opp. (Dkt. No. 454) at 27) As noted, however, Ramirez has committed no disciplinary infractions in the last five years. The Government also argues that Ramirez has not fully accepted responsibility for his crimes, noting that in a compassionate release motion submitted in early 2020, he “continued to blame others for his own actions and for the necessary consequences of his actions.” (Id.) In connection with the current application, however, Ramirez has submitted a letter in which he appears to express genuine remorse for his offenses and to accept responsibility for his actions. He states that he now “clearly see[s] and understand[s] why [his] actions were wrong,” and that he “want[s] [his] life to be remembered as one of redemption.” … Finally, the twenty-three years Ramirez has served in prison represents a substantial punishment. Given his terminal diagnosis and deteriorating medical condition, further imprisonment is not necessary to serve the goals of deterrence and promoting respect for the law. … In sum, the Court finds that Ramirez's terminal pancreatic and liver cancer, and short life expectancy, constitute “extraordinary and compelling reasons” that warrant his release, and that these circumstances are not outweighed by the Section 3553(a) factors. Accordingly, Ramirez's motion will be granted.”



Death Watch: The BOP has reported no additional inmate deaths, leaving the inmate death toll at 255. Eight of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 6.




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