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September 22, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG



Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 92 BOP facilities and 13 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 239 (unchanged) Currently positive-testing staff: 490 (down from 500) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 49,074 (up from 49,009) Recovered staff: 14,009 (up from 13,995)


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

Berlin FCI: 36 (unchanged)

Yazoo City Low FCI: 24 (unchanged)

Houston FDC: 23 (unchanged)

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

Central Office HQ: 57 (unchanged)

Brooklyn MDC: 32 (unchanged)

Rochester FMC: 25 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 142,674 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,080 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,707 (unchanged) Positive tests: 55,355 (unchanged)


Total vaccine doses administered: 329,787 (unchanged)


Case Note: Non-retroactive changes to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and court’s sentence reduction for co-defendant warrant reduction for defendant ...


In U.S. v. Bell, 2022 WL 4278007 (D. Md. Sept. 15, 2022) (Bennett, J.), the court held that non-retroactive changes to 924(c) and court’s sentence reduction for co-defendant warrant reduction for defendant, explaining: “[I]n light of Congress' directive to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities between similarly-situated defendants, this Court concludes that a sentence reduction is appropriate in light of a sentence reduction accorded to a co-defendant in this case. … On October 12, 2010, Bell was sentenced as a career offender under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924, due to the two charges of armed robbery brought against him. … The petitioner claims that under recent precedent in this circuit and Congress' revised language in the First Step Act, he would be eligible for a lesser sentence if he were sentenced today. District courts have broad discretion to consider all relevant information at a sentencing hearing to fashion an appropriate remedy. See Dean v. United States, 581 U.S. 62, 66 (2017). This discretion extends to later proceedings which may modify an original sentence, Concepcion v. United States, 142 S. Ct. 2389, 2399 (2022). The Supreme Court has recently made clear “that the First Step Act allows district courts to consider intervening changes of law or fact in exercising their discretion to reduce a sentence.” Concepcion, 142 S. Ct. at 2404; see also United States v. Brice, No. 21-6776, 2022 WL 3715086, at *2 (4th Cir. Aug. 29, 2022) (explaining that nothing in the First Step Act prohibits district courts in this circuit from considering nonretroactive changes to the sentencing guidelines when assessing whether to reduce a sentence). Thus, this Court will consider changes in the law surrounding § 924(c) sentencing when considering Bell's motion. In support of his motion for sentence reduction, the petitioner points to recent precedent and changes in the law which demonstrate that the stacking of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) charges, such as in Bell's case, no longer carries a twenty-five-year mandatory minimum sentence. … In the instant case, Bell plead guilty to Counts Three and Five of the indictment. Both counts involved charges under § 924(c), with the former carrying a sentence of seven years, and the latter a sentence of twenty-five years. … As Bell has noted, today, a mandatory twenty-five-year sentence may only be imposed “after a prior [§ 924(c)] conviction ... has become final.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(C). In the instant case, Bell's § 924(c) conviction as to Count Three was not final when he was sentenced as to Count Five. Accordingly, if Bell were sentenced today this Court would have discretion to impose only a seven-year consecutive sentence as to Count Five. Moreover, as of the date of this opinion, Bell has already served approximately more than 13 years of his 32-year sentence. This is less than half of his sentence but is nearly the entirety of the 14-year sentence he could receive if sentenced today. Ford's 384-month sentence is therefore “grossly lengthy” compared to the sentences received for similar offenses today, which supports a finding of an extraordinary and compelling reason for a reduction in sentence. … As with any other compassionate release motion, a court must conduct an “individualized assessment” under § 3553(a) to determine a defendant's eligibility for a reduction. … The need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities among similarly situated defendants presents the most compelling reasons why this Court should reduce Bell's sentence. In this matter, Bell was sentenced with his two co-conspirators, Quindell Ford and Trevon Jones. Pursuant to a Motion for Sentence Reduction filed in Ford's case, this Court has reduced Ford's sentence from 336 months to 284 months on different grounds. See United States v. Ford, Crim. No. RDB-09-219, Mem. Op., filed simultaneous (D. Md. Sept. 15, 2022). In light of this Court's decision in the related matter, Bell's sentence will be accordingly reduced in tandem with Ford's to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities between these two co-defendants.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) Today the BOP identified no additional inmate fatalities and so the total number COVID-related inmate deaths remains at 308. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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