Amazing articles and reports on 3 of CAP’s biggest issues – Part 3: Compassionate Release

Some amazing articles and reports on three of CAP’s biggest issues: Wrongful Convictions (including Eyewitness ID), Compassionate Release, and Mandatory Minimums. These issues are heating up and validating the reforms for which we have been advocating. 

PART 2: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE
... and a call for your help in the 2014 legislative session! Your voice is crucial in helping legislators develop sensible, humane, and sound public policy.

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DOJ pulls Bush-era early release rules
Josh Gerstein, Politico, Dec. 4, 2013

“The Justice Department is taking another step toward expanding the early “compassionate release” program for federal prisoners by withdrawing regulations proposed seven years ago that would have formally limited the program to inmates with serious medical problems.

In a notice set to be published Thursday in the Federal Register, DOJ is withdrawing the Bush-era proposed rules, but does not immediately propose new ones.

Attorney General Eric Holder has backed efforts to broaden the compassionate release program, which a DOJ Inspector General report released in May found was underutilized and could save the government money without significantly endangering public safety. The IG report found no cases in recent years of inmates being released for any nonmedical reason and found that many prisoners die while awaiting decisions from the Bureau of Prisons.

In August, Holder said he was expanding the “compassionate release” policy to cover elderly prisoners who served significant portions of their sentences for non-violent crimes.

While less publicized, the department also issued a policy opening the door to releases when the death of an inmate’s family member has left a child without a caregiver or when an inmate’s spouse or partner is incapacitated and in need of full-time care.”

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How Bureaucrats Stand in the Way of Releasing Elderly and Ill Prisoners
Christie Thompson, ProPublica, Dec. 4, 2013

Excerpt:
“Under the new guidelines, compassionate release can be granted not just to prisoners who have terminal illnesses, but also to those with debilitating conditions.  Prisoners who need to serve as caregivers for family members may now also seek reductions in sentencing. And for the first time, elderly federal inmates who aren’t necessarily dying or incapacitated can apply to be let out early.”

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