The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Compassionate Release Program

Josiah N. Marleins (Editor)

Series: Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement and Corrections
BISAC: LAW027000


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In the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, Congress authorized the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to request that a federal judge reduce an inmate’s sentence for “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances. Under the statute, the request can be based on either medical or non-medical conditions that could not reasonably have been foreseen by the judge at the time of sentencing. The BOP has issued regulations and a Program Statement entitled “compassionate release” to implement this authority.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that an effectively managed compassionate release program would result in cost savings for the BOP, as well as assist the BOP in managing its continually growing inmate population and the significant capacity challenges it is facing. However, the existing BOP compassionate release program has been poorly managed and implemented inconsistently, likely resulting in eligible inmates not being considered for release and in terminally ill inmates dying before their requests were decided. This book assesses the BOP’s compassionate release program, including whether it provides cost savings or other benefits to the BOP. (Imprint: Nova)


The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Compassionate Release Program
(U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General)

Prison and Jail Deaths in Custody, 2000-2009 - Statistical Tables
(Margaret E. Noonan and E. Ann Carson, Bureau of Justice Statistics)


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