BOP Continues To Stumble On Compassionate Releases
by Derek Gilna
The BOP Policy on Compassionate Release has steadily lost pressure and momentum since a reform of the policy was announced to great fanfare in 2013. Human Rights Watch recently added its voice to critics of the federal Bureau of Prisons' Compassionate Release Program, designed by Congress to send home its most critically-ill prisoners. Studies have shown that the average prisoner costs the federal government approximately $30,000 per year, but elderly and ill prisoners cost an average of almost $70,000 a year, with many costing much more.
One would think that the fierce intra-agency competition for dollars in a shrinking Justice Department correctional budget should make this an obvious priority. Common sense would indicate that the procedures for these releases should be relatively straight-forward, triggered by an internal review focusing on a prisoner's medical records by a panel of medical professionals . One would think that the
would be happy to shuttle these individuals out of their institutions and
eliminate the crushing financial burden for their treatment off their books.
Needless to say, this is not the case. As usual, the
BOP has other ideas. Unfortunately, the BOP
balances its budget not by releasing infirm, terminally ill, and elderly prisoners, but in denying proper
medical care and delaying expensive treatment of chronically ill or terminal
patients. I dare the BOP
to prove me wrong.
Make no mistake. The
does grant Compassionate Releases. I
know-I got one, and it wasn't easy. They
are virtually impossible to get on your own.
You need help- help from someone that understands the system. It's like
anything else in the criminal justice system.
Sentence relief is hard to get and there are no guarantees. Unfortunately, different cases have different facts, and what worked for one does not necessarily work for all. Justice should be uniform, but it is not. It's more than just listing cases; you have to know how the system works. There are many routes to relief, but not all of them are mapped out, and depend not only upon case filings but by knowing which solution has the best chance of success. I don’t know all the answers, but at least I understand the (your) questions.
113 Mc Henry #173,