They Can't Wait: FAMM's Response to COVID-19 | FAMM

They Can’t Wait: FAMM’s Response to COVID-19

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In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, FAMM encouraged the most vulnerable people in federal prison to immediately apply for early release. FAMM also urged state and local governments to use their authority to release sick and elderly people as quickly as possible

FAMM, together with partner organizations the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, then launched the COVID-19 Compassionate Release Clearinghouse.  The Clearinghouse works to connect medically vulnerable people in federal prison with federal defenders and pro bono attorneys.

To date, FAMM and partners have screened more than 5, 500 requests for assistance and referred nearly 2,000 requests to counsel to determine if a motion for compassionate release should be filed. More than 1,000 motions have been filed so far, resulting in at least 180 releases.

Intake for the COVID-19 Compassionate Release Clearinghouse is now being handled by the NACDL.

Intake for the COVID-19 Compassionate Release Clearinghouse is now being handled by the NACDL. If you or your loved one is seeking assistance with compassionate release, you can fill out the questionnaire here.

Fill Out Our Questionnaire

Haga clic aquí para el forma en español.

NOTE: If you are a loved one of someone who was sentenced in DC Superior Court, please fill out this questionnaire.

Fill Out Our D.C. Questionnaire
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has now made available a template pro se motion for compassionate release.  If you are filing without a lawyer, you can find the template here.

Want to know more? Use the links below to jump to:

How You Can Help the Most Vulnerable

The Centers for Disease Control consider the most vulnerable to include people over 65 years old, and people with a condition that affects their lungs, heart, kidney, immune system or who have another serious chronic medical condition. There are more than 10,000 people in federal prison who are over 60 years old. Many are in poor health.

Here’s how you can help them:

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State Department of Corrections (DOC) Dashboards with COVID-19 data

The following states have online dashboards. We’ll update this list with more states as dashboards are developed. Each state name links to that state’s dashboard.

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Resources by State/Territory

Below you’ll find memos, fact sheets, letters, and more in regards to state policies for COVID-19.

General State Updates:

Arizona:

Florida:

Mississippi:

New York:

Pennsylvania:

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Your COVID Questions, Answered!

Watch our April 3, 2020 Facebook Live on Compassionate Release:

Watch a Q&A with FAMM’s president,
Kevin Ring:

Watch our Facebook Live with Matthew Charles and retired NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik

Say Her Name: Andrea Circle Bear

Applying for Compassionate Release

The first step in compassionate release is a request to the warden. (While the sentencing judge makes the final determination about compassion release, the law requires the process to start with the warden.)

The request for compassionate release can be made by the person in prison, or by someone else on their behalf. Here is how you can make a request on your loved one’s behalf:

  • Write a letter to the warden.
  • In this letter:
    • Include your loved one’s name and register number.
    • Tell the warden how you are related.
    • Tell the warden you are requesting compassionate release for your loved one.
    • Explain the grounds you are relying on. See pages 2 and 3 in this explainer for information about compassionate release criteria.
    • Explain why you think your loved one fits the CDC COVID-19 criteria (if s/he does).
    • Explain where your loved one will live and how they be supported and receive medical care if they are released.
    • Provide your full name and contact information.
  • Be sure to:
    • DATE the letter
    • Keep a copy of the letter for your records
    • Send the letter by certified mail so that you have a record of the date on which the letter is received by the warden.
    • You can also email a copy of the letter to the warden’s executive assistant whose email address is on the BOP website for the institution where your loved one is incarcerated.
  • Once the request for compassionate release is received by the warden, the 30-day waiting period begins.
  •  Once the 30 days have passed, the court is permitted to consider a compassionate release motion from your loved one.

 

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