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

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

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

In our efforts to identify people in prison who might need our assistance in applying for compassionate release at this crucial time, we sent this email and a questionnaire to the federal prisoners we are in touch with via Corrlinks.

If you are a family member of someone in federal prison who may fit the criteria, please complete the questionnaire online. We’ll be in touch if we can help you.

Fill Out Our Questionnaire

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
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:


District of Columbia:



New York:

North Carolina:



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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.

Some of you have told us that some prisons are refusing to accept prisoners’ requests for compassionate release. Others of you have explained that your loved ones on lockdown are unable to make requests.

FAMM is in touch with the Bureau of Prisons and we have expressed our concerns about these reports. We have received assurances that this will be addressed. We will let you know as soon as we hear from the BOP about if and how these barriers will be removed.

In the meantime, did you know that you can apply for compassionate release on behalf of your loved one?

If your loved one falls within the CDC COVID-19 criteria (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.), but is unable to make a request on their own, here is how you can make a request on their 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.
  • Once the request for compassionate release is received by the warden, the warden has 30 days to decide whether to deny the request or forward it to the Central Office for a final decision whether or not to file a motion for the person’s release.
  • Sending your letter officially will start the 30-day clock running. (This is one reason why it’s important to send your letter via certified mail.)
  • Fill out this questionnaire, letting us know the application to the warden has been made by you.

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