Contact: Rabiah Burks
FAMM Applauds Senate Committee Action on Compassionate Release
WASHINGTON, DC – FAMM President Kevin Ring today applauded the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for providing long overdue oversight of the federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) compassionate release program. In its report accompanying the FY2018 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill, the Committee addressed concerns that FAMM has raised about the BOP’s failure to grant compassionate release. Specifically, the Committee’s report directs the BOP to report on what it is doing to increase its use of compassionate release and to provide data on how many compassionate release requests have been granted and denied in the last five years, the reasons for those decisions, how long it took to process the request, and how many people died while waiting for an answer.
“Elderly and sick prisoners cost taxpayers the most and threaten us the least, and there’s no good reason they should stay locked up or die behind bars because bureaucrats can’t or won’t let them go home to their families,” Ring said. “It’s time for someone to get to the bottom of why the BOP’s answer is always no on compassionate release.”
Compassionate release is very rarely granted, despite the fact that Congress authorized the BOP to bring motions to federal court on behalf of prisoners who are aging, extremely ill, or have other “extraordinary and compelling circumstances” (e.g., extreme family hardship). Tragically, many prisoners die while waiting for their requests to be processed.
In 2013, FAMM General Counsel Mary Price co-authored a major report on the BOP’s failure to grant compassionate release. Earlier this year, FAMM held a briefing on Capitol Hill on the topic and premiered a new short documentary on the topic.
FAMM, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.
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