Compassionate Release

Media Advisory: COVID-19 and Compassionate Release

Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700

Media Advisory: COVID-19 and Compassionate Release

WASHINGTON – FAMM General Counsel and compassionate release expert, Mary Price, is available to answer questions, and to comment on how state and local governments should use compassionate release and elderly home confinement during this unprecedented COVID-19 national pandemic.

“People who are eligible for compassionate release should be promptly assessed and released to their families, where they can receive better care,” said Price. “Prison and jail medical units will rapidly be overrun by a COVID-19 outbreak and will need as many beds as possible for critical care patients. It makes no sense to keep other people who are terminally ill or medically debilitated occupying those beds.”

FAMM, along with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, established the Compassionate Release Clearinghouse in February 2019 to help federal prisoners who are dying, very ill, or elderly; but whose requests for compassionate release have been denied or ignored by the Bureau of Prisons. The Clearinghouse recruits, trains, and supports pro bono attorneys who represent prisoners applying for compassionate release.

Price is the author of “Everywhere and Nowhere: Compassionate Release in the States.” The report takes a deep dive into the regulations and requirements of these programs in every state, including the varying categories of release, eligibility criteria, and reporting. The analysis also reveals a troubling number of barriers faced by prisoners and their families when applying for early release.

The report is accompanied by a comparison chart, 21 recommendations for policymakers, and 51 individual state memos.

To speak with Ms. Price, please contact Rabiah Burks

For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.

FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.