What is the Compassionate Release Program?

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting all walks of life. With the number of cases soaring, it is apparent that social distancing is necessary to stop the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, social distancing is not usually possible in prison. Prisons are designed to contain a number of individuals in various common spaces and cells. The only way to provide for proper social distancing is to reduce the number of inmates. One way the government does this is to release some inmates. With that in mind, it may be possible to receive a compassionate release.

What is a Compassionate Release?

Compassionate release is a program that allows some inmates to leave the prison facility and go on home confinement for extraordinary or compelling circumstances. In the past, these types of incidences were most often related to serious medical conditions. Due to the pandemic, some inmates may have conditions that might make them more vulnerable if they catch coronavirus. Such underlying conditions may include respiratory issues, diabetes, and other medical problems that could make coronavirus more serious for them.  

Compassionate release is a program that allows a qualified inmate to leave a prison facility and go home. At home, the inmate would be required to be on “home confinement.” Generally, the person may be required to wear an ankle bracelet that detects and alerts movements outside of the confinement area. If a person violates home confinement rules they would be subject to immediate re-confinement. The incarcerated individual would have to follow all the specific rules and regulations that apply to their specific case.

Am I Eligible for Compassionate Release?

The “First Step Act” is legislation that provides a path for an inmate to successfully transition back into society. The Federal Bureau of Prisons oversees inmates in the federal prison system. The Attorney General sent instructions to the FBOP to prioritize home confinement in cases where an inmate could be in a high risk coronavirus category. If you feel you are eligible for compassionate release, you can request it with the Bureau of Prisons. If the BOP does not grant a release, an inmate may file a petition with the court. Judges have the power to authorize compassionate release according to the First Step Act.

Inmates who are considered a flight risk or those who are considered a danger to the community are not eligible for compassionate release. The courts use factors in the Bail Reform Act to determine whether a person is allowed bail or is considered a danger or flight risk. Some of these factors include the type of crime that was committed and the evidence against the inmate, the length of sentence and time already served, character of the inmate, criminal history, and plans following release.

If you have questions or need guidance it is helpful to seek assistance from an experienced legal team. Your attorney will review the details of your case and assist you in requesting a compassionate release if available. Contact our experienced lawyers at Henderson Legal Group to discuss your case today.



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