Federal Prison COVID-19 Update

On March 26, 2020 Attorney General William Barr issued a directive to the Bureau of Prisons on using home confinement, something more clearly defined last April.

Our information from the BOP indicates that home confinement in areas that have large outbreaks, like New York City, could be problematic for those seeking release.

Here are the highlights of those who might be eligible from Barr’s memo:

In assessing which inmates should be granted home confinement pursuant to this Memorandum. you [Bureau of Prisons] are to consider the totality of circumstances for each individual inmate, the statutory requirements for home confinement, and the following non exhaustive list of discretionary factors:
The age and vulnerability of the inmate in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

The security level of the facility currently holding the inmate, with priority given to inmates residing in low and minimum security facilities;

The inmate's conduct in prison, with inmates who have engaged in violent or gang-related activity in prison or who have incurred a BOP violation within the last year not receiving priority treatment under this Memorandum;The inmate's score under PATTERN, with inmates who have anything above a minimum score not receiving priority treatment under this Memorandum;Whether the inmate has a demonstrated and verifiable re-entry plan that will prevent recidivism and maximize public safety, including verification that the conditions under which the inmate would be con?ned upon release would present a lower risk of contracting than the imnate would face in his or her BOP facility;

The inmate's crime of conviction, and assessment of the danger posed by the inmate to the community. Some offenses, such as sex offenses, will render an inmate ineligible for home detention. Other serious offenses should weigh more heavily against consideration for home detention.

The BOP announced the first death of an inmate from COVID-19 on Saturday, March 28. The inmate was housed at FCI Oakdale in Louisiana.

From a BOP Press Release: “On Thursday, March 19, 2020, inmate Patrick Jones complained of a persistent cough at the Federal Correctional (FCI) Oakdale I in Oakdale, Louisiana. He was evaluated by institutional medical staff and transported to a local hospital for further treatment and evaluation. While at the local hospital, Mr. Jones tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday, March 20, 2020, his condition declined and he was placed on a ventilator. On Saturday, March 28, 2020, who had a long-term, pre-existing medical conditions which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 diseases, was pronounced dead by hospital staff.”

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