Report: BOP Rarely Seeks ‘Compassionate’ Release


The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) rarely seeks early release for prisoners facing imminent death or serious incapacitation, according to a report released today by the advocacy groups Human Rights Watch and Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

In 1984, Congress gave federal courts authority to grant early release — also referred to as “compassionate release” — for “extraordinary and compelling” reasons, but only when a motion to do so has been submitted by the BOP.

The BOP has averaged about two dozen such motions each year since 1992, according to the study. The BOP requires prisoners to be within 12 months of death or irrevocably incapacitated in order to be considered for compassionate release; prisoners do not have the right to challenge BOP decisions in court.

The report's authors recommend that the BOP bring early release motions to court whenever a prisoner can present “extraordinary and compelling” reasons for release, “regardless of whether bureau officials believe early release is warranted.”

Read the study HERE.

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