DOJ Takes Step Towards Expanding “Compassionate Release” From Prison


The U.S. Justice Department is taking another step towards expanding the early “compassionate release” program for federal prisoners by withdrawing regulations proposed seven years ago that would have formally limited the program to inmates with serious medical problems, Politico reports. DOJ is withdrawing the Bush-era proposed rules, but does not immediately propose new ones. Attorney General Eric Holder has backed efforts to broaden the compassionate release program, which a DOJ Inspector General report found was underutilized and could save the government money without significantly endangering public safety. The IG report found no cases in recent years of inmates being released for any non-medical reason and found that many prisoners die while awaiting decisions from the Bureau of Prisons. Holder has said he was expanding the “compassionate release” policy to cover elderly prisoners who served significant portions of their sentences for non-violent crimes.

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