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  #1  
Old 07-28-2017, 07:47 PM
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Default Congress Wants to Know Why BOP Won't Let Elderly Prisoners Go Home to Die

Congress Wants to Know Why BOP Won't Let Elderly Prisoners Go Home to Die

For years, federal prisoners and their advocates have begged the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to shorten the sentences of elderly and terminally ill offenders using a provision called "compassionate release."

With the stroke of a pen, the BOP has the power to release men like Bruce Harrison, sentenced in 1994 to 50 years for delivering cocaine and marijuana at the behest of undercover federal agents. Now 65, Harrison suffers from a heart condition and has neuropathy in his feet that makes it difficult to walk. His official release date? 2037.


....Yesterday, Congress demanded that the BOP explain why it continues to incarcerate geriatric and terminally ill prisoners who pose no threat to public safety and are unlikely to commit new crimes upon their release.


Read entire article HERE
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:31 AM
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My husband, first time, white collar offender has a compassionate release request in for several months. He had a heart attack since being incarcerated. The thing that angers me is his counselor has given him false hope of it being approved, when we all know that it is a shot in the dark. I have told him to be ready to do all his federal time and if God sees fit to end it early, then to be grateful....
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:27 PM
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Compassionate release is very rarely granted, despite the fact that Congress authorized the BOP to bring motions to federal court on behalf of prisoners who are aging, extremely ill, or have other “extraordinary and compelling circumstances” (e.g., extreme family hardship). Tragically, many prisoners die while waiting for their requests to be processed.
http://famm.org/famm-applauds-senate...onate-release/

I'm glad to see this getting attention from people the BOP has to listen to.
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Old 07-30-2017, 08:43 AM
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I'm not a huge fan of this compassionate release stuff. What's the point of punishment if you're just going to remove it based on some arbitrary order? Bernie Madoff is likely a model inmate, should we let guys like him go?
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:21 AM
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On the day when he's a month away from death, yes, I'm OK with having him die at home with family at his bedside.

Why bring up Madoff? Does he have a crippling health problem I haven't read about?

There are only a few people for whom the punishment I want involves facing their end crippled in a prison bed. I am trying to fix myself so I don't want that any more.
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:40 AM
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Why bring up Madoff? Does he have a crippling health problem I haven't read about?
Dunno. But he's 79 years old...he is elderly.
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:14 AM
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If someone needs constant medical care to take care of themselves then I think they should be released. Face it, prison is no place for someone bedridden or with dementia if the family can pay for their care on the outside. The length of time they have left to live shouldn't be a factor because people live for years with dementia.

On the other hand I don't feel inmates should be released just because they have a terminal illness if they are able to care for themselves.

I don't know much about where inmates are housed when they have debilitating illnesses but it can't be great medical care.
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Old 07-30-2017, 03:21 PM
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LOTS of people have heart conditions, in some instances drug-induced. Neuropathy tends to suggest diabetic as well. Statistically, those who were SO involved in drug-trafficking that their case went federal are the ones who are most apt to return to that sort of conduct.

Unless there is a diagnosis that someone is terminal, then they should not be getting preferential treatment just because they are old. Even if they ARE terminal, then there still needs to be a showing that they have the means to care for themselves at their expense outside of the custodial environment...if they cannot do that, then nothing is gained by an early release from custody.
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Old 07-30-2017, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jsanner View Post
Dunno. But he's 79 years old...he is elderly.
Compassionate release isn't based on age. It's based on “particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing” and usually that means a level of medical need that indicates end of life is imminent.

As with ALL things related to incarceration, I want to gently remind us that we have several members who have won compassionate release for their loved one and that it did allow those folks the opportunity to pass at home or at least outside of prison walls.

This is not a Get Out of Jail Free card, it's a humane response to someone with little time left and a substantial amount of care required. And as Andy pointed out, someone with no resources or support on the outside when compared to their need would not earn a CR. That would be the opposite of compassion.
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:29 PM
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...looks like they're (Congress) following up:

Senators push federal prisons to expand compassionate release

A bipartisan group of senators are calling on federal prison officials to follow through on recommendations to expand the use of compassionate release.
In a letter Thursday, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and 11 other senators asked acting Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Thomas Kane and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to take a serious look at a prison bureau program that allows federally incarcerated people to appeal for early release if they present certain “extraordinary and compelling” reasons.


Read entire article HERE
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:24 PM
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Recent paper on comparative sentencing around the world by Michael Tonry, U Minnesota
- Russia gives no life sentences if you are 60 or over
- Spain lets people out once they reach 80
- very few countries outside the US have LWOP, even if some people are unlikely ever to be paroled

Keeping old and sick people in jail is a) very expensive and b) mostly entirely unnecessary. These people are not dangerous. Are we so determined to get our pound of flesh that we can't let people go home (if they have a home any more) to die? Or believe that after 25 or 30 years it's enough punishment already (keeping in mind that their punishment continues even out of jail in many other ways.) There are very few people in jail for crimes so horrible that we should be unwilling to release them at some point. In fact, such release should be the norm unless there are strong reasons not to do it.
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:54 PM
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- Spain lets people out once they reach 80
We can't implement that sort of blanket release until we knock down sentence lengths. We'd be shifting the problem from prison to the street. :/
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onparoleinTO View Post
Recent paper on comparative sentencing around the world by Michael Tonry, U Minnesota
- Russia gives no life sentences if you are 60 or over
- Spain lets people out once they reach 80
- very few countries outside the US have LWOP, even if some people are unlikely ever to be paroled

Keeping old and sick people in jail is a) very expensive and b) mostly entirely unnecessary. These people are not dangerous. Are we so determined to get our pound of flesh that we can't let people go home (if they have a home any more) to die? Or believe that after 25 or 30 years it's enough punishment already (keeping in mind that their punishment continues even out of jail in many other ways.) There are very few people in jail for crimes so horrible that we should be unwilling to release them at some point. In fact, such release should be the norm unless there are strong reasons not to do it.
You overlook the felony conduct being committed by older (elderly) persons, some of which IS violent. Just because someone is 65 or 70 does NOT mean they have done 25 or 30 years.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:50 PM
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Google this woman

"Doris Payne is 86 years old and still working hard as an international jewel thief."

What should we do about people like her?
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:58 PM
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Google this woman

"Doris Payne is 86 years old and still working hard as an international jewel thief."

What should we do about people like her?
Well, duh...obviously pay them no heed and let them run around with the likes of Whitey Bulger (now something like 87 but with barely six years on the current period of confinement since the 2011 capture).
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:44 PM
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And I think Bernie Maddof was 71 at time of sentencing; old doesn't equate legal, moral and ethical.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:58 PM
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"Aging out" seems to be one of those phrases people use when they want it to help someone get out and yet disregard it when they want to keep people in.

Regardless, CR isn't about age only. The BOP has expanded its criteria, but it still bases it on medical and age.

"Though the senators said the BOP adopted new policies following that report to expand its criteria, none of the 203 elderly inmates who applied under medical reasons in the 13 months following the report were approved."
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:08 PM
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Sheila Farrington was granted CR as was her husband Donald Hill - you can Google for details about the Texas federal case, but Mr. Hill died after his release.

Last edited by safran; 08-04-2017 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
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Sheila Farrington was granted CR as was her husband Donald Hill - you can Google for details about the Texas federal case, but Mr. Hill died after his release.
Looks like Farrington won her CR because of her MS progression and dementia and Hill had stage 4 prostate cancer (treated for two years in prison).

Farrington was released in 2016 and Hill was released the week before his passing in May.

Both of those seem to fit the criteria for CR based on age/medical alone. It's assumed their risk assessment also met the criteria.

This report from the OIG, Feb 2016, outlines the failings of the CR program and areas for improvement and expansion. It addresses recidivism rates.

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Old 08-04-2017, 08:34 PM
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And sadly, I remember two women I was in a FMC with that were granted CR and neither family would accept them.

Both were from the great DC area, both had been heroin users and both had AIDs - neither were well enough to travel by public transportation and neither family paid to have the bodies shipped home.

It was heartbreaking and I can't help but wonder if they'd been released sooner rather than waiting until the Angel of Death was right there if they might have died at home after making peace with their loved ones.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:37 PM
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And sadly, I remember two women I was in a FMC with that were granted CR and neither family would accept them.

Both were from the great DC area, both had been heroin users and both had AIDs - neither were well enough to travel by public transportation and neither family paid to have the bodies shipped home.

It was heartbreaking and I can't help but wonder if they'd been released sooner rather than waiting until the Angel of Death was right there if they might have died at home after making peace with their loved ones.
I wondered about that with the stat that the article used (saying of 200-something none were granted). It's not just if the inmate is eligible, but their support system upon release. It seems like affluence would be a benefit here. Even if you had no people, you have the funds to make alternate care plans you may be granted release. But someone with no one (common occurrence with lengthy sentences) and no resources, you're SOL.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:45 PM
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In the cases of the two women I mentioned family had basically written them off; both were long-term addicts, both had long arrest records and both had their families heartache for years.

So yes - there was nobody that wanted them.

It upset me then as it does now.
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:30 AM
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In my experience, the only way the bop will ever do what Congress, or the courts, wants them to do is if it is mandated in the law or in the court order. Otherwise they consider it to be a "suggestion". My request for 12 months in community corrections as contained in the "Second Chance Act" resulted in a group laugh from my bop unit team and less, not more, HWH time than the 10% standard they were supposedly granting before that law went into effect.

There were a large number of inmate deaths at FDC Butner (a pseudo bop "hospital) when I was there. There was zero chance that the bop would allow a notorious inmate like John Gotti to die at home or in a real hospital, but from what has been posted here, it appears like even regular folks are summarily rejected too.
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