Last week, the United States Sentencing Commission held a special public hearing on compassionate release in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The Commission is considering writing new guidance for judges to use when considering motions from the BOP for the early release of a prisoner because of “extraordinary and compelling reasons.” During this hearing, the Sentencing Commission heard from experts in the field who offered testimony on the subject area. One such expert was FAMM’s Mary Price.
FAMM is very interested in 1) expanding the criteria for compassionate release and 2) making sure the Sentencing Commission tells the Bureau of Prisons to do its part and ask the court for early release when the BOP finds a prisoner meets those criteria. Right now, the BOP rejects prisoners, even those who meet the criteria, if they think the prisoner does not deserve to be released.
The Sentencing Commission needs to hear real-life examples of the people affected by the BOP’s limited compassionate release policy. They are asking the public to comment on how to expand compassionate release and whether the Commission should encourage the BOP to act once it has determined the prisoner meets those criteria. FAMM says “Yes” to both.
If your loved one has filed a petition for compassionate release, we ask you to please share your story with the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Tell them to urge the director of the BOP to not withhold a motion if a prisoner meets any of the qualifying circumstances for compassionate release. The Commission won’t be able to help with individual cases. And, it cannot make the BOP approve of more compassionate releases. But we believe hearing from you can influence the process.
To learn more about compassionate release, read Mary’s testimony from the hearing, or see the notice and request for public comment, visit FAMM’s website.