There is a lot of excitement surrounding the new criteria for compassionate release eligibility. Since the enactment of the FIRST STEP Act of 2018, and the new criteria for compassionate release that it created, more than 2,000 people have received Compassionate Release. But who is eligible for Compassionate Release?

eligibility for compassionate release

Historically, the granting of compassionate release has been reserved mainly for the terminally ill. Compassionate Release is a process for prisoners that allows inmates to request immediate release on medical or humanitarian grounds. However, many people are unaware of a change in the law that also allows prisoners the ability to file for Compassionate Release for “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances.

Those circumstances could include issues related to their sentence length, sentence type, or sentence structure, (see U.S. v Urkevich, 2020 LEXIS 197408 D. Nebraska). In addition, the courts have even found that an inmates ‘ remarkable post conviction rehabilitative efforts could be cause for a compassionate release, ( U.S. v. Marks 2020 LEXIS 68828 W.D. New York).

So, who is eligible for Compassionate Release? Compassionate release eligibility is based on having extraordinary and compelling reasons. Anyone can file for Compassionate Release. Moreover, with the new criteria for Compassionate Release, there are many circumstances that may be considered extraordinary and compelling.

Another change to the criteria for Compassionate Release allows inmates faster access to the courts. The new criteria for compassionate release allows access within 30 days of filing the initial request to the institutional warden. Furthermore, anyone who believes they have extraordinary and compelling circumstances may request a Compassionate Release.

If you believe that you have extraordinary and compelling reasons for Compassionate Release, then you qualify under the new compassionate release eligibility. The first step is to submit an official request to the institutional warden, asking for a Compassionate Release. The warden has (30) days to respond. This is a critical step in the process, and it is important that an inmates ‘ request be thorough and complete.

If an inmates request is not granted within (30) days, 18 U.S.C. subsection 3582 (c) (1) (A) allows for a motion to be filed in the court, requesting consideration for Compassionate Release Eligibility.

So, who is eligible for Compassionate Release? Perhaps you are.


Article by Gregory Berry of Brandon Sample PLC
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay