Compassionate Release News

Massachusetts Compassionate Release Short on Compassion

By Brandon Sample | July 17, 2020

Compassionate Release: The Denial of the Dying Massachusetts recently passed a compassionate release law that allows for the release of chronically or terminally ill inmates. But it appears that actual compassion is lacking. The first prisoner to request, who is terminally ill, has been rejected. Alexander Phillips is 31 and serving an 18- to 20-year…

Compassionate Release Petition Granted to Elderly Inmate

By Brandon Sample | July 13, 2020

The First Steps in the Right Direction The First Step Act of 2018 now allows federal inmates the opportunity to petition for early release. Prisoners who meet other conditions and struggle with self-care from a serious disease may seek a compassionate release. Case law on early release continues to develop as the statute is new.…

Medical Furlough Appeals a Possibility, NJ Supreme Court Rules

By Brandon Sample | July 10, 2020

With COVID-19 cases plaguing both state and federal prisons, inmates are seeking medical furloughs to reduce their exposure to the virus. However, many requests go unanswered or outright denied by the facility. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously that these rejections are eligible for appeal. Medical Furloughs under NJ Executive order lacking The New…

Government Took No Side on Compassionate Release Petition in Arizona

By Brandon Sample | July 10, 2020

Compassionate Release if the Government Took No Position Generally, courts are more likely to grant compassionate release petitions when the government took no position. However, defendants still have to show that they meet all requirements. A federal court in Arizona recently demonstrated that one of the most helpful factors for prisoners is the lack of…

Prisoner Gets Accommodations Instead of Compassionate Release

By Brandon Sample | July 8, 2020

Primarily, prisoners request compassionate release to get out of prison early. However, a recent Ohio federal case shows that a court can also recommend accommodations instead of compassionate release. As a result, sometimes prisons transfer inmates closer to home. Courts Consider Extraordinary and Compelling Reasons for Compassionate Release The First Step Act allows prisoners to…

Maine Federal Court Rejects BOP’s Role in Criteria for Compassionate Release

By Brandon Sample | July 6, 2020

To win a motion for a compassionate release, an inmate must meet specific criteria set by the BOP. However, a new case confirms that the court does not have to agree with the prison director’s findings. How the First Step Act Changed the Bureau of Prison’s Involvement in Evaluating Compassionate Release Petitions Before the First…

Solving Mass Incarceration by Keeping Former Offenders Out of Prison

By Brandon Sample | July 3, 2020

Keeping the -mass- out of mass incarceration The United States has the highest mass incarceration rate than anywhere else on the planet. But that’s only half the problem. Although incarceration rates continue to drop, the amount of time served a person must serve continues to grow. Approximately 200,000 individuals are serving a life sentence or…

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BOP Denies Critically Former Birmingham Mayor Compassionate Release

By Brandon Sample | November 14, 2019

Larry Langford, the former mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, was convicted in 2010 for public corruption and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Last November, the 72-year-old Langford, who is in failing health, was denied compassionate release by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In a document obtained by, the BOP explained its rationale…

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First Step Act Takes a Big Step Toward Compassion

By Brandon Sample | May 13, 2019

The recent passage of the First Step Act provides a small number of benefits to a small number of federal prisoners. One provision within the Act, however, might turn out to be quite significant. Criminal The criminal justice reform organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) released a four-page document entitled “Compassionate Release and the First…

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Federal Prisoner Granted Compassionate Release Under First Step Act Dies in Prison

By Brandon Sample | March 27, 2019

Federal prisoner Steve Cheatham was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer late last year.  He was given a few months to live. Prior to December 2018, that would mean that Cheatham could ask the Bureau of Prisons for a reduction in sentence–for compassionate release. The Bureau would then have slowly pushed paperwork around, and within a…