‘They let people die’: US prisons bureau denied tens of thousands compassionate release during C …


Sumary of ‘They let people die’: US prisons bureau denied tens of thousands compassionate release during Covid:

  • The last time Sean McQuiddy called home from federal prison, it was just before Christmas in 2020, and he had just tested positive for Covid-19..
  • In August, he had begged prison officials for compassionate release, citing the heightened threat of the virus..
  • Tens of thousands of federal prisoners like McQuiddy applied for compassionate release after the virus began sweeping through lockups..
  • But new Bureau of Prisons data shows officials approved fewer of those applications during the pandemic than they did the year before..
  • While the BOP director gave the green light to 55 such requests in 2019, a new director who took over in early 2020 approved only 36 requests in the 13 months since the pandemic took hold in March 2020..
  • The downturn in approvals came even as the number of people seeking compassionate release rocketed from 1,735 in 2019 to nearly 31,000 after the virus hit, according to the new figures..
  • Because the data was compiled for members of Congress, BOP spokesman Scott Taylor said the agency would not answer any questions about the data, “out of respect and deference”.
  • But Shon Hopwood, a Georgetown law professor, called the bureau decrease in compassionate releases during the pandemic “mind-boggling”….

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