Report Recommends More 'Compassionate' Releases of Federal Inmates

Thursday, 02 May 2013 11:17 AM

By Courtney Coren

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A Justice Department report is recommending better management of the "compassionate release" program run by the federal Bureau of Prisons in a move to cut more costs.

According to The New York Times, the 85-page report calls for the release of more inmates who are old, dying or facing extraordinary circumstances.

"We concluded that an effectively managed compassionate release program would result in cost savings for the B.O.P., as well as assist the B.O.P. in managing its continually growing inmate population and the resulting capacity challenges it is facing," the report said. "We further found that such a program would likely have a relatively low rate of recidivism."

The report, released Wednesday by the department's independent Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, said that only 3.5 percent of inmates compassionately released in the past were rearrested within three years compared with a recidivism rate of 41 percent for all former federal inmates.

The report also noted that eligibility requirements for the program varied from prison to prison and recommended that the same standards be applied consistently throughout the system.

According to the Times, the report also noted that most inmates were unaware of the compassionate release program. One of its recommendations included setting up a system to process and track requests for release quickly due to the fact that 13 percent of inmates who have applied in the past have ended up dying before a decision was made.

According to the Times, Bureau of Prisons director Charles E. Samuels Jr. said he would make improvements based on most of the report's recommendations.



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