Study: Release Program For Terminal Inmates ‘Poorly Managed’

A new watchdog report (PDF) says a Federal Bureau of Prisons program designed to help terminally ill inmates get early release is “poorly managed and implemented inconsistently.”

The study by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which was released Wednesday morning, finds that in 13 percent of cases in which prisoners were approved for the program, inmates died before bureaucrats in Washington made a final decision.

Congress gave the Bureau of Prisons the authority to reduce an inmate’s sentence for “extraordinary and compelling circumstances,” including illness or family crises, back in 1984. But BOP doesn’t keep track of the requests for compassionate release and doesn’t notify many inmates of their eligibility, the report says.

“We don’t sentence people to die alone in prison when we’ve given them a five-year sentence,” lawyer Mary Price told NPR in a story on Morning Edition last year.

For prisons that do monitor the progress or the requests, the inspector general says, the time frame ranges from 5 to 65 days.

The review of prison case files identified 142 inmates released under the program between 2006 and 2011. Given the lack of data, researchers say, it’s difficult to say how many inmates actually applied for such relief during that period.

The inspector general says using the compassionate-release program will save prisons an undetermined amount of money, with little cost to public safety. Horowitz says less than 4 percent of inmates who made use of the early release initiative between 2006 and 2011 returned to a life of crime.

 

Read original article

Study: Release Program For Terminal Inmates ‘Poorly Managed’

Recent headlines

  • Arctic Chinook exercise concludes

    Coast Guard wraps up Arctic exercises

    The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
  • Bacteria that causes botulism.

    Science and cooking collide to fight botulism

    Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
  • Earthquake Simulator

    Earthquake simulator will shake up Juneau

    Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
  • Dan DeBartolo is one of four candidates running for the Juneau School Board. (Courtesy of Dan DeBartolo)

    School board candidate juggles race and Facebook

    The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.

Comments

Playing Now: