Compassionate Release is a program established under 18 U.S.C. §§ 4205(g) and 3582(c)(1)(A).
Under 18 U.S.C. 4205(g), a sentencing court, on motion of the Bureau of Prisons, may make an inmate with a minimum term sentence immediately eligible for parole by reducing the minimum term of the sentence to time served. Under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A), a sentencing court, on motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, may reduce the term of imprisonment of an inmate sentenced under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The Bureau uses 18 U.S.C. 4205(g) and 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A) in particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing.
18 U.S.C. 4205(g) was repealed effective November 1, 1987, but remains the controlling law for inmates whose offenses occurred prior to that date. For inmates whose offenses occurred on or after November 1, 1987, the applicable statute is 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A). Procedures for compassionate release of an inmate under either provision are contained in 28 CFR part 571, subpart G.
The procedure for applying and the criteria for granting are defined in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) document here: BOP Document. This document will also be available in the Download menu tab shortly.
The factors the sentencing court will consider include:
- Nature and circumstances of the inmate’s offense.
- Criminal history.
- Comments from victims.
- Unresolved detainers.
- Supervised release violations.
- Institutional adjustment.
- Disciplinary infractions.
- Personal history derived from the PSR.
- Length of sentence and amount of time served. This factor is considered with respect to proximity to release date or Residential Reentry Center (RRC) or home confinement date.
- Inmate’s current age.
- Inmate’s age at the time of offense and sentencing.
- Inmate’s release plans (employment, medical, financial).
- Whether release would minimize the severity of the offense.
When reviewing RIS requests, these factors are neither exclusive nor weighted. These factors should be considered to assess whether the RIS request presents particularly extraordinary and compelling circumstances. Overall, for each RIS request, the BOP should consider whether the inmate’s release would pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community.