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Border agents could leave prison within days

Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 02/03/2009 @ 9:44 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos could be eligible to leave federal prison within days – though their official release date is still set for March 20, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons has confirmed.

BOP spokeswoman Traci Billingsley told WND that inmates may serve their sentences in arranged living facilities or home confinement before they are given their full freedom.

“On their release date, all Bureau of Prisons inmates are generally released from one of three places,” she said. “They’re either released from an institution, a residential reentry center (halfway house) or they’re released from home confinement.”

Prison records still list the official release date for the two agents as March 20, and former President George Bush’s last-minute commutation of their sentences requires them to remain under supervision until that date. However, there is still a possibility the agents could serve out their sentences from home.

Billingsley said she could not speculate on where Ramos and Compean will be when they are officially released in March. Another BOP spokesman in Phoenix told WND inmates are considered for community placement “on a case-by-case basis.”

According to the Bureau of Prisons website, prisoners placed on home confinement at the end of their prison terms must remain at home during “non-working hours of the day” and must abide by strict schedules and curfew requirements. The bureau may use electronic monitoring equipment to ensure compliance.

Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in-law, told El Paso’s KFOX 14, his family is praying the agents return soon.

“If he comes home, even in home confinement, I’m sure they would welcome it and they wouldn’t care if they had to stay home day and night,” he said.

Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos were convicted and imprisoned for an encounter with drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. He had dropped one-third of a ton of drugs in the United States and was fleeing back into Mexico when the officers shot at him and wounded him.

He was granted full immunity in exchange for testimony against the agents. While on that grant of immunity, he was involved in another drug smuggling incident, for which he later was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was not charged for the first incident.

The Compean and Ramos families are still awaiting response from the Supreme Court in their quest to clear the agents. Under a commutation, they still carry the felony conviction, although they will be released from prison. They filed a petition for writ of certiorari on Jan. 12, and the court extended the Office of the Solicitor General’s allotted time for response to Feb. 11.

As WND reported, Compean’s wife, Patty, said her husband is thrilled about Bush’s decision to commute his sentence.

“[H]e’s very excited,” Patty Compean said. “He’s just gushing with ideas about what he wants to do.”

Compean asked Patty to relay a message: “He wanted me to tell everybody ‘Thank you.’”

 



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