(Associated Press) For humanitarian and economic reasons, the federal Bureau of Prisons should grant more early releases to incapacitated and terminally ill prisoners, two advocacy groups say in a report depicting current policies as sometimes "cruel as well as senseless."
The report, issued Friday by Human Rights Watch and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, says the Bureau of Prisons oversees more than 218,000 inmates, yet has recommended an average of only two dozen compassionate releases a year since 1992.
Human Rights Watch senior adviser Jamie Fellner, a co-author of the report, said Congress in 1984 granted federal courts the authority to reduce sentences under "extraordinary and compelling" circumstances. However, the report says federal prisoners can't seek such a sentence reduction from the courts on their own; only the BOP has the authority to file a motion requesting judicial consideration of early release.
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