The Sentencing Resource Counsel for the Federal Defenders has released an updated fact sheet about the impact of COVID-19 in the federal prison system. It is a fascinating and disturbing account of the death toll within BOP and the lack of leadership and oversight that has contributed to a deadly crisis for our clients in federal custody. The fact sheet includes links to other resources on point and contains particularly useful data for those fighting for compassionate or pretrial release. Find it here:
The United States Sentencing Commission has just released a number of reports on federal sentencing practices in fiscal year 2019.
Particularly useful are the data reports compiling federal sentencing statistics from each judicial district, the districts within each judicial circuit, and the districts within each state. Each report compares the statistics from the respective district, circuit, or state to the nation as a whole. You can find all of the reports here.
Data specific to the Tenth Circuit is available here, see USSC Data for Fiscal Year 2019.
And, a short Overview of Federal Criminal Cases for Fiscal Year 2019 is also worth your time.
As we make release arguments in light of COVID-19, consider using data visualizations in your filings to advance the cause.
But there is good reason to believe the numbers reported by the BOP understate the actual number of tested-positive cases. When using BOP data, make sure to keep in mind that just because a facility isn’t listed on the BOP website does not mean there are no presumptive positive or clinically confirmed cases in that facility.
The Prison Policy Initiative is aggregating information about the criminal justice system and COVID-19.
Other sources of COVID-19 data and statistics can be found here. This is a website maintained by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering; they are tracking the COVID-19 spread in real time on an interactive dashboard with data available for download.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides daily updates on the cumulative numbers of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
Data about COVID-19 cases in Colorado is updated daily by the Department of Health.
The Bureau of Prisons initiated a review of its management of female inmates in response to concerns raised by Congress and public interest groups over possible deficiencies in how BOP treated female inmates. The review was conducted by the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The sixty-page report released last month made these findings:
- BOP institutions are not complying with policies for female inmates, specifically the Female Offender Manual, which was issued in November 2016 but has not yet been fully implemented.
- BOP has inadequate staffing at the office that oversees management of female inmates.
- BOP is failing to adequately implement programming for female inmates specifically in areas of trauma and pregnancy.
- The report stated that 90% of the female prison population has experienced physical or emotional trauma. While BOP has trauma programs, the wait is too long.
- Only 37% of pregnant inmates received the pregnancy programming even though spots were available. OIG attributed the problem largely to the lack of social workers at BOP institutions as social workers must refer inmates to the programs.
- BOP is not providing adequate feminine hygiene products to female inmates.
The report also contained some interesting facts:
- Most female and male inmates are in BOP for drug crimes but female inmates are less likely to be convicted of weapons, sex or other violent offenses.
- The median sentence for female inmates is 5 years while it is ten for men.
- Nearly all female inmates are classified as low or minimum security.
- There is no medium security classification for female inmates.
BOP also highlighted four programs available to female inmates:
(1) The Resolve program for female inmates with a history of trauma-related mental illness. It lasts 40 weeks.
(2) The Female Integrated Treatment program (FIT) for trauma, substance abuse and mental health. This is only available at the low security facility in Danbury.
(3) Mothers and Infants Nurturing Together Program (MINT) in which female inmates may stay with their babies for up to 6 months after birth.
(4) The Residential Parenting Program in Gig Harbor, where female inmates may stay with their babies for up to 30 months after birth.
The share of people returning to state prison three years after being released—the most common measure of recidivism—dropped by nearly a quarter over a recent seven-year period, according to an analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts of federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) data on prisoners released in 2005 and 2012.
Pew undertook this research to compile and make public the most current multistate data on recidivism trends. Determining causal relationships to explain the drop in recidivism rates was outside the scope of this analysis.
The Pew study is available here. The methodology used by Pew involved review of an administrative data set maintained by the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP). NCRP compiles offender-level data on admissions and releases from state and federal prisons and post-confinement community supervision. The data are used to monitor the nation’s correctional population and address specific policy questions related to recidivism, prisoner reentry, and trends in demographic characteristics of the incarcerated and community supervision populations. BJS has administered the NCRP since 1983.