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Criminal Law

Punishment

2009

William W Berry III

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Extraordinary And Compelling: A Re-Examination Of The Justifications For Compassionate Release, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2009

Extraordinary And Compelling: A Re-Examination Of The Justifications For Compassionate Release, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

Federal law, unbeknownst to many, includes a provision that permits the immediate release of federal prisoners. This safety valve provision requires that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons make a motion on behalf of the prisoner in order to secure the prisoner's compassionate release. Far from being a veiled version of parole, this compassionate release provision is to be used only in circumstances deemed "extraordinary and compelling." While the Bureau of Prisons has read this language very narrowly for many years, considering only terminally ill inmates as candidates for compassionate release, the Sentencing Commission modified its Guideline commentary in …