The first reported case of COVID-19 within a BOP facility occurred on March 21, 2020. As of April 6, over 195 inmates and 63 BOP staff had tested positive across BOP’s 122 institutions. Those figures represent a nearly 600% increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the course of just 5 days.
In an effort to prevent the coronavirus from further spreading throughout the federal prison system, on March 26th and again on April 3rd, United States Attorney General Bill Barr issued a Memorandum to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) directing the BOP “to prioritize the use of [BOP’s] various statutory authorities to grant home confinement for inmates seeking transfer in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
In assessing the inmates who should be prioritized for transfer to home confinement, the Attorney General identified the following non-exhaustive list of discretionary factors:
The Attorney General’s broad directive has received substantial support from members of Congress, which has also taken legislative steps, through the recently enacted CARES Act, to expand BOP’s authority to “lengthen the maximum amount of time . . . authorized to place a prisoner in home confinement.” Specifically, under the CARES Act, BOP can now place a prisoner in home confinement for as long “as the Director determines appropriate,” rather than for a maximum period of six months.
Flannery | Georgalis is actively pursuing the immediate transfer to home confinement of multiple BOP inmates and will continue to provide updates to the Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.