Pat Nolan’s Justice Fellowship is part of the Prison Fellowship organization created by the late Charles Colson. They are concerned with issues such as:
The Justice Fellowship is also concerned about Compassionate Release, an issue that will be familiar to readers of the Friends of Justice blog. Over the years we have told the story of people like Donna Stites, a brittle diabetic in the Indiana prison system who is also an Associate of the Sisters of Providence. And you will also remember Ramsey Muniz, a leader of La Raza Unida in the 1970s who twice ran for Texas Governor. Following a hip injury, Ramsey, who just turned 70, is hardly able to walk without assistance. We believe Mr. Muniz is innocent of the charges that placed him in prison but, that issue aside, the twenty years he has served in prison is more than a sufficient penalty for any non-violent crime.
Both Ramsey and Donna are devout Roman Catholics who could be making significant contributions in the free world. But, at both the state and national levels, compassionate release is very rare. Please read Pat Nolan’s comments and click on some of the links at the end of the article. It is encouraging to see political conservatives and liberals cooperating in support of a shared cause. AGB
Why is the BOP So Stingy with Compassionate Release?
When a federal prisoner faces imminent death or serious incapacitation, Congress has given courts the authority to grant early release – so-called “compassionate release.” However, the inmate cannot request such an order directly; the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must file the motion.
And that is where the system breaks down. Congress intended for the BOP to act as a gatekeeper to weed out frivolous inmate requests. They never intended that the BOP would be the decision maker. However, the BOP has arrogated that function to themselves, and the answer is almost always “No.” The numbers tell the tale: Since 1992 the BOP has forwarded an average of only 24 compassionate release requests per year to the courts. (more…)