"Compassionate release" of our sickest and oldest prisoners is a way to reduce the federal prison population. It's also meant to save on the high cost of health care for aging inmates, and show some - well, compassion, to prisoners closing in on the end of their lives.
Yet, the Bureau of Prisons approves few of the thousands of applications they receive from inmates - even with bipartisan support in Congress, and regardless of recommendations from prison doctors, counselors, and wardens recommend release. As a result, hundreds die in jail awaiting approval, many of them incarcerated for non-violent offenses.
We also talk about a provocative alternative to compassionate release in Connecticut.
- Christie Thompson - Staff writer for The Marshall Project.
- Kim Heraldez - Kim’s father died in prison while awaiting release
- Denise Littleford - Denise’s brother died in prison while awaiting approval of his application
- Mike Lawlor - Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, Connecticut office of Policy and Management.
- Richard Sparaco - Executive Director of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.