COVID-19 Compassionate Release Project

NACDL seeks volunteers in historic pro bono effort to secure compassionate release for the most vulnerable federal prisoners.

NACDL, in partnership with Families Against Mandatory Minimums (“FAMM”), the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the Federal Public and Community Defenders, and other advocates, is currently recruiting attorneys, social workers, and medical professionals to work on compassionate release motions for those inmates most vulnerable to COVID-19: the elderly and chronically ill. If you are available to assist in this historic effort to protect our most vulnerable populations in federal prison, please fill out the form below, and NACDL will reach out to you to coordinate action.

The passage of the First Step Act in December 2018 expanded federal compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(1), allowing inmates to file compassionate release motions directly with their sentencing courts.  The First Step Act also expanded the sentencing courts’ discretion to reduce sentences based on “extraordinary and compelling reasons” under 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(1).  The COVID-19 pandemic is without question an “extraordinary and compelling reason.”

NACDL seeks attorneys to draft and file compassionate release motions for inmates, social workers to assist with inmates’ reentry after prison, and medical professionals to explain to courts the impending medical emergency in overcrowded and unsanitary prisons.

Sign up at the Compassionate Release Clearinghouse


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