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The First Step Act of 2018 Expands the Use of Compassionate Release for Federal Prisoners

Unexpected Mercy Requested by Ponzi Scheme King, Bernie Madoff


North Dighton, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/23/2020 --Few inmates who have pursued compassionate release, prior to the First Step Act, have had their petitions for mercy granted by the Federal Bureau of Prisoners. Since the enactment of the Federal Compassionate Release Program, created in 1984, Bureau staff have served as the sole gate keeper to mercy.

The Federal law that provided compassionate release, in theory, left a petitioner's request to the discretion of prison staff without any opportunity to appeal. Unlike the state systems, an overpopulated Federal prison is a profitable venture for all involved, leaving only the American Taxpayers to suffer the burden.

In most negotiations to build new facilities investors require a guarantee from the Department of Justice to provide a minimum number of living breathing souls, to populate the new prison. This should come as no surprise considering that Federal prisons are funded based on the number of inmates confined to individual institutions. The Department of Justice charges American taxpayers $102.60 per day, per inmate. Thus, a prison that hold a population of 2000 inmates earns over $200,000 per day, a sum paid to the facility. The warden who acts as the CEO of the institution distributes those funds as they see fit. This brings the granting of compassionate release down to a financial decision rather than an act of mercy. Thus, wardens don't ordinarily grant compassionate release, any more than bankers burn money.

The First Step Act, that was signed into law on December 21, 2018, gave Federal prisoners the right to appeal a warden's denial of compassionate release, to a Federal Judge.

Congress established compassionate release for a number of reasons that include its desire to promote the ethical and humane treatment of prisoners. At the same time giving consideration to the burden upon taxpayers caused by the rising cost of in-prison medical care. Medical expenses for the Bureau of Prisons have risen from $1.18 billion in 2017 to $1.23 billion in 2019, according to Federal budget estimates. A noted contributing factor is that, the average age of inmates in Federal prisons has increased by nearly 10 percent over the last decade to 41 years of age, according to the bureau of prisons. The number of people age 55 or older in American prisons increased by nearly 265 percent from 1999 to 2015, the Pew Charitable Trust reported.

In today's prison-for-profit scheme, prisoners age 51 and older make up almost 20 percent of the federal prison population of over 174,000 federal prisoners. A 2015 Department of Justice Inspector General's report on aging prisoners noted that nearly 20 percent of the BOP's budget in 2013 was spent incarcerating aging inmates. The more senior inmates cost nearly $2,000 more per year each, than inmates younger than 50. Yet, notwithstanding the facts, Federal Prison wardens want their pound of flesh from American prisoners.

In a recent petition seeking compassionate release, Ponzi Scheme King Bernie Madoff claimed that he is in the end stages of kidney disease. He also noted that he must use a wheelchair and is in need of round-the-clock assistance. At 81 years old Madoff was declared to be too old for a kidney transplant, and as a result has been moved to a section of the Federal Medical Center prison, in Butner, North Carolina, that is reserved for easing such conditions rather than curing them. Mr. Madoff is asking for compassionate release so he can die at home.

The Bureau of prisons acknowledges that Mr. Madoff has 18 months or less to live. A prison doctor diagnosed him with end-stage renal disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and hyperparathyroidism, among a long list of other ailments. The BOP admits that Mr. Madoff fits the criteria for compassionate release but still rejected his application in December of 2019.

Because the terminally ill Madoff now has the right to appeal to his district judge, his attorney filed a motion to continue the fight for mercy. Madoff has said that he is on dialysis and takes up to 10 medications a day. His prescriptions include amlodipine and diltiazem for high blood pressure, atorvatatin (Lipitor) for high cholesterol, and clacitriol.

It's also important to note that the Federal Bureau of Prisons approved only about 6 percent of the estimated 5,400 petitions, for compassionate release, that it received between 2013 and 2017. A shocking 266 of those whose petitions were denied died in prison. The low number of approvals prompted Congress to draft the corrective First Step Act. The new act is a broad prison and sentencing reform law that, in addition to providing a way for prisoners to appeal denials, shortened sentences for drug crimes, raised the effectiveness of credits for good behavior, and pledged improvements to job-training courses and resulted in the early release of more than 3,000 Federal prisoners.

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