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Legal Update: Compassionate Release

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Washington, DC recently passed a law that allows people who are serving a prison term for DC Code offenses to file a motion asking the sentencing judge for compassionate release. Compassionate release allows the judge to reduce a sentence to time served if the judge decides the individual meets the requirements of the law. The DC law is similar to but not the same as the law that Congress passed in the First Step Act. In order to ask for compassionate release, you must file a motion asking your sentencing judge to reduce your sentence. There is no requirement that you first ask the BOP for compassionate release before filing a motion for compassionate release with the court. (This is different from the federal law.) 

The Washington Lawyers Committee (WLC), Public Defender Service (PDS), and The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) have put together a "Compassionate Release Clearing House," which will find, train, and assign free lawyers for people who may be eligible for compassionate release. The CIC sent the details of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-286) as well as the compassionate release criteria to all DC code offenders within the BOP. For more information on the "Compassionate Clearing House" email [email protected]