Report Calls for 'Compassionate Release' of More Federal Prisoners

Federal prisons don't offer parole, but sentences can be reduced in certain circumstances


WASHINGTON — The federal Bureau of Prisons could save taxpayer money and reduce overcrowding if it better manages a program for the "compassionate release" of inmates who are dying or facing other extraordinary circumstances, according to a new report by the Justice Department's independent inspector general.

The federal prison system does not allow the parole of inmates before their sentences are completed, but in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, Congress authorized the bureau to request that a judge reduce an inmate's sentence for "extraordinary and compelling" circumstances. Such compassionate release does not have to be for reasons of terminal illness, but it generally is.