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Many states have laws permitting early release for medical or other reasons, but Fellner said these provisions were “greatly underutilized” in most states.

The report cites several examples of inmates who unsuccessfully sought to have early-release requests considered by the courts.

Among them is a 73-year-old inmate at the Butner medical center who has served half of a 20-year federal sentence for sexually touching a child, taking lewd pictures and possessing child pornography. Because of a spinal condition, the inmate is now permanently paralyzed below his upper chest and will require skilled nursing care until he dies, according to the report.

The report says Butner’s warden rejected his bid to be considered for early release, contending that he was still deemed a threat to society who deserved to stay imprisoned out of deference to his victim.

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Online:

Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org