- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 2, 2013

The federal government has come up with a solution for overcrowded and cramped prison populations: release more inmates. The U.S Bureau of Prisons plans to change its “compassionate release” rules so more sick and aging inmates are able once again to experience life on the right side of the prison bars.

A new report by the Justice Department’s inspector general anticipates savings of up to $3.2 million by relaxing “compassionate release rules.”

CNSNews.com reports that Congress authorized the the federal Bureau of Prisons in 1984 to reduce an inmate’s sentence for “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances. Those requests can be medical or nonmedical in nature. The key is that the condition could not have been foreseen by the judge at the time of sentencing, according to CNS.

The Justice Department report also goes on to recognize “that releasing inmates … could result in some increase in the number of inmates who are rearrested after release, particularly if the numbers and types of inmates released under compassionate release authority are expanded.”

Using FBI for arrest data on the 142 inmates who were released from 2006 through 2011, CNSNews.com reports that five of them, or 3.5 percent, were re-arrested within a three-year period.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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