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March 23, 2020

Who in Trump Administration is involved in "actually looking at" using executive action to release "totally nonviolent prisoners"?

At last night's press briefing, I was thrilled to see a reporter ask about whether Prez Trump was considering executive action to release some "elderly nonviolent prisoners."  This press report notes the exchange and quotes Prez Trump's full comments on the issue:

President Donald Trump said his administration was considering an executive order to free elderly, nonviolent prisoners from federal prisons amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Trump was speaking during a Sunday evening press conference on the federal government's ongoing response to the pandemic, which has been identified as a particular threat to prison populations, where individuals are in close proximity to each other.

"We have been asked about that and we're going to take a look at it.  It's a bit of a problem," Trump said, when asked about the potential order.  "We're talking about totally nonviolent prisoners, we are actually looking at that, yes."

As readers of this blog know, I think it is more than just "a bit" of a problem to have lots of low-risk vulnerable prisoners locked up together during this pandemic. But, as the question in the title of this post highlights, I cannot help but wonder just who right now is "actually looking at" using executive action to release "totally nonviolent prisoners."

Given the significant role that Jared Kushner has played in criminal justice reform in the past (see, e.g., here and here), I would expect that he is likely to be playing some role in this discussion.  But how about high-profile folks who have had Prez Trump's ear when it comes to clemency grants like Kim Kardashian-West and Alice Marie Johnson?  Is Prez Trump and his inner circle hearing from and/or likely to listen to advice from folks at the Justice Department or the Bureau of Prisons?

Speaking of the BOP, this BOP COVID-19 webpage reports, as of early morning on March 23, that there are three inmates and three staffers who have already tested positive for the coronavirus.  It will be interested to keep an eye on those numbers as the Trump Administration continues "actually looking at" using executive action to release "totally nonviolent prisoners."

March 23, 2020 at 05:24 AM | Permalink


Thank you for your website I am watching closely as my wife is currently in Coleman camp she is non-violent she is elderly and she has many other medical complications last night word got out that Coleman rumors of course that they were going to release all non-violent that’s in a buzz through that place like you cannotI hope Trump gets it done and it isn’t just more bullshit from the pulpit

Posted by: Ed dougherty | Mar 23, 2020 5:46:11 AM

I am eagerly watching this post as well as the BOP website as I have a love one that is waiting on his out date to come back as well to come home. We all know how the BOP responds to anything including a crisis, so I am watching

Posted by: Jumeka | Mar 23, 2020 8:35:40 AM

Thank you for the website. I am also watching close everything that provide some light into this nightmare. My sister is an inmate at the mentioned Satellite Coleman Camp, she is also non-violent, low risk inmate. She is not considered elderly but she has chronic asthma, allergies and after being for a year at Coleman, she developed the legionnaire disease produced by the bacteria in the rotten pipes of the camp's showers. Mostly, 90% of the camp got sick due to this bacteria, even the Health Department at Sumter, FL came to investigate and interview these women. My sister, as well as us, her family, we are afraid for her health because according to CDC list of people more susceptible to acquire COVID-19, my sister's respiratory system is compromised due to her health's conditions. We hope she is also considered for home confinement. Not to mention that these women are so closed to each other that the required distance is not possible at all.

Posted by: Amarilys Tamayo | Apr 12, 2020 5:12:16 PM

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