Compassionate release

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Compassionate release is a rarely allowed procedure by which a federal judge can order the release of a federal prisoner prior to his completion of his sentence.

18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(1)(A) provides that:

the court, upon motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, or upon motion of the defendant after the defendant has fully exhausted all administrative rights to appeal a failure of the Bureau of Prisons to bring a motion on the defendant's behalf or the lapse of 30 days from the receipt of such a request by the warden of the defendant's facility, whichever is earlier may reduce the term of imprisonment . . . after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if it finds that—
(i) extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such a reduction; [...]
and that such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.

18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A).

The general rule is that a federal court "may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed." 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c). See Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 824-25 (2010). But compassionate release does provide an exception to the general rule in rare cases. See United States v. Holden, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60123 (D. Or. Apr. 6, 2020).