What qualifies as “extraordinary and compelling circumstances” in the time of COVID-19

covid-19, cdc, bop, federal inmates, compassionate releaseThe Coronavirus pandemic has shined a new light on who may qualify for a compassionate release. To qualify for a compassionate release, one must demonstrate extraordinary and compelling circumstances, such as chronic health conditions or inability to care for oneself. The following comes directly from the Center for Disease Control and outlines what health conditions may put someone at risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

The CDC has deemed that certain medical conditions can increase the risk of serious complications from COVID-19. These medical conditions include:

  • cancer,
  • chronic kidney disease,
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),
  • immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from a solid organ transplant,
  • obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher),
  • serious heart conditions,
  • such as heart failure,
  • coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • sickle cell disease
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The CDC has also stated that some medical conditions MAY increase the severity of a COVID-19 illness. These conditions include:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain),
  • cystic fibrosis,
  • hypertension or high blood pressure,
  • immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant,
  • immune deficiencies,
  • HIV,
  • use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines,
  • neurologic conditions, such as dementia,
  • liver disease,
  • pregnancy,
  • pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues),
  • smoking,
  • thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

If you or a loved one are considering applying for compassionate release, it is highly recommended that you retain competent counsel who can ensure that you qualify and help put your best foot forward. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Brandon Sample understand the ins and outs of compassionate release, and stand ready to provide professional assistance with the process. Contact us to learn how we can help give you the best chance at an early release from Bureau of Prisons custody.

About Brandon Sample

Brandon Sample is an attorney, author, and criminal justice reform activist. Brandon’s law practice is focused on federal criminal defense, federal appeals, federal post-conviction relief, federal civil rights litigation, federal administrative law, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


  1. Cynthia Williams on September 20, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Will my brother Curtis Evans be eligible for compassionate release if he has sickle cell

  2. Cynthia Williams on September 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Curtis Evans is in FBOP in Indiana and has had several sickle cell crisis while incarcerated and I’m afraid of him catching Covid 19

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