What is compassionate release?

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Compassionate release policies allow for the release of prisoners for whom death is imminent. Family members may contact a state’s prison bureau to ask that a terminally ill prisoner be allowed to die surrounded by family and friends rather than in prison.

Example: California prison inmate Richard Mejico, the founder of Criminals and Gang Members Anonymous (CGA), was serving a life sentence for murder. When Mejico was terminally ill in 2010, his family successfully requested compassionate release. Mejico died at home about ten hours after he was released from prison.

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