February 9, 2015 By Paul Wallin

What is Compassionate Release?

California Government Code 26605 provides for compassionate release or medical probation of prisoners who are in county jail and state prison. Eligible prisoners are suffering from medical conditions so severe that they cannot pose a danger to the public. 1

Prisoners who are eligible for compassionate release include:

  • Prisoners who, upon examination by a physician, are determined to be so medically incapacitated that they pose no threat to others.
  • Prisoners whose treatment needs can be better served in a medical facility or residence than in a state or county correctional facility.
  • Prisoners who have a medical incapacity requiring 24 hour medical care.
  • Prisoners who have a life expectancy of six months or less.

We will look at how these different medical releases work:

Prisoners Who Should Be Treated at Home or in the Hospital (Government Code Section 26605.5)

To qualify for medical release under this law, the following steps must be taken:

  • The sheriff confers with a doctor, and the doctor states that the patient is

    Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for compassionate release.
    Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for compassionate release.
  1. So physically ill that he or she cannot pose a threat to others
  2. There is no reasonable expectation the prisoner will recover the ability to pose a threat, and
  3. The prisoner’s medical needs would be better served in a hospital or residence
  • After the physician has notified the sheriff, the sheriff must notify a Superior Court judge of his or her intent to transfer the prisoner to a medical facility or residence. The notification must include:
    • The prisoner’s name
    • The reason the prisoner is in jail or any charges pending, if applicable
    • The date of the sentence, if applicable
    • The physician’s diagnosis of the prisoner’s medical condition, and
    • The physician’s prognosis for the prisoner’s medical condition

Prisoners Who Have a Life Expectancy of Six Months or Less (Government Code Section 26605.6)

Inmates who are only expected to live six months or less due to illness could be eligible for compassionate release. This can be complicated, and it would be a very good idea to have an attorney to expedite things. Briefly, here are the steps:

  • The sheriff confers with a physician and the doctor tells him the prisoner is dying
  • The sheriff determines the prisoner does not pose a threat to public safety
  • The sheriff notifies a Superior Court judge of his or her intention to release the prisoner. The notification must include the same information as listed above in section 26605.5, and also must include the prisoner’s address upon release, and
  • The county jail or prison must send a letter to the State Department of Health Care Services to arrange coverage for appropriate medical care.

Inmates have been known to die while waiting for this complicated process to be completed. The law provides that a prisoner may be exempted from the process of obtaining health care coverage where appropriate, or the process could be expedited.

Medical Probation (Government Code Section 26605.7)

The sheriff, after talking with a physician to ascertain the grave medical condition, may request the court to re-sentence the prisoner to medical probation. Eligible prisoners are those who either:

  • Physically incapacitated and need 24 hour a day care, or
  • Require acute long term in-patient rehabilitation.

Before a prisoner can be released to receive proper medical attention, there is a lengthy process, which includes:

  • Securing housing in the community,
  • Working out insurance coverage with various government agencies, and
  • Writing a letter to the State Department of Health Care Services agreeing to notify them if the condition of the prisoner improves.

The law provides that in some circumstances the prisoner may be exempted from the process or the process can be expedited.

Compassionate Release Process

If a prisoner is eligible for compassionate release, the process can be slow and inconsistent. Substantial paperwork is involved in this complicated process, with multiple Compassionate release from jail or prison.steps, and you want to be sure your application isn’t slowed down or lost in the shuffle of government bureaucracy. 2

If somebody you care about has a serious, incapacitating medical condition or is terminally ill, you want that person to receive the best care possible as soon as possible. In order to increase the chances of securing your release from jail or prison, you should have a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney fighting on your behalf. If your loved one needs outside care that is better than the medical care provided in jail or prison, having a skilled criminal defense lawyer holding state officials accountable could make the difference between success and failure.

When your loved one who is in prison has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you need a team of skilled lawyers to fight for a timely release. With only a few months to live, every day counts. You want your loved one to die at home among family and friends or in a care facility outside of prison walls where the family can be present at all times.

Wallin & Klarich Will Fight for Your Compassionate Release

The criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending the rights of our clients. We will fight for you and your loved ones to receive the care and compassion he or she is entitled to under the law, and we will expedite the process so that your loved one will have the best care in the most comfortable surroundings as soon as possible.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5425 for a free phone consultation. We get through this together.

1. [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayexpandedbranch.xhtml]
2. [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayexpandedbranch.xhtml]

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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