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A Re-entry Lapse in The Case of Disabled Federal Prisoner

A disabled former federal prison inmate, Kevin Flythe, went missing on his post-release trip from West Virginia to his home of Washington, D.C., reports the Washington Post. A cousin waited for Flythe at Union Station, anticipating seeing him for the first time since a murder conviction 28 years ago, but he never arrived. Flythe, 52, suffered a serious stroke last year that left him partially paralyzed and impaired his speech. He was released in late January under a new early release provision that allows judges to reduce sentences for those who were under 25 when their crime was committed. In arguing for his release, his attorneys stated that he no longer posed a threat to society and that the Federal Bureau of Prisons had failed to provide sufficient health care both leading up to and following the stroke. They alleged that the agency failed to treat Flythe for hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, which can both contribute to the likelihood of strokes, and that Flythe had not been provided with proper rehabilitative care after the stroke.

Flythe was placed on a bus to D.C., but went missing along the way. He is still missing two weeks later. One of Flythe's attorneys, Claire Madill, has facilitated the release of other critically ill or disabled inmates. She says that the process is typically conducted by extensive communication between the bureau and the inmate's counsel to figure out itineraries. In most cases of disabled inmates, they are picked up at the prison upon release. In Flythe's case, Madill was unable to reach the prison bureau in advance of his release despite repeated attempts. Suddenly, Madill was informed that Flythe had been released. She had no idea what his itinerary was, and was only told that Flythe would be on a bus arriving in D.C. late January 27. She later learned that Flythe's itinerary included bus changes in Cleveland and Baltimore, where his attorneys are now looking for him. The bureau's policy recommends that prison employees consult with a social worker when releasing people with disabilities, but it is not clear whether that happened in Flythe's case.


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