George Daniel, 75, a non-violent drug offender serving an unjust life without parole sentence, died Sunday at the federal prison in Butner, N.C. He had been waiting to hear on his compassionate release request so, after 24 years in prison, he could spend his final days with his family.
"He was a good person. He was a good Dad," said his son, Robbie Daniel of Dawsonville, Georgia.
The Clemency Report wrote George Daniel three weeks ago to ask about his extreme methamphetamine sentence. He was an excellent candidate for the Justice Department's new clemency program.
On July 3, another person helped George dictate a response. George (pictured at age 65 and healthy) said he could not read or write because of a series of strokes over three years. He dictated a response in a slurred, stutter. On Monday, July 7, we called his family to talk about his father's compassionate release request. "My father passed at 12:30 (p.m.) yesterday," his son told us emotionally.
The federal Bureau of Prisons announced new procedures last August to speed the processing of compassionate release requests and increase their number. The change followed a critical report from the Justice Department's Inspector General.
In addition to being unable to read or write, George was paralyzed on his right side and used a walker to get around.
He was a good candidate compassionate release or the new clemency program (aimed at those who would get shorter sentences based on today's sentencing rules) but time ran out. In his e-mail, George said he believed he would have been sentenced to five years in prison based on today's sentencing guidelines.
George said he had no write-ups during his 24 years in prison and no history of violence, in or out of prison. He attended church every Sunday in prison and prayer call every night.
"He would like to spend the rest of his days with the love of his family and loved ones," the elderly inmate's Boswell wrote.
The Daniels family cannot afford to have his body shipped home. "He had no life insurance, and we're a week-to-week family," Robbie said.
The Bureau of Prisons will cremate George Daniel and send his ashes home.
(Note: Earlier versions of this story spelled George's last name as Daniels. His family indicates this was a BoP spelling error that persisted for George's entire 24 years in prison. The family name is Daniel, without an s.)