Kwame Kilpatrick denied early prison release: Here’s everything we know

Kilpatrick’s request for home confinement denied

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (Bill Pugliano, 2008 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Last week, family members and supporters of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were certain he would be released from federal prison next month. But that’s no longer the case. What happened? Here’s everything we know.

Bureau rules against early release

Kilpatrick will not be released from prison early because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced.

The bureau reviewed Kilpatrick’s request for home confinement on Tuesday, and it was denied, officials said.

Kilpatrick will remain incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution-I in Oakdale, Louisiana, according to authorities. His sentence is scheduled to end Jan. 18, 2037.

Local 4 reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, which said Kilpatrick’s family was told he would get out on home confinement, but that’s not going to happen.

Here is the full statement from the Department of Justice:

On Tuesday, May 26, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reviewed and denied inmate Kwame Kilpatrick for home confinement. Mr. Kilpatrick remains incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution-I in Oakdale, Louisiana.”

Family was confident he would be released

Last week, family members said Kilpatrick had been put in a 21-day quarantine at the Oakdale Federal Detention Center. Sources close to the situation believed he would be released June 10.

Multiple sources close to the Kilpatrick family said the Department of Justice was on board with considering a compassionate release.

Those in Kilpatrick’s inner circle believed he would get out to begin home confinement, likely at his sister’s home in Atlanta.

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The Kilpatrick family asked for his release because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Federal prisoners, including Paul Manafort, have been getting out on home confinement.

In emails exchanged since the beginning of April, Kilpatrick’s inner circle has been lobbying the Department of Justice to release him, citing his asthma and pre-diabetes as increased risk factors during the pandemic.

In addition, his family claimed he’d been exposed to an inmate who died of COVID-19.

What family is saying now

Kilpatrick’s supporters are flabbergasted by Tuesday’s news. Last week, the family told its closest supporters that it had been given approval that Kilpatrick was going to be out on home confinement.

Sen. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo was among those told Kilpatrick’s release was imminent.

Kilpatrick’s son posted Friday on Instagram that he couldn’t wait to hug his father outside prison walls.

Local 4′s Mara MacDonald said the people who believed Kilpatrick was going to be released were sincere, and that Tuesday’s ruling has “given them whiplash.”

Mara said the members of Kilpatrick’s inner circle who were talking about his release Friday wouldn’t have done so unless they had been given the green light from his family.

Murmurs about Kilpatrick’s release began earlier last week.

Ebony Foundation sent congratulatory email

On Friday morning, an email was sent from the Ebony Foundation congratulating Kilpatrick on his early release.

When this email circulated around the internet, murmurs of Kilpatrick’s release intensified.

The email was problematic from the start because it didn’t cite a source or provide any information about why they believed reports of his release were true.

Department of Justice didn’t confirm reports

Despite what the family and members of Kilpatrick’s inner circle said late last week, the official word from the Department of Justice remained that Kilpatrick was still incarcerated.

Kilpatrick’s appellate lawyer said Friday that he had heard nothing about an early release, but that it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary, given the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

Group asked Trump for commutation of sentence

In February, Kilpatrick’s family and a consortium of politicians, religious leaders and business leaders lobbied President Donald Trump for a commutation of his sentence.

The White House was considering the request, but there still hasn’t been any official response.

Read more: 7 years ago: Kwame Kilpatrick is convicted on 24 federal felony counts

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.