A video taken by an inmate at a federal prison in New Jersey this week shows how close inmates and their beds are from each other, even as health experts warn that social distancing is paramount in mitigating the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are scared,” an inmate, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, said Friday in a phone interview about the virus and the confined space where they are locked down in.
The video shows how inmates are living at the Fort Dix Correctional Institution’s satellite prison camp, which is where inmates who are nearing the end of their sentence or are a low security risk are often held. The video is taken in the “A Unit” of the prison camp, according to a current and former inmate, and shows some inmates sleeping on bunk beds that line the building and are just a few feet apart.
The current inmate estimates there are about 100 in that unit.
A former inmate, who was released from the Fort Dix satellite prison camp in November, said the living quarters are so close that you can touch an inmate’s bed as you sit on the edge of yours. He said people constantly complained of how close the beds were, even before there was an ongoing health crisis.
He said it did not appear from the video that the prison changed anything in its living conditions during the coronavirus outbreak.