COVID-19: Cruel & Very Usual American Punishment

Throughout April and early May, inmates began to receive word that they may not be going home after all, even after some families had received a date to come to the prison to pick up their loved one up.

Then the BOP changed its mind again and kept many inmates in those higher security prisons for over 40 days, waiting to complete the paperwork that would release them.

Finally, after restricting these men and women in high security cells for over a month, some went home but many were returned to the prison camp.

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DOJ PRISON INSPECTIONS

The Justice Department’s inspector general will conduct remote inspections of Bureau of Prisons facilities to ensure they are following best practices to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus after hundreds of federal inmates tested positive for the virus.

The review, announced Wednesday, comes as the federal prison system struggles with a growing number of coronavirus cases and complaints from inmates, advocacy groups and correction officers about how officials are handling the pandemic among their 122 facilities.

Attorney General William Barr recently sent some of his closest advisers to federal prisons identified as coronavirus hot spots, including FCC Oakdale in Louisiana, where six inmates have died, a Justice Department official said.

The attorney general’s counselors were sent to observe the conditions on the ground firsthand and report back to Barr. They also visited FCI Elkton in Ohio, where five inmates have died, and FCC Butner, a prison complex in North Carolina that has seen four inmate deaths, and are expected to visit other hot spot prisons in the near future, the official said. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Health officials have been warning for more than a decade about the dangers of epidemics in jails and prisons, which are ideal environments for virus outbreaks.

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