SLOW MOVING WARDEN JETTISONED

Federal officials have reassigned the warden of a Louisiana prison where the coronavirus has ravaged the compound, leaving eight inmates dead and infecting dozens of other prisoners and staffers.

The Bureau of Prisons said Friday that Oakdale, Louisiana, warden Rodney Myers had been assigned to “temporary duty” at the bureau’s South Central Regional Office in Texas.

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70% AND GROWING

New figures provided by the Bureau of Prisons show that out of 2,700 tests systemwide, nearly 2,000 have come back positive, strongly suggesting there are far more COVID-19 cases left uncovered.

At the same time, the Bureau of Prisons communication policies are leaving families in the dark.

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COVID-19 FOOL’S GOLD: HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE

A debate may be raging inside the White House about the efficacy of an anti-malaria drug to treat the novel coronavirus, but the Trump administration isn’t waiting for a resolution. Two federal agencies have already placed purchase orders for the drug.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons have both reported purchases of hydroxychloroquine since March 26, according to federal procurement records.

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MANAFORT PRECEDENT: Home Confinement Validated

The bureau has given contradictory and confusing guidance how it is deciding who is released to home confinement in an effort to combat the virus.

Other high-profile inmates such as Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and lawyer Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, have been told they are getting out.

That we are only identifying high profile white collar inmates for home confinement is absurd.

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CALIFORNIA DREAMING? MORE LIKE CALIFORNIA NIGHTMARE!

There are almost 800 positive cases of coronavirus at the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc in California as of this week, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The news marks an increase of over 300 cases in recent days. The increase also means that 70 percent of the prison’s population has been infected, according to the news outlet.

The California prison now accounts for 47 percent of confirmed coronavirus cases in the federal prison system, according to information from the Bureau of Prisons obtained by the Times.

Eleven of the cases are among staff at the prison, which houses 1,162 low-security inmates.

A make-shift military hospital has reportedly been set up to treat the prisoners. Henning Ansorg, the Santa Barbara County public health officer, told the Times most cases in the prison are asymptomatic.

At a neighboring prison for medium-security inmates on the same grounds, 31 inmates and 14 staff have become infected. Combined, the two federal prisons have had 823 infected inmates.

Two  inmates have died from the virus.

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A NAME WITH ZERO IRONY: Terminal Island

Nearly half of the inmates at the federal prison at Terminal Island in San Pedro have tested positive for the coronavirus in what has become the nation’s worst outbreak in a federal penitentiary.

As of Tuesday, 443 of the prison’s 1,055 inmates have the virus, along with 10 staff members. Two inmates have already died of complications related to COVID-19, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

In a week, the outbreak at FCI Terminal Island has quickly escalated as prison officials ramped up testing. Dozens of inmates have been moved into tents in an effort to create social distancing, according to sources.

Family members of inmates say the facility has locked down inmates in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in the low-security prison in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles.

Inmates told their families that a military-style medical facility was being erected in the prison yards to cope with the burgeoning number of sick.

One inmate serving time for a white-collar offense told a family member in a letter that he contracted the coronavirus. “If I don’t make it I’ll see you upstairs, take care of mom, my girl and the kids.”

Inmate Michael Fleming, 59, died of COVID-19 symptoms at a nearby hospital Sunday, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Fleming was serving a 20-year sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He tested positive for the coronavirus April 8.

His death follows that of 73-year-old Bradley James Ghilarducci, who died last week.

Both had pre-existing medical conditions, officials said. Ghilarducci was serving an eight-year sentence for receiving and distributing child sexual abuse imagery.

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COVID-19 EMERGENCY POLICIES IGNORED

After the coronavirus erupted behind bars in late March, U.S. Attorney General William Barr ordered officials running federal prisons to “immediately maximize” the release of prisoners to home confinement to prevent the spread of the virus.

In a much-publicized letter, Barr urged them to focus on the most medically vulnerable in facilities with COVID-19 deaths.

But in the three weeks after Barr’s urgent April 3 memo, the Federal Bureau of Prison’s results are modest: the number of people allowed to serve the rest of their sentence in home confinement went up by only 1,027 under the new guidance set out by the attorney general—about half of 1 percent of the more than 174,000 people in the bureau’s custody at the start of the month, according to data obtained from the agency and Congress.

The data did not itemize how many people who had been in home confinement finished their sentences and are no longer included in the count. It also did not specify how many prison-to-home transfers were approved by the Bureau of Prisons and how many were ordered by judges—over objections from federal prosecutors.

In one recent court filing, prosecutors unsuccessfully opposed the release of a man from Oakdale prison, in Louisiana, arguing in part that the bureau was taking sufficient care of prisoners there—even after the virus had killed five men. In a separate case, a judge labeled the Bureau of Prisons’ process “Kafkaesque,” and said it prevented many releases.

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