The Federal Bureau of Prisons Response to COVID – 19
By Sean R. Francis, MS
President, Justice Solutions of America, Inc.
COVID-19 has quickly become a worldwide pandemic and has plunged the United States into a national emergency not seen in recent times. According to the CDC the virus is spread through person to person transmission. Generally, this is recognized as people who are “in close contact with each other.” The CDC considers the virus “highly contagious.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html
In light of this, it is obvious that our nation’s prisons are potential breeding grounds for this virus to spread like wildfire. Therefore, it is important to understand what measures are being taken to address this. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, with 175,406 inmates, is among the largest prison systems in the world and is a good place to start.
While the BOP has taken some steps to slow the spread of the virus, like halting visitation and inmate transfers, by all accounts they are woefully unprepared for COVID-19 and do not seem to be rising to the occasion.
On March 11th ABC News reported that, while state prison systems were preparing for the worst, the BOP “ doesn’t have the ability to order more cleaning supplies and doesn’t have enough wipes to sanitize the inmate transport buses. The source also said there aren’t enough N95 masks to cover half the staff, adding that most are of small size.” https://abcnews.go.com/US/state-prisons-prepare-coronavirus-federal-prisons-providing-significant/story?id=69433690
Additionally, BOP staff were quoted saying that “there are currently more questions than answers.” BOP refused to provide ABC news with guidance on what they were doing citing the fluid nature of the virus. https://abcnews.go.com/US/state-prisons-prepare-coronavirus-federal-prisons-providing-significant/story?id=69433690
One week later it appears that the COVID – 19 concerns among BOP staff are far from resolved. According to a CBS News story published on March 18th, several BOP staff members are quoted as saying that “their lives are in danger” and that “the agency is in chaos.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-prison-federal-employees-say-conflicting-orders-putting-lives-at-risk-2020-03-18/
Indeed, some BOP staff have started to test positive for COVID – 19. Therefore, it is simply a matter of time until the staff infects the inmates (if they haven’t done so already) and there is a real crisis in federal institutions across the nation.
Contact Federal Prison Consultants today to learn how we can help your family and your loved one incarcerated in the BOP navigate through this crisis safely.
Mar 22nd, 2020