Durbin Discusses Coronavirus Threat at Federal Prisons with Council of Prison Locals

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke with Council of Prison Locals (CPL) President Shane Fausey to receive an update on the situation that Bureau of Prisons (BOP) staff and inmates are facing at facilities across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to reach federal prisons. Despite this threat, the Trump Administration has not yet requested any additional funding for BOP to prepare for and combat the pandemic.

“Federal prisons will inevitably be a hotspot for the spread of coronavirus, especially among vulnerable staff and inmates.  It is imperative for BOP to take immediate action to protect staff and inmates at federal prisons throughout the country and ensure that facilities are prepared to address this threat,” said Durbin.

As of Monday, three BOP inmates have tested positive for COVID-19—one inmate at MDC Brooklyn in New York and two inmates at FCC Oakdale in Louisiana. Additionally, three BOP staff have tested positive for COVID-19, located in Grand Prairie, Texas; Yazoo, Missouri; and Leavenworth, Kansas.

Today, Durbin sent a bipartisan letter to the Department of Justice and BOP urging the agencies to use First Step Act authority to release or transfer to home confinement nonviolent inmates who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and least likely to reoffend.