Durbin, Duckworth, Bustos Statement On BOP Transfer Of Inmates To Thomson Prison

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) today released the following statement after learning that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is transferring at least 20 inmates from Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) Chicago, where there is a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, to the United States Penitentiary (USP) Thomson, in Thomson, Illinois:

“BOP’s response to the threat of COVID-19 in federal prisons has been inadequate and troubling. The transfer of inmates from MCC Chicago, where there is a confirmed outbreak of the virus, to USP Thomson, where there has not yet been a confirmed case, is being done without proper screening and prevention procedures in place for staff and inmates. It is completely unacceptable that BOP did not give us advance notice of these transfers.  While we are encouraged that BOP says it will soon expand testing at its facilities, it is irresponsible to put staff, inmates, and local communities at risk by transferring inmates without first putting in place adequate testing procedures.  We urge BOP to halt these and any future inmate transfers from facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks until they test inmates prior to transfer.

“Our concerns about these transfers are further exacerbated by the ongoing understaffing of USP Thomson. We remain committed to working with BOP to address the staffing shortages at the facility and again call on BOP to expeditiously hire additional staff to meet the needs of this growing and potentially vulnerable inmate population.”