Some were overwhelmed, even as we approach the second wave.

On June 2, 2020, BOP Director Michael D. Carvajal, and BOP Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Allen testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They issued a written statement to the Committee addressing actions the BOP was taking to protect inmates and staff. While it may be true that BOP institutions have such supplies, prisoners dispute they receive them in sufficient quantities. “We were issued three of those motel-sized bars of soap each week,” said Lily. “While we could purchase limited commissary items while under virtually 24-hour a day lockdown, they were often out of products such as soaps. Naturally, exchanges were not permitted. So, if you ordered enough soap for yourself and commissary was out, you’d have to wait for the next three mini bars of soap.”[1]

“Within 24 hours of [the CDC’s change in the recommendation to wear masks], we had provided face coverings to most of our staff and inmates,” explained the directors. “Within 72 hours, all of our inmates and staff were provided face coverings.” “While the staff was provided with KN95 masks, we were initially issued two paper masks with elastic ear straps…[2]

“In prison, we are cut off from the outside world,” Lily said. “We are separated from our families and the social anchor points people rely on. And when the BOP stopped telling us anything about the risk or danger we were in, it resulted in a general sense of helplessness, agitation, and fear. Prison officials created an environment where safety was reduced, and mental health issues were exasperated.”[3]

FMC (FCC) Butner

8/2020, The Queen City Nerve reported that the Federal Medical Center-Butner in North Carolina is the deadliest site of coronavirus in the[4] country. What’s worst is that ‘Now incarcerated people are being thrown into solitary for speaking out’[5]

FMC Butner

Andre Williams was 78-years old and had undergone a quadruple-coronary bypass[6] while incarcerated at FCI Butner, NC. For months before COVID-19 hit the prisons, he sought compassionate release. Finally, on April 1, a court granted his petition. Relief came too late. Four days after the grant, he tested positive for COVID-19. On April 13, he died.

While these two men were granted compassionate release,[7] they did not escape the virus. Before being released the prison did not test either man (Later 79-year-old Alan Hurwitz and Juan Ramon 60) for COVID-19. Rather they have transported them to the airport, escorting them onto the planes, ‘without notifying the aircraft carriers’. Later within days, one was dead, but not counted as part of the total number at Butner, as they died at home.

Between March and April there were 8 deaths.[8]

4/7/2020, Butner prison in Butner, North Carolina, has 39 inmates who had tested positive. That is more than any other federal prison. No staff member there had tested positive.

 FMC Carswell (for women) in Fort Worth, Texas

8/5/2020; According to the Bureau of Prisons website, four inmates have died[i] from COVID-19 and 150 are currently positive. To date, 392 inmates have recovered[9]

7/21/20, 500 women tested positive for coronavirus[ii]

7/ 2020 Confirmed cases –confirmed cases in 1 week[10]:

  • 6/29/2020 according to the BOP, there were zero confirmed cases among prisoners.
  • 7/9/2020 there were 68 confirmed cases
  • 7/10/2020 there were 77 confirmed cases
  • 7/11/2020 The BOP reported 113 cases
  • 7/12/2020 The BOP reported 127 cases
  • If a prisoner tests positive at Carswell, they are put in solitary confinement (leading to psychiatric issues later on).
  • The use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has grown by 500 percent[11] during the pandemic.

FMC Devens, Mass

June 17, 2020; Massachusetts Lawmakers sent a Letter to Urge Federal BOP to Implement Widespread COVID-19 Testing: US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA),

FMC Ft Worth, TX

6/12/2020, 11th FMC Fort Worth Inmate Dies[16] After Contracting COVID-19 in Outbreak

FMC Lexington, Ky

July 2, 2020; It was the seventh coronavirus-related death[18] at the prison.

6/5/2020, 35 new COVID-19 cases and a 48-year-old inmate at Federal Medical Center dies[19]

  • There have been five total deaths at the Federal Medical Center, which currently houses 1,354 offenders.

5/18/2020, Stephen Cook sent a letter to the court in Tennessee, asking for compassionate release or to be sent to home confinement from the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. He suffered from sickle-cell and required monthly off-site treatment. The government opposed his release. Mr. Cook died on June 3, 2020.

FMC Rochester, Minn.

May 5, 2020; One staff member at the Federal Medical Center[20] has tested positive for the coronavirus.

MCFP/FMC Springfield, Missouri

Jun. 17, 2020; Federal Bureau of Prisons reports an active case of COVID-19 related to Springfield Fed Med[21] Center. Prison officials report 1,190 federal inmates and 170 staff have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 85 federal inmate deaths and 1 prison staff member death attributed to COVID-19 disease.

[1] https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2020/aug/1/coronavirus-prison-cruel-reality/

[2] https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2020/aug/1/coronavirus-prison-cruel-reality/

[3] https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2020/aug/1/coronavirus-prison-cruel-reality/

[4] https://solitarywatch.org/2020/08/12/seven-days-in-solitary-81020/

[5] https://qcnerve.com/fmc-butner-is-host-to-countrys-deadliest-covid-19-prison-outbreak/

[6] https://www.fd.org/sites/default/files/covid19/bop_jail_policies_and_information/2020_07_30_covid_19_in_federal_detention_src_fact_sheet_v2.pdf

[7] https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article244131227.html

[8] https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2020/04/08/coronavirus-missouri-cases-springfield-fedmed-prison-inmates-covid-19/2963161001/

[9] https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/inmate-at-fmc-carswell-in-fort-worth-dies-from-covid-19/2420454/

[10] https://shadowproof.com/2020/07/14/carswell-covid-19-infections-reality-winner-whistleblower-release/

[11] https://shadowproof.com/2020/07/14/carswell-covid-19-infections-reality-winner-whistleblower-release/

[12] https://medium.com/@SenWarren/congress-must-move-to-rapidly-increase-our-coronavirus-testing-capacity-8c5abd71b6f1

[13] https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/warren-markey-in-letter-to-president-trump-sound-alarm-over-lack-of-federal-support-for-massachusetts-amid-coronavirus-pandemic

[14] https://www.warren.senate.gov/oversight/letters/warren-demands-answers-from-fema-on-plans-to-ensure-massachusetts-receives-essential-medical-equipment

[15] https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/PRESSLEY%20WARREN_Letter%20to%20Trump_COVID%20Incarcerated%20Persons%20SIGNED.docx2.pdf

[16] https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/11th-fmc-fort-worth-inmate-dies-after-contracting-covid-19-in-outbreak/2387878/

[17] https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/more-than-600-inmates-test-positive-for-covid-19-at-federal-prison-in-fort-worth/2367644/

[18] https://www.wtvq.com/2020/07/02/federal-medical-has-first-coronavirus-death-in-weeks/

[19] https://www.lex18.com/news/coronavirus/48-year-old-inmate-at-federal-medical-center-in-lexington-dies-from-covid-19

[20] https://www.kimt.com/content/news/Positive-test-for-coronavirus-at-Federal-Medical-Center-in-Rochester-570211051.html

[21] https://www.ky3.com/content/news/Federal-Bureau-of-Prisons-reports-a-case-of-COVID-19-related-to-Springfield-Fed-Med-571329251.html

[i] https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/inmate-at-fmc-carswell-in-fort-worth-dies-from-covid-19/2420454/

[ii] https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/2020/07/21/500-women-fort-worth-federal-prison-test-positive-coronavirus/

Dr. M Blatstein

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