Congressman Chairman Jerrold Nadler Issues Letter To AG Barr On COVID-19 In Prisons

Chairman Nadler issued a letter to Attorney General William Barr on the death of an inmate at FCC Oakdale (Louisiana). This comes after The Washington Post reported that there are far more outbreaks of COVID-19 at the same prison. Post reported that there are 60 inmates in quarantine and 30 inmates/staff who have tested positive at FCI Oakdale … far more than are noted on the BOP’s site.

Nadler’s letter stated: “On March 27, 2020, the House passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” or the “CARES Act.”6 Among other things, the CARES Act broadens the authority of the Attorney General and the Director of the BOP, during the COVID-19 crisis, to release prisoners to home confinement.7 We ask that both you and the Director of the BOP interpret and exercise this new authority as broadly as possible, given that thousands of lives are at stake.”

Nadler was critical of the March 26 letter from AG Barr to the BOP Director. One concern of Nadler’s was that the Barr stated that some people were safer in prison than on home confinement. Nadler referenced a 2019 OIG Report regarding Challenges for the Bureau of Prisons: “we are not aware that BOP facilities, as a whole, have “ready access to doctors”; a 2019 report by DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General found that “staffing prisoners with qualified healthcare workers is a challenge for the BOP.

The letter also wanted more information on what Barr meant by “some people are safer in prison than in home confinement.” Nadler called into question the quality of the medical staff in prison. He also expressed concern over the expeditious release of inmates … something we at Prisonology are concerned about as well.

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