Warner, Colleagues Question Bureau of Prisons and Private Prison Contractors on Plans to Mitigate Coronavirus at Federal Prisons
Mar 10 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined his Senate colleagues in a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the three largest private prison operators – GEO Group (GEO), CoreCivic, and Management and Training Corporation (MTC) – asking about the policies and procedures in place at federal prisons to manage a potential spread of the novel coronavirus.
In Virginia, there are three federal correctional facilities in operation, which includes the U.S. Penitentiary in Lee County and the low- and medium-security institutions located at the Petersburg Federal Correctional Complex. Correctional officers at these three Virginia facilities are responsible for approximately 4,144 inmates.
In their letter, the Senators underscore that correctional staff and the prison population are particularly vulnerable amid the coronavirus threat.
“Given the spread of the virus in the U.S.—and the particular vulnerability of the prison population and correctional staff—it is critical that [you] have a plan to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus to incarcerated individuals and correctional staff, along with their families and loved ones, and provide treatment to incarcerated individuals and staff who become infected,” the Senators wrote.
Over 175,000 individuals are incarcerated in federal prisons and jails, and thousands of incarcerated people, their family and friends, and correctional staff move in and out of federal prisons every day. As a result, the potential uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus endangers federal correctional staff, their families, inmates, and the general public.
In order to get more information on the policies and procedures in place to prepare for and mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus, the Senators requested responses to their letters no later than March 16, 2020.
In addition to Sen. Warner, the letter was led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Tina Smith (D-MN).