April 4 (UPI) — Attorney General William Barr has expedited his directive to release inmates at high risk for severe illness from coronavirus to home confinement.
Barr urged officials in a late Friday memorandum to move inmates out of Oakdale, La.; Elkton, Ohio; and Danbury, Conn., facilities, which have been among the hardest hit with COVID-19.
“We are experiencing significant levels of infection at several of our facilities,” Barr said. “We have to move with dispatch in using home confinement when appropriate to move vulnerable inmates out these institutions.”
As of Friday night, the Bureau of Prisons reported 91 prisoners and 50 staff have been infected.
At least five inmates have died from the virus at the federal prison in Oakdale, alone, The New York Times reported. Two have died at federal prison near Elkton.
Danbury has reported nine infections, but no deaths.
Those moved to home confinement must first be placed under quarantine in prison for 14 days before home confinement to make sure they are not infectious, Barr’s memo said.
Barr issued the directive Thursday calling for vulnerable inmates to be sent home.
The directive states an inmate’s eligibility would be determined by their age and vulnerability to COVID-19, under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, their conduct in prison, danger to community, and whether they have a verifiable re-entry plan.
“Some offenses, such as sex offenses, will render an inmate ineligible for home detention,” the directive added. “Other serious offenses would weigh more heavily against consideration for home detention.”