Apr 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barr orders broadened use of home confinement as coronavirus hits prisons

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr instructed the Bureau of Prisons on Friday to expand the use of home confinement and accelerate the release of eligible, high-risk inmates at three federal correctional facilities struck by the coronavirus, AP reports.

The state of play: As of Friday evening, 91 inmates and 50 staff had tested positive for COVID-19 at federal prisons across the U.S., per the agency.

Barr's directive focuses on three federal prisons: FCC Oakdale in Louisiana; FCI Elkton in Ohio; FCI Danbury in Connecticut, according to a memo obtained by Politico. He ordered the agency to conduct a review and identify inmates who may have risk factors associated with COVID-19.

Earlier this week, the bureau implemented a national lockdown to keep all federal inmates in their cells for 14 days.

  • Five inmates died at FCC Oakdale, and over a dozen more remain hospitalized, according to AP.
  • Three inmates died in FCI Elkton, AP notes.
  • FCI Danbury reported that 20 tested positive for coronavirus.

Worth noting: The public health guidance to remain 6 feet apart from others is essentially impossible in prison, per AP.

  • Meanwhile, some employees have been “forced to come to work against doctors’ orders to self-quarantine because the agency refuses to give them emergency leave,” Ohio union president Joseph Mayle told AP.

Go deeper: Coronavirus behind bars

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Stories about President Trump's photo op at St. John's church after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared from the area averaged the most online attention of any issue about the president this week.

Why it matters: Trump's force-over-compassion approach to the demonstrators protesting the murder of George Floyd had Republican allies backpedaling to keep a distance — and led to a wave of condemnations that got plenty of online traction on their own.

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Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

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Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.