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Judge blasts Bureau of Prisons over quarantine policy

Apr 21, 2020 5:30 am
Josh Gerstein is reporting for Politico New York a federal judge in New York has slammed the federal Bureau of Prisons for what she calls illogical and "Kafkaesque" quarantine policies that put the incarcerated and the community at greater risk of contracting coronavirus. U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan, in a decision dated April 19, condemned federal officials over the practice of placing those people considered or approved for early release into a pre-release quarantine before being sent home. The period typically lasts 14 days, but the judge noted that it can be extended, potentially repeatedly, if another person in the same group tests positive for the virus. “In these circumstances, [a] community spread through individuals not showing symptoms is inevitable, including in units of inmates who have been approved for home confinement,” Nathan wrote. “This is an illogical and self-defeating policy...” Last month, Attorney General William Barr ordered federal prisons to escalate releases to home confinement because of the danger that COVID-19 poses to incarcerated elders and others with serious health conditions. As of the weekend, 22 people locked up in federal facilities have died from COVID-19; 495 of those in custody and 309 staff have tested positive for the virus, according to statistics on the federal prisons’ website. A total of 1,300 people nationwide have been sent to home confinement since last month. Read the full story at Politico New York.