In a memo sent to the Bureau of Prisons on Friday night, Attorney General William Barr announced his intentions to systematically move prisoners out of three federal prisons that are at risk of being hit by the coronavirus, as reported by USA Today.
Barr specifically pointed to three federal prison facilities: The Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution in Louisiana, the Federal Correctional Institution Danbury in Connecticut, and the Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Ohio. Barr urged the BOP to “move with dispatch in using home confinement when appropriate to move more vulnerable inmates out of these institutions.”
Barr’s decision was motivated by language in the recently-passed $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, which gave him more leeway to relocate older and ill prisoners who are more vulnerable to the virus than the average inmate.
“For all inmates whom you deem suitable for home confinement,” Barr’s memo continued, “you are directed to immediately process them for transfer and then immediately transfer them following a 14-day quarantine at an appropriate BOP facility.”
Barr’s move to transfer prisoners to home confinement and other less vulnerable facilities is a drastically different approach from several Democratic governors in the country who are outright releasing prisoners back onto the streets, including Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.).