Protests have erupted across the globe after the arrest of George Floyd led to his death at the knee of a Minneapolis Police Department officer. However, many peaceful protests have been known to be hijacked by violent looters, leading the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to take drastic measures.
Last week, the BOP put all 122 of its facilities across the country into complete lockdown as part of additional security measures imposed amid the protests and riots.according to hillthe toughest measure imposed by the BOP in 25 years.
The last BOP lockout occurred in 1995 in response to mass unrest that began at numerous facilities in Talladega, Alabama, and then spread across the country. The BOP has made it clear that the current lockdown is a precautionary measure and not a reaction to what is happening inside the prison.
Official Balance of Payments Statement
“In light of widespread protests across the country, the BOP has implemented an additional temporary security measure out of an abundance of caution to ensure the good order and safety of our facility and to ensure the safety of staff and inmates,” the agency said in a statement said in. “In ensuring the security of our facility, we hope that this security measure will be short-lived and that prisoners will resume limited movement in the near future.”
The BOP added that they will carefully monitor the incident “as the situation continues to evolve” and adjust operations accordingly. The move follows weeks of strict detention measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the facility was partially locked down.
Novel coronavirus makes it worse
As of Monday, June 1, the bureau reported that a total of 1,650 inmates and 171 staff members at federal facilities had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The pandemic has also killed 68 federal prisoners.
At least 34,000 inmates (BOP, state prisons, prisons) in the US have tested positive for coronavirus and 455 inmates have died.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued release orders, but only about 3,000 federal prisoners were released and placed on home confinement. It’s been a very difficult few months for prison inmates, and being in prison is tough enough without the extra safety precautions that have been taken due to the coronavirus and the protests.
Total lockdown started on Sunday 31 May with no end in sight
The BOP houses about 13 percent of the nation’s inmates, with 165,575 inmates and nearly 37,000 employees. The BOP issued an announcement on Sunday 31 May to all staff advising them of the lockdown.
“Due to the ongoing unrest and unrest across the country, the BOP is imposing a nationwide lockdown from 4 p.m.,” it continued, “for everyone’s safety, we will be adopting lockdown protocols until the country is at peace.”
What will happen during a full lockdown?
Due to the mistreatment of many inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for inmate riots is high. Coupled with the current protests on the streets of American cities, the BOP believes that a total lockdown is the right choice.
However, this means that federal prisoners do not have access to phones, television or mail, and they are even more cut off from the outside world than usual. When I was in prison, we never experienced a complete lockdown that lasted more than a few hours, but even that was scary. Being able to talk to my family on the phone and get letters is vital to my mental health and it would be very difficult without that.
It is also possible that inmates may not know what is going on at the protest if they are not provided TV time.
They have also shut down mental health services and recreational activities, meaning prisoners are locked in cells for up to 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many inmates have already been placed in solitary confinement due to exposure to the coronavirus, and each prisoner is now forced to stay in his own cell.
My friend is in the Missouri State Prison and hasn’t heard from me in over a week, which doesn’t usually happen. I’m waiting to hear from her so I can get the inside scoop on what’s going on.
Did you hear from your imprisoned loved one during the Black Lives Matter protests? Let us know in the comments below.