Published on: Friday, August 7, 2020

A group of U.S. Senators led by Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker introduced legislation that is meant to provide more transparency about the handling of COVID-19 in prisons. This comes as the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) released its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 9 Action Plan ... which looks a lot like Phase Eight ... which looked a lot like Phase Seven, article available here. It begs the question as to whether there is a cohesive plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over 10,000 federal inmates and over 1,000 correctional staff ... killed 110 inmates and one staff member.

In January 2020, the BOP stated that it had implemented Phase 1 of its action plan, which established a task force to begin strategic planning for COVID-19. The plan does not state who is on the task force nor has the task force ever given a public press conference. After speaking to sources inside the BOP who are on the front line, not one of them recalled ever hearing of Phase 1 or the task force. According to Joe Rojas, the Council of Prisons Southeast Regional Vice President, "We were never included in any of the phases, which has caused hostility between labor and management. We should be included so we can help our staff disseminate information. This is one reason why this agency is in chaos. No leadership and no direction."