Photo by Tyler Rutherford via Unsplash

There needs to be a mad push to get prisoners out of the federal prison system. 

From the last I read, over 19,000 people in the federal prison system had been tested for COVID-19 and over 6,000 came back positive. A June 16 ABC News report revealed that more than one in three federal inmates had COVID-19. There are many guys in the system with all the underlying risk factors that Attorney General Barr outlined in his March 26 and April 3 memos, which said inmates at high risk for COVID-19 may be eligible for transfer to out of prison and into home confinement. Certain offenses, including sex offenses, automatically render someone ineligible for home transfer. Other cases are reviewed on an individual basis. 

The Center for Disease Control put out guidelines saying that to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, a deadly virus with no vaccine, and avoid catching it yourself, you must sanitize surfaces and keep a distance of at least six feet from one another. But this is impossible to do in federal prison. 

Paul Manafort, who has government ties and happens to be White, was released early to home confinement, while many denied for home confinement have been people of color. A study should be done immediately to compare how many people of color compared to white people received a CARES Act home confinement order or a compassionate release. There needs to be a change in the system. While the #stophateforprofit movement is growing, there also needs to be an end to prison for profit. We must #stopprisonforprofit and let prisoners out because of COVID-19. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Johnny Lee Wesley Jr.

Johnny Lee Wesley Jr. is a writer incarcerated in a federal prison in Pennsylvania.