Fed prisoners fear virus; sue for release at troubled prison

Fed prisoners fear virus; sue for release at troubled prison

Six chronically-ill inmates at a troubled federal prison in Louisiana are suing for their release, claiming that authorities have been unable to manage a coronavirus outbreak that is “ravaging the facility” where five prisoners have died.

The lawsuit, filed Monday on the inmates' behalf by the ACLU, asserted that recent Justice Department efforts to expedite releases from the Oakdale compound and at prisons in Connecticut and Ohio have not moved fast enough to identify medically-compromised and other vulnerable inmates as infections have mounted within the federal prison system.

Without court intervention, the documents state that “devastating, and in many

cases deadly, irreparable harm will befall incarcerated persons, facility staff, and the community.”

The six prisoners named in the lawsuit range in age from 35 to 58 and have been diagnosed with a range of ailments, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension, acute pancreatitis and other respiratory conditions, making them vulnerable to the virus. Of the 1,800 inmates housed in facilities at Oakdale, the lawsuit states that nearly 750 could be similarly at risk.

More:Second federal prisoner dies after contracting coronavirus; inmate was at same Louisiana prison as first victim

“Beyond the general public health concerns presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,

persons incarcerated at Oakdale face a particularly acute threat of illness, permanent injury, and death,” the inmates claim.

Louisiana has been hit particularly hard by the virus, with more than 10,000 cases and more than 350 deaths.

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