Attorney General William Barr on Thursday issued a directive to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Thursday calling for at-risk prisoners to be sent home to reduce the inmate population and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The directive states that an inmate’s eligibility would be determined by their age and vulnerability to COVID-19, their conduct in prison and whether they have a “demonstrated and verifiable” re-entry plan.
Barr said during a press conference Thursday that one-third of the 146,000 inmates currently in federal prison facilities are believed to have pre-existing medical conditions and 10,000 inmates are older than 60.
“You want to make sure that our institutions don’t become Petri dishes and it spreads rapidly through a particular institution,” he said. “But we have the protocols that are designed to stop it and we are using all the tools we have to protect the inmates.”