Today, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) ordered the implementation of Phase 5 of its COVID-19 Action Plan, effective tomorrow, April 1, 2020. In response to a growing number of quarantine and isolation cases in our facilities, the BOP will take the following actions immediately to further mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19.
- For a 14-day period, inmates in every institution will be secured in their assigned cells/quarters to decrease the spread of the virus. This modification to our action plan is based on health concerns, not disruptive inmate behavior.
- During this time, to the extent practicable, inmates should still have access to programs and services that are offered under normal operating procedures, such as mental health treatment and education.
- In addition, the Bureau is coordinating with the United States Marshals Service (USMS) to significantly decrease incoming movement during this time.
- After 14 days, this decision will be reevaluated and a decision made as to whether or not to return to modified operations.
- Limited group gathering will be afforded to the extent practical to facilitate commissary, laundry, showers, telephone, and Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System (TRULINCS) access.
Starting in January 2020, the BOP implemented its Pandemic Influenza contingency plan, modified as an Action Plan for COVID-19. The BOP continues to revise and update its action plan in response to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the latest guidance from experts at the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Background on Phases 1 - 4:
Phase 4: On March 26, 2020, the BOP implemented revised preventative measures for all institutions. The agency updated its quarantine and isolation procedures to require all newly admitted inmates to BOP, whether in a sustained community transition area or not, be assessed using a screening tool and temperature check. This includes all new intakes, detainees, commitments, writ returns from judicial proceedings, and parole violators, regardless of their method of arrival. Asymptomatic inmates are placed in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days or until cleared by medical staff. Symptomatic inmates are placed in isolation until they test negative for COVID-19 or are cleared by medical staff as meeting CDC criteria for release from isolation.
These are the latest measures that follow the first three phases of the Bureau's action plan, which may be found here: www.bop.gov/resources/news/pdfs/20200324_bop_press_release_covid19_update.pdf
The Bureau will continue to provide daily updates and information on actions related to COVID-19 at www.bop.gov/coronavirus/