Manchin: No more federal inmate transfers during pandemic

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Local state, federal and union officials have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of using FCI Hazleton and FCI Gilmer as quarantine sites.

Officials from the American Federation of Government Employees say 124 inmates have been transferred to FCI Gilmer and to date five of those have tested positive for COVID-19.

“My concerns continue to grow about the bureau of prisons handling of the COVID issue,” Dan Doyle, National Vice President of the American Federation of Government Employees said,”With everybody being confined in close quarters it’s just a recipe for disaster.”

Friday morning U.S. Senator Joe Manchin released a statement saying U.S. Attorney General William Barr assured him no more new out-of-state inmates will be transferred to FCI Gilmer or FCC Hazelton during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He calls me first thing this morning and said, Joe I want you to know I put a permanent stop on any prisoners coming to West Virginia,” Manchin said,”I told him I’m very grateful and thankful for you for that and I will keep you informed and we will monitor it.”

Manchin believes the order means no prisoners will be transferred while the pandemic is going on.

“I’m understanding now, I’ll clarify that too, I’m understanding there will be no transfers during this pandemic,” Manchin said,”Until we have, like everyone else wants to have, some cures, some treatments or some antibodies.”

Preston County Commission President, Samantha Stone has been fighting the federal policy and plans to watch the situation very closely.

“This is a scary time, it’s a virus we have no control over at this point,” Stone said,”We have to take every precaution necessary not to spread it.”