BRUCETON MILLS, W.Va. – Local, state and federal officials continue to protest the COVID-19 quarantine sites at FCI Hazelton and FCI Gilmer County.
During his daily briefing Governor Justice made it clear he is still pressuring federal officials to stop inmates from being quarantined in West Virginia.
“I don’t like the fact in any way, our federal government is doing what is happening here.” Justice said,”We’re pushing, everybody is pushing, the senators, all three congressman, we’re all pushing on this to try to stop this.”
Justice says federal officials are providing assurances, but risks are too great.
“What we’re hearing is- Well, we’re taking every precaution, everything is OK,” Justice said,”We’ve double checked, double checked and double checked. But, that’s just not good enough.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin expressed his concerns to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and released the following statement:
“This morning I had a productive call with Attorney General Bill Barr to discuss the situation at FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer, and my opposition to the transfer of new out-of-state inmates to West Virginia. He understands the concerns we have raised and is sympathetic to the situation. Despite a court order requiring increased social distancing at Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities in the D.C. region, I am hopeful the Department of Justice and BOP will take into account that these West Virginia facilities have no COVID-19 cases and that West Virginians have worked very hard to adhere to guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state. The safety of our brave correctional officers and their families, citizens and inmates during this healthcare crisis must be our top priority,” Senator Manchin said.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore-Capito also released the following statement:
“The impact of this pandemic continues to show no boundaries and it has hit our judicial system as well. While I strongly oppose the release of prisoners from their sentences and understand the need for transfers within the system, I have become increasingly concerned for the health and safety of the men and women at FCI Hazelton and FCI Gilmer as well as their families and surrounding community. We have been extremely fortunate that we have not had a coronavirus outbreak in either of these facilities, and we cannot risk one now. I respect the analysis by the BOP, but too many brave West Virginians who work long hours in an already dangerous environment have expressed their concern about this potential transfer. As such, I am asking the BOP to heed the call to halt these transfers on behalf of the health and safety of these West Virginians as we continue to fight this pandemic.”