Preston County Commissioner works to stop federal prison plan to establish quarantine sites in Preston, Gilmer Counties

BRUCETON MILLS, W.Va. – A statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons says they are limiting inmate movement in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. However, they have no control over new inmates sent to them by the U. S. Marshals Service awaiting trial and newly-convicted prisoners ordered to serve sentences.

Federal officials are required to establish quarantine sites for new inmates and selected 10 of the 122 facilities nationwide. Of the ten, FCI Hazelton and FCI Gilmer County have been selected.

Preston County Commission President Samantha Stone was a guest on WAJR’s Talk of the Town and said this is a very dangerous proposal and they are continuing to fight it.

“Everything the citizens have done, everything the small businesses have done, everything, and just throws it down the tubes,” Stone said,”Because there could be a breach.”

Stone says Preston County currently has only 13 confirmed cases and she is contacting all available officials to stop the plan.

“I have spoken with Patrick Morrisey, I have spoken with the governor’s representative, we have had communication with Capito’s office and I’ve been on the phone with Wendy Madden from Congressman McKinley’s office,” Stone said,”Everybody is sending letters of support saying don’t send them here.”

Prison employees commute from Mon County, Maryland and Pennsylvania creating an unnecessary risk in an area that has worked hard to keep the infection rate low.

“There are over 800 employees at Hazleton that have to go home to their families,” Stone said,”Although they’re taking every precaution necessary, there still could be that chance.”

Stone says they are running out of options to stop the plan.

“I believe now it’s going to take an act of President Trump to put his foot down and saying absolutely not, they need to sit tight, but I don’t know that it’s going to happen,”I’m starting to lose all faith in the work I’ve been doing and the people I’ve been talking to.”

Stone says local, state and federal officials are lobbying against the plan, but prison officials are forging ahead with the proposal as early as Monday.

“They are in support of what we’re wanting, they’re wanting it to stop as well. I think it’s falling on deaf ears,” Stone said,”I’ve been told they are still coming and there’s nothing we can do about it.”