Oakdale federal prison being sued by ACLU

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 3:02 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (KPLC) - Warden Rodney Myers and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Michael Carvajal are being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.

They are being sued on “behalf of incarcerated people at the Oakdale Federal Detention Centers in Oakdale,” says Hanna Johnson, from ACLU.

The ACLU is requesting that those incarcerated that have a have high risk of catching COVID-19 due to age and/or underlying medical conditions be released.

There have been five confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 at FCI Oakdale I.

According to ACLU, Attorney General William Barr’s directive that was issued last week is too slow and that the five people who have died in Oakdale all died after his directive was first issued.

“Public health experts have repeatedly warned that COVID-19 will spread rapidly once it enters prisons, jails, and detention centers — both within the facilities and in the communities that surround them,” said Somil Trivedi, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “We share the department’s goal of stopping COVID-19 in its tracks, but are deeply concerned that relief is coming too slowly."

“Public health experts are consistent in warning that prisons and jails are extremely dangerous incubators for this disease. Conditions are now deadly — threatening the health of incarcerated people, staff and the surrounding community,” said Alanah Odoms Herbert, executive director at the ACLU of Louisiana. “What we are seeing on the ground does not encourage us that the federal government is acting with the urgency that will be required to protect Louisianans from this pandemic. We will fight to save the lives of our clients, as well as staff at these facilities and their communities.”

This release is online, here.

The complaint is online, here.

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