Prisoners are starting to be released from a minimum-security camp at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, due to the threat of the coronavirus, according to a number of inmates at the camp who spoke to The Lens.
Anthony Fields, an inmate at the camp said in a phone call on Wednesday that prison staff had called the names of 15 to 20 prisoners at the camp who would be released. He said that they had walked three of them out the door that day.
Three other prisoners at the camp corroborated in emails to The Lens that releases were taking place.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has instructed the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to increase utilization of home confinement for federal prisoners due to the coronavirus, and specifically ordered they maximize use of home confinement at FCC Oakdale and other facilities where there are significant levels of infection. Barr also expanded the cohort of prisoners eligible for home release to “all inmates with COVID-19 risk-factors,” and directed the BOP to review those inmates to determine whether a transfer would be appropriate.
When considering someone for release, Barr also instructed the BOP to take into account the security level of the facility they are being housed in, the person’s conduct in prison, and their underlying conviction.