ALDERSON, WV (WOAY) – Friends and families of the women at Alderson Federal Prison say their loved ones are suffering.
They had a peaceful protest Wednesday in downtown Alderson, due to a rampant COVID-19 outbreak and short supply of staff. These friends and families claim authorities don’t seem to care.
Velma Bowens, a friend of some of the inmates and former inmate, herself, says through the limited contact the inmates are able to have with the outside, they report nearly 165 cases of COVID and conditions that are only getting worse.
“They’re not following CDC guidelines there, the staff is not wearing masks, the inmates have to buy their own meds, and at one point, they have cut the commissary down to $25, which is not a lot to buy personal items plus your own meds,” Bowens says.
Friends and loved ones have tried to reach out to various authority figures within and outside of the prison, but to no avail.
A mother of one of the inmates, Anita Remme, says that even despite some of the health conditions being dire, the inmates continue to receive no proper medical treatment or attention.
“My daughter, for one, has COVID and has had to go to the hospital, has been on oxygen, and passed out three times before she even ever got care,” says Remme. “There’s another lady up there who is a Diabetic and they don’t have needles to give her insulin. They’re not providing the proper healthcare to help these women get over it.”
Loved ones say visitation to the prison stopped in March of 2020. Once the Cares Act was put in place to potentially get inmates out, reports of guards instigating fights with the inmates started to come about. They claim the guards would write the inmates up, ensuring they cannot leave.
The loved ones of the inmates now feel that releasing them is the only logical step left to take.
“If they’re at a camp, there are a few reasons why they’re there. It’s white-collar crime most of the time, or they have worked themselves down with good behavior to get there if they’re at a camp, they basically just need to be at home,” Bowens says.
With such bad conditions, the friends and families want their loved ones in the prison to be able to go home and be put on house arrest for the remainder of their sentence.
After the friends and families started making the community aware of the ongoing issue at the prison, they are now receiving more responses from people wanting to help.
They plan to continue the protests until the issue is finally heard by the prison authorities.