Picket planned in West Virginia over inmate transfers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A protest is planned over a decision by federal officials to send inmates to two facilities in West Virginia for quarantine.

The union representing federal correctional officers in West Virginia said a picket will be held Saturday in Morgantown over inmate transfers to the Federal Correctional Institution at Gilmer and potential transfers to the federal prison at Hazelton, The Exponent Telegram reported.

Union President Rick Heldreth said officials are concerned about the safety of prison staff.

Dozens of new federal inmates who have no symptoms of the new coronavirus have been sent to Gilmer for a 14-day quarantine.

Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal has said 10 sites across the country with available bed space were identified to house the new inmates, a move to relieve overcrowding. Carvajal said inmates who don’t test positive for the virus after the quarantine will then be transported to their designated prisons.

West Virginia officials, including Gov. Jim Justice, have asked the bureau to reconsider the transfers.

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