Update on Covid-19 numbers on incarcerated individuals


As we continue to do all we can to assist in various ways to help our sisters get through these unusual times, we are also staying updated ourselves updated from direct accounts from our Sisters inside, and on the numbers posted from the FBOP and state prisons. Here is the latest information from the FBOP and we will also post information on the states.

From the BOP website as of 3 pm on 4/23/20 and attached as an Excel file: https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/


  • There have been 620 incarcerated people confirmed by lab tests to have coronavirus out of ~153,467 currently incarcerated (0.4% of the total population overall). They report 302 incarcerated people have recovered and 24 have died.

  • 24 incarcerated people have died from COVID-19 from the following facilities:

  • people at Oakdale I FCI in Oakdale, LA

  • 6 people at Elkton FCI in Lisbon, OH

  • 5 people at Butner Medium I FCI in Butner, NC

  • 2 people at Terminal Island FCI in San Pedro, CA

  • 1 person each at Lompoc USP in Lompoc, CA; Fort Worth FMC in Fort Worth, TX; Danbury FCI in Danbury, CT; Behavioral Systems Southwest Inc (RRC) in Phoenix, AZ

  • Infections have been reported at 49 BOP facilities and 16 RRCs. The 5 institutions with the most incarcerated people infected:

  • 131 people at Fort Worth FMC in Fort Worth, TX

  • 68 incarcerated people at Lompoc USP, in Lompoc, CA

  • 65 incarcerated people at Terminal Island FCI in San Pedro, CA

  • 51 people at Elkton FCI in Lisbon, OH

  • 45 incarcerated people at Yazoo City Low FCI in Yazoo City, MS

  • Overall numbers - If we postulate that the 302 recovered people and 24 deaths aren't counted in the 620 total infections then the total is 946 ever infected and that's 0.6% of the total population.

  • 1,501 incarcerated people have been released to home confinement (0.97% of the pre-release population)

  • There were 10,213 incarcerated people 61 years of age or older, 6.0% of the total population, according to the FBOP incarcerated population demographics website as of April 18. So even supposing that the 1,501 people released as of April 23 belong to this age group (which is not specified) then there are still AT LEAST 8,712 people who have not been released, which means only 15% of people from this group could have been released. https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_age.jsp

  • In total only ~40% of the overall FBOP population is serving time for violent crimes or sex offenses. If we assume that 40% of those over the age 61 would not be considered for release due to this, then there would still be ~6,128 people that should theoretically not be disqualified for released based on the type of offense they are incarcerated for. If we assume that the 1,501 people released are all over the age of 61 then that would mean that only about 24% of those theoretically eligible have been released to date. It is important to note that younger people with serious medical conditions may be among those released so even fewer elderly people may have been released. https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_offenses.jsp From various news articles:

  • Elkton FCI - The 3 incarcerated people that tested positive ..."are now in isolation but the majority of them will not be tested because the Bureau of Prisons only gave Elkton -- which houses 2,500 inmates – five testing kits."

  • Rachel Polansky and Phil Trexler, "Exclusive: 3 inmates test positive at eastern Ohio prison for COVID-19, another 80 are showing symptoms" wkyc studios, published 4/1/20, https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/investigations/3-elkton-inmates-test-positive-for-covid-19-another-80-are-showing-symptoms/95-e24580c2-dd59-4c0a-9334-1aa061b4abbe

  • Elkton FCI - "Joseph Mayle, union president for officers at Elkton...said Elkton is one of the prisons where staff is being told to report to work, even after they been exposed to the virus on the job, and even after staff secure doctor’s orders telling them to self-quarantine. “We are professional law enforcement officers, we want to come to work,” Mayle said. “We knew when we took this job it would be dangerous, that we could get stabbed or killed, but at no time did we think we could bring something home that could kill our family members. That wasn’t part of the deal.”"

  • Kimberly Kindy, "Inside the deadliest federal prison, the seeping coronavirus creates fear and danger" The Washington Post, published 4/10/20, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/inside-the-deadliest-federal-prison-the-seeping-coronavirus-creates-fear-and-danger/2020/04/09/deeceb6e-75b4-11ea-a9bd-9f8b593300d0_story.html

  • Elkton FCI - "U.S. District Judge James Gwin raised the issue at a hearing held Friday..." 4/17/20 "You’ve got the president every day saying testing’s available for everybody,” Gwin said to Assistant U.S. Attorney James Bennett. “And you’re saying you only had 59 total tests and only have 25 of the rapid tests per week for a population of 1,500.”"

  • Eric Heisig, "Judge grills federal prisons lawyer on lack of coronavirus tests at Ohio facility in wake of Trump’s claim that ‘anybody’ can get tested" Cleveland.com, published 4/18/20 https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/2020/04/judge-grills-federal-prisons-lawyer-on-lack-of-coronavirus-tests-at-ohio-facility-in-wake-of-trumps-claim-that-anybody-can-get-tested.html

  • Oakdale FCC (Oakdale FCI I and Oakdale FCI II) - "A federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, has stopped testing prisoners who are symptomatic for the coronavirus due to, “sustained transmission” at the facility, a spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said on Monday. ... “As is a typical practice in facilities with the sustained transmission of COVID-19, local health authorities have recommended against testing additional cases who present with COVID-19 symptoms in the Oakdale facility, but to presume they are COVID-19 positive,” the spokesperson, Sue Allison, wrote in an email. “This action is in order to conserve valuable testing resources.”"

  • Nicholas Chrastil, "Louisiana federal prison no longer testing symptomatic inmates for coronavirus due to ‘sustained transmission’" The Lens, published 3/31/2020, https://thelensnola.org/2020/03/31/louisiana-federal-prison-no-longer-testing-symptomatic-inmates-for-coronavirus-due-to-sustained-transmission/

  • Oakdale FCC (Oakdale FCI I and Oakdale FCI II) - "Inmates must have a fever and other covid-19 symptoms to be placed in isolation, staff and inmates say. Once they are there, bureau officials acknowledge that only those ill enough to be taken to a hospital are tested for the coronavirus. Thus, a full accounting of how many inmates have contracted covid-19 might never be known."

  • Kimberly Kindy, "Inside the deadliest federal prison, the seeping coronavirus creates fear and danger" The Washington Post, published 4/10/20, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/inside-the-deadliest-federal-prison-the-seeping-coronavirus-creates-fear-and-danger/2020/04/09/deeceb6e-75b4-11ea-a9bd-9f8b593300d0_story.html

  • Oakdale FCC (Oakdale FCI I and Oakdale FCI II) - "By the third week of April, seven Oakdale inmates had died. At least 100 inmates and staff members had been infected, with more than 20 hospitalized..."

  • Janet Reitman, "‘Something Is Going to Explode’: When Coronavirus Strikes a Prison" New York Times, published 4/18/20 and updated 4/23/20, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/magazine/oakdale-federal-prison-coronavirus.html

Inconsistencies:

  • Oakdale FCI I - On 4/10/20 the BOP website listed 36 incarcerated people infected with coronavirus and 5 deaths, in addition to 14 infected employees. On 4/23/20 the same website says there have been 17 incarcerated people infected and 7 deaths, with 22 infected employees. What happened to the rest of the infected incarcerated people? Are they now recovered? The website does not state that recovered cases are being subtracted from the total, nor where the recovered patients are incarcerated - it's possible that's where this discrepancy is coming from. Even if this is in fact true, the net effect is that the numbers are being reported in such a way as it makes it appear that the number of total infections is lower than it really is, because if it really is "currently infected minus recovered" that hides the true scope of the spread of the virus in the population.

  • Oakdale FCC (Oakdale FCI I and Oakdale FCI II) - The New York Times reports "At least 100 inmates and staff members had been infected..." on 4/23/20 but the numbers on the BOP website on 4/23 show only 21 incarcerated people infected, 7 deaths among incarcerated people, and 22 employees infected if you combined Oakdale FCI I and II. That is less than half the number reported by the NY Times article (though this does not account for the number of people recovered)

  • Janet Reitman, "‘Something Is Going to Explode’: When Coronavirus Strikes a Prison" New York Times, published 4/18/20 and updated 4/23/20, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/magazine/oakdale-federal-prison-coronavirus.html

  • The BOP numbers say that there have been ZERO staff deaths as of 4/23/20 but this contradicts their own press release on 4/18 stating that the first federal prison staff member had died from COVID-19. The woman was named Robin Grubbs, a 39-year-old case manager at USP Atlanta. The BOP may argue that her case has not been "definitively confirmed" yet as it was a "presumptive positive", but considering they issued a press release and that there is a nationwide shortage of tests they are purposely making things look less dire with the numbers they report.

  • Cassidy McDonald, "Federal prisons confirm first staff death linked to coronavirus" CBS News, published 4/18/20, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-federal-prisons-confirm-first-staff-death-linked-to-covid-19-robin-grubbs-usp-atlanta/

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