WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he’s been told by U.S. Attorney William Barr there will be no more transfers of federal prisoners for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic to federal prisons in Preston and Gilmer counties.
“He (Barr) calls me first thing this (Friday) morning and said, ‘Joe I want you to know I put a permanent stop on any prisoners coming to West Virginia,'” Manchin said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.””I told him I’m very grateful and thankful for you for that and I will keep you informed and we will monitor it.”
.@Sen_JoeManchin joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss his conversation with Attorney General William Barr to stop the transfer of federal inmates to West Virginia prisons. WATCH: https://t.co/jmMe7bOYY9 pic.twitter.com/DvyoZRtKmL
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) May 8, 2020
Local, state, federal and union officials have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of using FCI Hazleton and FCI Gilmer as quarantine sites.
Officials with the federal Bureau of Prisons say 124 inmates have been transferred to FCI Gilmer. According to the BOP website, one inmate at Gilmer has tested positive for COVID-19. The American Federation of Government Employees says as many as five people have tested positive.
“My concerns continue to grow about the bureau of prisons handling of the COVID issue,” Dan Doyle, national vice president of the AFGE said. “With everybody being confined in close quarters it’s just a recipe for disaster.”
Manchin said he believes Barr means no prisoners will be transferred while the pandemic is ongoing.
“I’m understanding now, I’ll clarify that too, I’m understanding there will be no transfers during this pandemic,” Manchin said. “Until we have, like everyone else wants to have, some cures, some treatments or some antibodies.”
Preston County Commission President Samantha Stone has been fighting the federal policy and plans to watch the situation very closely.
“This is a scary time, it’s a virus we have no control over at this point,” Stone said. “We have to take every precaution necessary not to spread it.”