Government watchdog, Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG), (Covid-19)
issued a scathing report of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) response to Covid-19 at its FCC Lompoc facility.
The report comes as the American Civil Liberties Union case against
the BOP and Lompoc is moving forward,consequently
which states that the conditions in the prison amount are “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Lompoc has been plagued by Covid-19 outbreaks among both inmates
and staff at the federal correctional complex.consequently
Families of the inmates, who have not seen their loved one in months,
have held protests at the facility in an effort to raise awareness of the conditions in the prison.
The prison was criticized in an ACLU lawsuit, filed in May,
for utilizing restrictive lockdowns of inmates rather
than letting some of the minimum security inmates transfer to home confinement.
The effort to curb Covid-19 has not been successful while
inmates have had their movements severely restricted.
As the lawsuit stated, “Petitioners have barely been able to access phones and
internet to ask for help from their lawyers or family members.”
Between April 23 and May 1, 2020, the OIG conducted a remote inspection of FCC Lompoc
to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the complex and to
assess the steps Lompoc officials took to prepare for,consequently
prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within its facilities. At Lompoc,
the number of inmates infected with Covid-19 was so high
that the institution accounted for more than 65 percent of cases in Santa Barbara County (California) and are so staggering that local
officials asked the State of California to allow them to exclude
the numbers from Lompoc in their reopening criteria.consequently
In addition, the prison complex has placed only a small number of inmates on home
confinement as directed by Attorney General William
Barr’s memorandum to BOP Director Michael Carvajal pursuant to the CARES Act.consequently
This crisis has brought to light a problem that has plagued the BOP for many years; lack of medical staff.
Lompoc’s Health Services Administrator told the OIG that prior to the Covid-19 outbreak the
institution’s medical staffing was at only 62 percent,
a problem the BOP admitted has been a national challenge. April 30, the BOP had
designated 9 temporary duty (TDY) medical staff to FCC Lompoc
and had increased the institution’s medical staffing by approximately 38 percent (from about 24 to 33).
OIG conducted its investigation remotely and did not interview one inmate in its investigation.
That’s like conducting a restaurant review and only interviewing the cooks and staff.
The voice of those incarcerated should be heard because what I am hearing is
much worse than what has been reported by the OIG … which was also bad.
U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall granted a preliminary injunction in a class-
action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
that accuses the federal Bureau of Prisons of mishandling the
response to the outbreak and two federal lockups in Lompoc of failing
to take basic hygiene steps to protect those imprisoned. Under the order,
BOP officials are required to tell the court consequently
which inmates are eligible for release as part of a plan to reduce the population.