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Concerns for Federal Prison employees in “hot spot” areas

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Some workers from Pekin's Federal Prison are helping in COVID-19 hot spots where both inmates and officers have been infected.

Union President Tom Kamm said three people from his facility are not just helping at the hard hit facilities, but working directly with infected inmates.

Kamm said now they are worried about what happens when they come home.

Kamm said the three employees are currently working at the federal facility in Milan, Michigan doing security on inmates that are currently sick with COVID-19.

He said the Federal Bureau of Prisons has gone back and forth as to if they will get tested when they return.

"So we don't know if they are going to be tested or not. we do know that they are as of right now not going to give them the 14 day quarantine before telling them to come back to work."

This concerns the workers because they could not only expose the community and their families, but the 250 other employees at the Pekin Facility.

"We have staff members who have other underlying medical conditions and this could be very serious for them. So I think it's irresponsible for the bureau of prisons to even take staff members from an institution that is not a hot spot and send them to an institution that is a hot spot."

Kamm is also concerned about protective equipment. He said for a number of weeks they were not allowed to wear masks. While they are now, he said they should have access to the best equipment.

"We're not allowed to wear the n 95 masks which we feel is a safer mask but we're not given those."

Kamm said these are not decisions being made locally, but from Washington D.C. and feels there is a lack of leadership on a national level.

"The CDC is putting out guidelines and the bureau of prisons should be following that but it's just the inconsistency and it's changing daily of what we're doing."

Kamm said he also feels federal prisons should stop the transfer of inmates from facility to facility like the Illinois Department of Corrections has done.

Kaitlin Pearson

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