Home>Articles>New Jersey lawmakers urge Defense Inspector General to probe Fort Dix prison’s handling of COVID-19

Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

New Jersey lawmakers urge Defense Inspector General to probe Fort Dix prison’s handling of COVID-19

By Nikita Biryukov, January 15 2021 4:54 pm

Ten members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation want a federal probe of COVID-19 in prisons expanded to a South Jersey facility.

In a letter, they urged Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz to expand an ongoing probe into the handling of COVID-19 in federal prisons to include the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, where more than 300 have contracted the virus.

“Earlier this week FCI Fort Dix once again had the most severe COVID-19 outbreak of all federal prisons, and we are alarmed that BOP has repeatedly failed to contain outbreaks at the facility,” the lawmakers, led by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-North Bergen) and Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) said. “Additional oversight is urgently required to protect the safety of incarcerated individuals and staff at FCI Fort Dix.”

As of Thursday, 321 inmates and 29 staff members there had contracted the virus, according to Bureau of Prisons data.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-Newark) and Reps. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark), Donald Norcross (D-Camden), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) also signed onto the letter.

“we urge you to immediately investigate the COVID-19 response at FCI Fort Dix, including infection control and testing procedures, access to medical care, impacts on living conditions, and transfers to home confinement,” they said. “We are gravely concerned that without additional oversight, BOP will continue to endanger the lives of the incarcerated individuals and staff at FCI Fort Dix.”

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