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Protests trigger strictest federal prison lockdown in 25 years

Protests trigger strictest federal prison lockdown in 25 years
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The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is under a lockdown as part of additional security measures put in place amid the nationwide protests that have broken out in response to the death of George Floyd

The lockdown is the strictest the BOP has implemented since the agency’s response to mass rioting at its facilities 25 years ago. 

Unlike the 1995 lockdown, the agency stressed that the move was precautionary and not in reaction to events occurring in its facilities.  

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"In light of extensive protest activity occurring around the country, the BOP in an abundance of caution  is implementing an additional, temporary security measure to ensure the good order and security of our institutions, as well as ensure the safety of staff and inmates," the agency said in a statement. 

"In securing our facilities, our hope is that this security measure is short-lived and that inmates will be restored to limited movement in the very near future,” the agency added. 

The agency said it will monitor events carefully and adjust operations “as the situation continues to evolve.” 

BOP Director Michael Carvajal is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding practices of detention during the coronavirus pandemic. 

As of Monday, the bureau has reported 1,650 federal inmates in its facilities and 171 staff that have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The bureau has also reported 68 federal inmate deaths from COVID-19. 

In response to the pandemic, an additional 3,545 federal inmates have been placed on home confinement as of March 26, according to the bureau's data

Nationwide protests have sprung up over police brutality following Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last week. 

Floyd died after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers were fired but not charged.