State Watch

1,000 inmates at Texas federal prison test positive for COVID-19

A North Texas federal prison has more than 1,000 inmates with COVID-19, one of whom has died from the virus, NBC News reports.

According to the report, the Federal Correctional Institute at Seagoville has 1,798 inmates total and at least 1,072 have tested positive for coronavirus.

One inmate, 65-year-old James Giannetta, died Thursday after testing positive June 26, NBC reports. He experienced shortness of breath and spent time on a ventilator. He reportedly had pre-existing conditions. Giannetta was in prison on a drug charge and a conspiracy to launder money charge. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the high count makes the Federal Correctional Institute at Seagoville home of the largest coronavirus outbreak of any US federal prison.

Familes of prisoners told NBC News that inmates have complained that the prison is facing deteriorating conditions and air conditioning systems don’t work properly.

Overall, 3,600 federal inmates and more than 300 prison staff throughout the country have tested positive for COVID-19. Thousands of inmates have also recovered from the virus and 97 inmates and one employee have died. 

The news Friday comes as correction facilities have become a hot spot for the virus, which spreads easily in closed spaces. Many have expressed concern that inmates are not protected from COVID-19 and some states, such as California, have taken measures to reduce their inmate population to prevent the virus from spreading. 

Tensions over the issue escalated to the point that a riot broke out at a New Mexico jail on Monday, as prisoners demanded better coronavirus testing capabilities and were angry over a reduction in hot meals due to a lack of kitchen staff.

Tags 1000 Coronavirus COVID-19 Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates positive Texas

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