The situation at Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) has garnered a great deal of attention. The federal prison has had five fatalities as a result of COVID-19 and numerous inmates and staff have been infected. Additionally, the ACLU of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of at-risk inmates.

Three prominent Republicans from Louisiana have issued a joint letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson was joined by Senators John Kennedy, and Bill Cassidy in writing a letter to the Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal. 

The letter asks specific questions about Oakdale FCI and the steps that are being taken to protect inmates and staff. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson expressed his desire for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to take immediate action to protect those who are at risk of being infected.

“We recognize these are challenging times for the Bureau of Prisons, but the situation at Oakdale FCI is unacceptable. The BOP must take decisive action to protect the health and safety of the staff, officers, prison population and surrounding community,” said Johnson. “I want to thank Senator Cassidy and Senator Kennedy for joining me in this effort. We look forward to the BOP’s prompt response.”

Senator John Kennedy reflected the sentiment expressed by Johnson and requested information about how the virus spread, and how the BOP plans to prevent more infection going forward.

“What goes on at this federal prison affects inmates, staff and the broader Oakdale community. We need answers about what happened in Oakdale and how the Bureau of Prisons is going to mitigate this outbreak,” said Kennedy.

Senator Bill Cassidy expressed that the lives of more than just inmates were at stake, and that he wanted to know how BOP is working to protect inmates, staff, and the Oakdale community.

“We must contain coronavirus wherever we find it. This is for the safety of the support staff, guards, law enforcement, their families and all others concerned in Oakdale. Our letter seeks more information on how the Bureau of Prisons is working to that end, ” said Cassidy.

The trio joins many people who are seeking answers during this global pandemic and want to flatten the curve.