The all-female Federal Medical Center-Carswell recently received national attention following the COVID-19-related deaths of three inmates. At its peak, more than 500 inmates were stricken with the coronavirus. Of 1,355 total inmates, 244 currently test positive, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Around a dozen protesters gathered outside the prison in Fort Worth last evening to draw attention to allegedly inhumane prisoner conditions.
“You are not forgotten. You are not alone. We will fight to bring you home,” the group collectively chanted just outside the barbed wire-topped metal fences.
One protester, Lisa, said her daughter contracted COVID-19 inside the facility and was not properly treated.
“They are no longer testing them” for the virus, Lisa alleges. The prison allegedly places “infected patients with healthy patients. They treat them so inhumanely in there. [Inmates] get one hot meal a day, and they just started that. They get eight pieces of bread and two pieces of lunch meat a day. I don’t know if they are still getting their hot meal. [My daughter] put in for compassionate release. She hasn’t heard anything.”
Another protester, Ken, said he has no direct relationship with any inmate. He came to protest mass incarceration.
“We are compassionate believers who think incarceration is largely driven by an inability to afford decent legal counsel or the ability to pay to get out,” he said.
Richard with the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons said he is working to draw attention to alleged atrocities inside the Fort Worth prison.
“We are trying to help the women get properly tested,” he said. “One of the biggest issues at this facility is there are women eligible for compassionate release who are being held up. Anytime you are in a place like this, it’s a death sentence. We are trying to put pressure [on prison authorities] to let women out and to clean the facility.”
On its website, the Bureau of Federal Prisons said any inmate who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be “immediately placed in isolation.”
Placing sick patients in quarantine, Richard said, punishes prisoners who have done nothing wrong. He would like to see inmates given sanitary living conditions and eligible inmates afforded expedited access to compassionate release. –– Edward Brown