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Federal Bureau of Prisons’ All Facilities are on Lock Down Over George Floyd Protests

June 1, 2020


The Federal Bureau of Prisons on Monday announced it locked down all 122 facilities it oversees nationwide due to ongoing civil unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

The temporary security measure that went into effect in the afternoon was taken "in an abundance of caution" due to the nationwide protests, some of which turned to riots. There are more than 165,000 inmates in federal custody.

No inmates will be moved during the lockdown to ensure the safety of staff and the inmates, BOP added.

Monday marked the seventh day of nationwide protests, many of which have become violent, forcing several cities to institute curfews. “The BOP has implemented a national lockdown as of 4 p.m. due to the ongoing unrest and riots nationwide. We will assume lockdown protocols for everyone’s safety and until it is calm around the nation.” 

BOP Spokesperson Justin Long gave the following statement on Monday night: 

“The BOP is currently operating under an enhanced modified operational model to promote social distancing and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  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. 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 BOP will continue to monitor events carefully and will adjust its operations accordingly as the situation continues to evolve.” 

Also on Monday, Attorney General William Barr directed the BOP to send riot teams to Miami and Washington, D.C., to help with the protests. 

Exactly two months ago, the agency implemented what staff and union officials are calling a “modified lockdown” to restrict inmate movement due to the novel coronavirus outbreaks. Inmates are supposed to be secured in their cells or quarters for 14 days, which BOP noted was “based on health concerns, not disruptive inmate behavior.” Agency officials said inmates would still have access to normal programs and services, such as mental health treatment and education. However, group gatherings in the commissary, laundry, shower, telephone, and computer areas are limited.