Inmates incarcerated at the Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution are among the first in the nation to have their sentences reviewed over concerns about the coronavirus threat.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, responding to pressure from political and health leaders, announced on Friday that inmates at the Oakdale facility will be assessed for COVID-19 risk factors. That assessment could lead to some prisoners becoming eligible for home confinement.

Two other federal prisons, one in Connecticut and the other in Ohio, are a part of this initial assessment of the federal prison population. Oakdale was singled out because the facility has already reported six deaths because of the virus. The facility has also reported that 36 other inmates and 26 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

The directive to prioritize home confinement in response to the coronavirus pandemic came from United States Attorney General William Barr. Under the guidance of Barr's directive, any inmate who feels they are eligible for home confinement should make that request and provide a release plan to their case manager.

Each request will be investigated and vetted before a decision has been made. Bureau of Prisons staff will likely contact family members of each inmate regarding the request. This will be done before any decision regarding home confinement is made.

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