Congressman Kim Calls on Bureau of Prisons Director to Lock Down Ft. Dix Facility After COVID-19 Outbreak
Congressman Kim Calls on Bureau of Prisons Director to
Lock Down Ft. Dix Facility After COVID-19 Outbreak
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) called on Michael Carvajal, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, take immediate steps to address the continued outbreak of COVID-19 at Ft. Dix FCI.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 at Ft. Dix FCI is a clear and present danger to the federal employee staff, the inmates, and to our communities in New Jersey surrounding the Joint Base. I continue to hear from Bureau of Prisons (BOP) leadership that the situation in under control or improving, but it is clearly not. Ft. Dix FCI has had the highest number of total active cases of any federal prison in the country. Just this morning, active cases rose to 797 total cases among inmates, and 26 among staff, more than double the next highest affected facility in the country.
I urgently call upon BOP leadership to take immediate action to stop the spread of COVID-19 at Ft. Dix FCI. There are concrete steps BOP Director Michael Carvajal can take immediately. He should order the lock down of Ft. Dix FCI, devote full attention to reducing inmate-to-inmate spread, continue the moratorium of inmate transfers in and out of the facility that is due to expire this week, increase testing availability for staff and inmates, and provide all resources available to staff in order to address the outbreak there. Not doing so would further endanger the health and safety of thousands of people and would lead to the full loss of confidence in Director Carvajal’s leadership.
My constituents in Burlington and Ocean Counties cannot wait another day for the BOP to act. The threat is real and the steps needed should be taken immediately.”
Congressman Kim has made repeated calls for action to BOP Director Carvajal during the pandemic to address the COVID-19 outbreaks at Ft. Dix FCI. Those include:
- April 23, 2020: Congressman Kim co-sponsors the bipartisan PANDEMIC Act, which limits the transfer of prisoners between facilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- October 9, 2020: Congressman Kim sends letter to BOP Director Carvajal expressing the need to halt transfers immediately and address the crisis at Ft. Dix FCI.
- November 9, 2020: Congressman Kim signs onto letter to Director Carvajal with members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, led by Senator Menendez asking for action to be taken to address outbreaks at Ft. Dix FCI.
- November 18 – November 20: Congressman Kim makes personal phone calls to Warden David Ortiz at Ft. Dix FCI, as well as Regional Director Nicole English of the Bureau of Prisons who oversees the facility to press for changes and offer assistance.
- December 2, 2020: Congressman Kim submits Questions for the Record to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, titled “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service”, calling on the BOP to provide direct answers for why conditions have deteriorated at Ft. Dix FCI, and on discrepancies in the number of total positive cases at the facility.
- December 4, 2020: Congressman Kim released a joint statement with BOP Reform Caucus Chair Fred Keller calling for an end to the transfer of inmates between BOP facilities which puts our communities at risk for increased spread, and for BOP leadership to outline a detailed and coordinated strategy to counter the increased outbreaks of COVID-19 in BOP facilities across the country.
- December 8, 2020: Congressman Kim joins New Jersey Congressional Delegation in a letter sent by Senator Menendez to Director Carvajal again asking to halt transfers which have led to COVID-19 spread.
- January 6, 2021: Congressman Kim speaks with AFGE Local 2001 leaders representing staff at Ft. Dix FCI to receive an update on conditions.
Congressman Kim is a member of the Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus and the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, where he serves as one of twelve members of the House tasked with conducting oversight over programs aimed at ending the Coronavirus pandemic and helping address the economic impact it’s having on the American people. Congressman Kim is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Small Business. More information about Congressman Kim can be found on his website by clicking here.