Southern Brooklyn

Rose calls for Bureau of Prisons to protect officers at Metropolitan Detention Center

May 13, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Rose calls for Bureau of Prisons to protect officers at Metropolitan Detention Center
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U.S. Rep. Max Rose has called for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide more personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, and time off to self-quarantine for federal corrections officers from South Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Rose added that despite the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, corrections officers (COs) have reported to him that BOP is refusing to pay overtime that is owed.

On Tuesday, May 12, Rose wrote a letter to Michael Carvajal, director of the Bureau of Prisons, asking for protection for the federal Cos.

“A large number of my constituents are COs and serve valiantly in this demanding job to

keep our community safe,” Rose wrote. “I am deeply concerned about the numerous issues raised by my constituents who work at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), 80 29th St., and the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) in Manhattan, among other facilities. I am sure these issues are also occurring at the BOP facilities across the nation.”

In the letter, his concerns highlighted the lack of PPE for the COs.

“Staff are being required to respond to areas where inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 even though they are not given proper PPE,” he said. “Additionally, the BOP is accepting newly committed inmates without any testing to see if they need to be isolated. COs at MDC have reported that they need N95 masks and hand sanitizer in particular. The COs there were offered a donation of 1,000 masks but senior BOP officials prevented them from accepting the donation.”

He also addressed a perceived lack of testing.

“My constituents contend that the BOP’s reporting of positive COVID-19 amongst its staff and inmate population is inaccurate, with positive cases being grossly underreported,” he said. “They argue that there is no plan in place to track the number of staff who have tested positive nor is there a plan in place to conduct contact tracing.”

He also said that the BOP isn’t informing staff when a CO tests positive so that employees can take precautionary measures.

“My constituent Mr. Anthony Sanon works in very close contact at MDC with a colleague who tested positive but he was never informed that they had COVID by prison leadership,” Rose said. “He notes that the only reason he knows is because this person was a personal friend and told Mr. Sanon himself. My constituents have informed me that the BOP is reporting that only five inmates have tested positive at MCC but that this is not accurate due to lack of testing as only six inmates have been tested in total. Given that there are at least 45 staff and likely more who have tested positive at this facility, it simply isn’t logical to think that only five inmates total have tested positive.”

With self-quarantine time, Rose stated, “So many officers at MDC are sick now that the BOP is bringing in COs from other prisons to fill shifts. Those other officers are allowed to self-quarantine when they return home but officers at MDC are not allowed time off for self-quarantine despite serious and consistent exposure to inmates and colleagues with COVID-19.”

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