A former National Security Agency contractor, Reality Winner, is one of the 500 women inmates who contracted COVID-19 in a federal medical prison in Texas, in what has become one of the largest outbreaks to happen inside a federal prison.
Winner pleaded guilty to revealing classified information about Russian meddling to a media outlet, she is currently serving her five-year prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth.
On Tuesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at the said federal prison shot up to 510, it was only two days after they reported to the Bureau of Prisons that 200 women have contracted the diseases.
The said facility has now become the second federal prison with the highest number of cases next to the Seagoville federal prison which is also located in Fort Worth, which has 1156 cases.
In an interview with one of the inmates in Carswell, Holli Chapman stated that it feels like they are being treated as hamsters inside of a cage who are just chasing their own tails.
According to Fox News, back in April, one of the inmates in the facility named Andrea Bear died. Moreover, just three weeks ago, the number of cases in the prison was only three, until it blew up to the current count which is almost two hundred times more. On July, 12, a 69-year-old inmate also succumbed to the virus, followed by another death of a 51-year-old only this Monday.
FMC-Carswell currently houses 1,357 prisoners. The said facility hosts women inmates who have mental health and medical issues. Inmates have expressed fear and concern about the spread of COVID-19 inside the facility since April, according to interviews with Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
When asked about the status of the inmates and of the outbreak inside the prison, the staff at the FMC-Carswell directed any questions to the BOP. While the latter stated that there are already precautions being taken to mitigate the spread of the virus inside the facility.
In a statement, Carswell's administration stated that they are currently assessing the situation carefully in order to make sure that staff, inmates, and the public are safe. They also stated that they are following the guidance that has been implemented by the BOP in all its facilities to curb the spread of the virus.
However, contrary to the statements of both Carswell and the BOP, several inmates have said that the federal medical prison did not have enough protective equipment or supplies for sanitation. They also added that their cells are not immediately sanitized even if one of those staying inside tested positive.
Another inmate, identified as Sandra Shoulders stated that the mattresses that have been used by those who tested positive only piled up inside a TV room instead of being disinfected or disposed of.
Shoulders also said that they feel like they have been abandoned. She also called out officers at the facility and said that despite their claims of doing things for inmates, they still feel like they have been left behind.