NEW YORK (ABC News) – The Bureau of Prisons on Friday said that 70% of the inmates the Bureau has tested have come back positive for COVID-19.
But the Bureau says that it doesn’t reflect the positive rate across the entire BOP system which houses 146,000 prisoners in 122 facilities.
The BOP says they’ve tested “roughly 2,700 inmates.”
The Bureau said it is increasing testing throughout the system for both inmates and staff, but did not provide where they are testing.
BOP sources told ABC News that at the facilities where they are testing, they expect the numbers to balloon because of the Bureau’s previous policy, which asserted that once an inmate showed symptoms for COVID-19 they were quarantined and not tested.
“As increased testing opportunities become available, the BOP will increase testing to include asymptomatic inmates. As in many other civilian areas experiencing outbreaks, increased testing has resulted in higher positive rates,” a Bureau spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Bureau has been under scrutiny about its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so much so that a Pennsylvania Republican introduced a bill to make the director of the BOP Senate-confirmed.