Jesup prison guards concerned over COVID-19

Jesup prison guards concerned over COVID-19

JESUP, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC heard from an employee at the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup who’s worried about how the federal prison is handling the pandemic.

She believes staff and inmates are at risk.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at FCI Jesup. However, WTOC’s Amanda Aguilar spoke to the Union President of the Bureau of Prisons’ local chapter, who said it’s only a matter of time unless the prison’s administration takes better precautions.

There are around 2,000 inmates and almost 500 staff at the federal prison.

Union President Pamela Milwood said employees do not have enough protection.

“If it comes to Jesup, it will be through the staff, and it will be because they did not provide us the equipment to prevent it," she said.

According to Milwood, staff members have been given three cotton masks that are thin and not protective.

“You can see down there, there’s no protection whatsoever," Milwood said, showing how the mask doesn’t fully cover nose or mouth.

She said the masks cannot be reused even after washing them because they get destroyed.

Milwood said staff members are also concerned with thermometers they are given to check their temperatures. They also question policies for employees who may have been in contact with someone exposed to COVID-19.

WTOC reached out to FCI Jesup, and they sent a statement saying the Bureau of Prisons uses a “comprehensive approach to manage its response, which includes screening, testing, appropriate treatment, prevention, education, and infection control measures.”

Milwood said the prison needs some additional oversight.

“It’s only a matter of time before COVID hits Jesup," she said.

We reached back out to FCI’s public information officer about the specific allegations, but have not heard back.

WTOC will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as more information gets released.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.