Tuesday, January 12, 2021
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The Villages

Significant spike in COVID-19 cases reported at federal prison in Coleman

The federal prison in Coleman appears to be battling another outbreak of the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus.

On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported 176 cases among 73 inmates and 103 staff members at the facility. That marked an increase of 20 cases from Wednesday, when the prison was reporting 156 cases among 52 inmates and 104 staff members.

The majority of the cases – 114 – have been reported in the maximum-security wing of the massive complex. Of those, 65 are inmates and 49 are staff members. There has been one inmate death in that wing, while 206 inmates and 21 staff members have recovered from the virus.

Another 40 cases have been reported in the medium-security wing among seven inmates and 33 staff members. In that facility, two inmates have died of the virus, while 273 prisoners and three staff members have recovered.

The low-security wing is reporting another 21 cases among staff members. One inmate and one staff member have died as a result of the virus, while 203 inmates and 11 staff members have recovered.

Overall, the Federal Bureau of Prisons houses close to 125,733 inmates in facilities across the United States and has a staff of about 36,000. As of Thursday, 1,700 prisoners and 886 staff members had confirmed positive test results for COVID-19.

All told, 15,858 federal inmates and 1,358 staff members have recovered from COVID-19. But 129 inmates and two staff members have died as a result of the illness.

The Coleman prison complex sits on about 1,600 acres and as of 2010 was the largest correctional facility operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The inmates at the facility, on average, serve sentences of about 10 years.

Over the years, the prison has housed a variety of high-profile inmates. Convicted pedophile Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor, was moved there in August 2018 after allegedly being attacked in an Arizona prison. Somalia pirate Gabul Abdullah Ali and al-Qaeda sympathizer Amine El Khalifi also were believed to have served time there. And the late James “Whitey” Bulger, the famed Boston crime boss, was moved there in late 2014.

This past April, former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was released from the facility after completing less than half of her 60-month sentence for corruption and fraud charges. The 73-year Brown is serving the remainder of her sentence under home confinement. She suffers from high blood pressure, sleep apnea, low estrogen and acid reflux and was released because of concerns surrounding the Coronavirus.

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