March 27, 2020

Union County Commissioners Letter to Federal Bureau of Prisons Requesting End of Prisoner Transfers

Executed BOP letter 3.27.20 (1).pdf

Union County Commissioners, Evangelical Community Hospital, and Geisinger have made a joint written request to the Bureau of Prisons to provide detailed information about federal prisoners potentially transferred or being transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg and the Federal Correctional Complex at Allenwood.

All three entities are concerned that an influx of prisoners from regions with widespread COVID-19 outbreak will increase the risk of infection for the staff at the Union County-based facilities and thereby increase the risk of infection to the community at-large. In addition, an outbreak in the prison population has the potential to severely tax the resources of the healthcare providers in the region. “The Bureau of Prisons has a legal obligation to ensure that local health service providers are consulted regarding an inmate’s health,” said Preston Boop, chairman of the Union County Commissioners. “The Bureau’s lack of response to questions about their transfer of prisoners to facilities in our county required us to formally seek information about these potential transfers.”

“Like the commissioners and Geisinger, we are concerned about the safety and well-being of the communities where those who staff these facilities live,” said Kendra Aucker, President and CEO, Evangelical Community Hospital. “We’re also concerned that an outbreak in the prison population could overburden our facility and limit our ability to care for the entire community.”

“Given the continued spread of COVID-19 across the country, all health care providers must be diligent with available resources,” added Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD, Geisinger CEO. “We agreed to join the Union County Commissioners in their formal request to the Bureau of Prisons for information and actions that will prevent prisoners potentially or actively infected with COVID-19 from being transferred to federal prisons in our service area.”

The joint letter is available on the Union County, Evangelical Community Hospital and Geisinger websites.