Lockdown: Federal prisoners to be confined to cells for 14 days to slow virus spread

Bureau of Prison escalates isolation to slow virus spread among inmates, but will allow key services like mental health treatment to continue.

federal prison
Federal prison in Coleman, Florida
(Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
April 1, 2020 - 8:21pm

Federal prisons have been ordered to confine inmates to their cells for the next 14 days in a dramatic effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The order from the Bureau of Prisons took effect Wednesday and will be re-evaluated at the end of the two-week quarantine, officials said.

"For a 14-day period, inmates in every institution will be secured in their assigned cells/quarters to decrease the spread of the virus. This modification to our action plan is based on health concerns, not disruptive inmate behavior," the prison agency said.

Officials said they will try "to the extent practicable" to ensure inmates still have access to key programs and services like mental heath treatment.

Some group gatherings will be permitted  to facilitate commissary, laundry, showers, telephone, and" computers, the agency said.