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COVID-19 running rampant through federal prison facilities in Coleman

An outbreak of COVID-19 is continuing to plague the federal prison complex in Coleman.

As of Wednesday morning, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was reporting 101 cases of the potentially deadly virus among 85 inmates and 16 staff members. The prison, which houses more than 5,700 inmates in its low-, medium- and high-security wings, reported 60 cases among 48 inmates and 12 staff members last week.

The overwhelming majority of the Coronavirus cases – 87 – have been reported in the medium security wing of the massive complex. Of those, 82 are inmates and five are staff members. One inmate also is listed as recovered on a Federal Bureau of Prisons report.

Nine cases have been reported in the high-security facilities at the prison. Those include two inmates and seven staff members. Of those, one inmate and two staff members have recovered from the virus.

Five cases also have been reported in the low-security wing among one inmate and four staff members. As of Wednesday, the inmate and two staff members had recovered from the illness.

Overall, the Federal Bureau of Prisons houses 144,129 in facilities across the United States and has a staff of about 36,000. As of Wednesday, 2,163 prisoners and 190 staff members had confirmed positive test results for COVID-19.

All told, 5,147 federal inmates and 603 staff members have recovered from the Coronavirus. But 94 inmates and one staff member 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-Quaida 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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