Staff at the Terre Haute federal prison, where 13 executions took place after Donald Trump resumed the practice, colluded with one another to avoid public health restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 among prisoners and staff, according to the Associated Press. Employees reportedly often refused to be tested for COVID-19 or to participate in contact tracing if they did test positive. Staff are also said to have told one another to refuse a test at the prison and instead fly home so as to be able to quarantine at their houses for two weeks rather than in Terre Haute. When asked about the practice, the Bureau of Prisons said, “If staff are circumventing this guidance, we are not aware.” The agency also said it could not compel employees to be tested. The Terre Haute employee union told the AP it did not wish to “get into the public fray of this whole issue.” Recent federal executions were documented super-spreader events that led to dozens of new infections, and 70 percent of death row inmates were infected with the coronavirus as staff carried out the final death penalty sentences in January.
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