Dustin Higgs, a Black federal inmate whom the Trump Justice Department plans to kill next month, tested positive for COVID-19 this Thursday. One day later, Corey Johnson, another Black man the government also plans to murder on its way out the door, was also diagnosed with the disease.
Per the Bureau of Prisons, the two are among at least 309 inmates and nearly 30 staff with active COVID cases in the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, where in recent months at least three inmates have died of complications related to the disease. Those figures are a mere fraction of the 31,233 people in federal prisons around the country who have been diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic began. More than 6,000 federal inmates are currently ill with COVID, and 163 others have died.
The government’s failure to protect prisoners from COVID, and the inmate deaths from the disease, should be regarded as a result of the same callous indifference to human life that spurred the Trump administration to resume federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus.