HARTFORD, Conn. — A judge has ordered the release of 17 inmates from a federal prison in Connecticut by Saturday, saying government officials have been too slow in moving medically vulnerable prisoners to home confinement or furlough during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shea in Hartford issued the order Thursday night as part of a lawsuit by inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury.
A settlement of the lawsuit in July requires the federal Bureau of Prisons to promptly identify prisoners who are low security risks and have a greater chance of developing serious complications from the virus and release them to home confinement.
The settlement calls for prisoners to be released within 14 days of approval. But lawyers for the inmates say some have been waiting nearly three months. The inmates’ attorneys say they are representing about 450 medically vulnerable prisoners at Danbury, which houses about 1,000 male and female inmates.
The Bureau of Prisons says 30 Danbury inmates and two staff members are infected the coronavirus. Since the pandemic began, one inmate has died.