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Keller introduces inmate movement bill

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, introduced a Pandemic Act to stop inmate movement through the federal prison system, according to a news release.

The bill would halt inmate movement during COVID-19 pandemic. Keller introduced the bill to pause all new detention and end movement of inmates to reduce the chance of spreading coronavirus.

The bill is in response to ongoing concerns about the the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ movement of inmates in its custody during virus emergency mitigation period.

The bureau has continued to move inmates between facilities across the nation despite confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the federal prison system, including one inmate death as a result of the disease.

Keller’s bill was introduced Tuesday with bipartian support and original co-sponsors U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard; U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, and Congressman Mike Boost, R-Illinois.

“I am committed to leaving no stone unturned in the effort to protect our corrections officers and local communities from COVID-19,” Keller said, according to the news release. “That is why I am introducing the act today to halt inmate movement during this national emergency. … While many, including myself, continue to continue to believe the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons can do more to halt inmate movement on their own, Michael Carvajal, bureau director, told me directly that the law must be changed to do so.”

The news release said Keller hopes the legislation can be brought up as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, I will be using every effort to continue working with the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons to get inmate movement stopped as soon as possible,” Keller said, according to the news release.

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