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Inmate at Kilpatrick prison dies after positive COVID-19 test

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

A federal inmate who died Saturday after testing positive for the coronavirus was incarcerated at the same federal prison where former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is serving a 28-year sentence.

Patrick Jones, 49, was serving a 27-year sentence for a drug crime when he became ill Thursday at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, about 185 miles northwest of New Orleans. Kilpatrick, 49, was transferred to the low-security prison from a New Jersey facility in December. The prison holds 980 male inmates.

Kwame Kilpatrick

The COVID-19 outbreak has raised concerns about about the vulnerability of inmates and staff kept in close quarters though its impact on Kilpatrick was unclear Monday. His lawyer Harold Gurewitz has not heard from the former Detroit mayor.

“I just hope he’s doing OK, it’s a really difficult situation for anybody in custody,” Gurewitz told The Detroit News on Monday. “I don’t know exactly what the living arrangements are there or what the circumstances were of the inmate who was infected and died.”

Jones, who had long-term, preexisting medical conditions, complained of a persistent cough Thursday, was evaluated by medical staff and transported to a local hospital, according to federal prison officials. He tested positive for COVID-19 before his condition declined Friday and Jones was placed on a ventilator.

Federal prison officials have suspended visitation at all facilities and increased health screenings of inmates and staff.

The outbreak comes as Kilpatrick supporters push for his release from prison. Last month, Michigan state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo hand-delivered a letter to President Donald Trump from Detroit leaders seeking clemency for the former Detroit mayor.

Kilpatrick was convicted in 2013 on 24 counts of using his positions as mayor and state representative to carry out a decade-long criminal racket involving extortion, bribery, conspiracy and fraud.

He is scheduled to be released in January 2037.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews