Older convicts may get home confinement as Barr protects prisons

Chris Strohm

The Justice Department will allow more older, nonviolent federal inmates to be placed in home confinement in order to cope with rising coronavirus cases affecting the federal prison population, Attorney General William Barr said.

Barr told reporters Thursday that he’s directed the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement for elderly prisoners following infections that have caused some federal prisons to be locked down, including the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

“We want to be sure our institutions don’t become petri dishes,” Barr said during a news conference. He estimated there are about 10,000 inmates over 60 years of age in federal prisons.

Barr described numerous steps the Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons have taken to try to protect inmates, staff and correctional officers from coronavirus. Criticism continues to mount that not enough is being done.