Federal prisons mark first virus death

The U.S. federal prison system has seen its first death due to the coronavirus pandemic, as criminal justice reform advocates and public health experts urge officials to consider inmate release to slow down the infection.

49-year-old Patrick Jones was taken to hospital from an Oakdale, La. Security prison on March 19, tested positive for COVID-19, and the next day, according to a statement from the Bureau of, prisons connected to a ventilator. Jones, who suffered from “long-term pre-existing conditions” that were considered risk factors for severe coronavirus disease, died in hospital on Saturday.

Jones served a 30-year sentence for drug trafficking. After a lawsuit in 2007, he was found guilty of possession with the intention of distributing half a kilogram of crack cocaine within 300 meters of a junior college.

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