Fort Worth

Family Members of Inmates at Federal Prison in Fort Worth Voice Concerns Over COVID-19

More than 400 inmates at the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth have tested positive for the coronavirus. Four have died.

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Sunday afternoon Cynthia Solis and three others stood with signs outside the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth protesting concerns about their loved ones inside the facility.

“I’m standing out here trying to get some information on some of our family members that are incarcerated here and who are sick and we have not heard from them and we feel like they are being treated badly," Solis said.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 445 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus and four have died due to the virus. One staff member has tested positive.

Solis has a 52-year-old uncle who is currently serving time at the facility for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

"Two of our family members are in here for non-violent drug offenses, they have less than a month to come home and they’re going to die here if we just let them sit here and continue in this infested facility," Solis said.

Federal Medical Center Fort Worth serves as a medical treatment center for the federal prison system. It houses inmates who are older or who have underlying health conditions.

Solis said her uncle has diabetes and underlying health issues. She said last week he told her that he tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing symptoms such as loss of smell and taste. She said she hadn't heard from him since.

We just want to make sure that they’re getting the proper medical attention that any other person would get if they were not in here," Solis said. "They’re human just like we are."

The back recreational area of the facility has transformed into a field hospital with tents that are able to house 123 inmates who are sick.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, inmates recovering from the virus and no longer showing symptoms after 14 days in quarantine, will be relocated to this area.

“We have a setup where you have cots and mattresses in there. We have access to faucets, bathrooms and showers that have hot water,” said Gregory Watts, a correctional officer and union leader at the prison whose co-workers helped set up the tent hospital.

Aside from the cluster of cases, the facility has received attention because it's currently the home of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic" in the popular Netflix documentary, "Tiger King."

Solis said her uncle was in the same unit as Maldonado-Passage.

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