Butner inmates drop COVID-19 lawsuit

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A group of inmates at the federal prison in Butner have dropped a lawsuit that said their rights were violated by the Bureau of Prisons COVID-19 response.

Eleven inmates at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner brought the lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons saying their Eighth Amendment rights were violated.

The lawsuit asked the inmates be released from the facility or transferred to another prison to help with social distancing.

“BOP officials filed substantial responses detailing the significant steps BOP and FCC Butner have taken to manage the crisis at FCC Butner,” Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a release..

On June 11, U.S. District Court Judge Louise W. Flanagan denied the inmates’ motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

Flanagan found that BOP made “reasonable efforts toward the goals of preventing unnecessary illness and death and slowing the spread of the virus.”

The inmates filed a stipulation of dismissal on Monday which essentially withdraws their remaining claims.  

“We are gratified that the court, in its ruling denying the inmates’ request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, recognized the efforts that officials at FCC Butner have made to minimize the risk of virus infection to the prisoners while doing their usual excellent job at maintaining order and ensuring the safety of the public in operating these critical facilities,” Higdon said.

BOP reports 23 inmates and one staff member at Butner have died in relation to COVID-19.

As of Thursday, 579 inmates and 12 staff members at Butner have tested positive for the virus.

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