Sixth inmate dies in Oakdale

OAKDALE – A sixth inmate died Thursday of COVID-19 at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

As of Friday, 39 inmates and 14 staff members at FCI Oakdale I, a low-security facility, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sixty-seven positive cases and six deaths have been reported in Allen Parish, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Inmate George Jeffus, 76, died Thursday at a local hospital after going into respiratory failure on April 3, federal officials said in a news release.

Jeffus was evaluated at the institution and transported to an undisclosed hospital for further treatment and evaluation. While at the hospital, he tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

Federal officials said Jeffus’ condition declined after he was taken to the hospital and he was placed on a ventilator.

Jeffus was removed from the ventilator on April 7 and placed on a high-flow oxygen mask after showing signs of improvement. His condition rapidly declined on April 9.

Jeffus had long-term, per-exiting medical contains which placed him at higher risk for illness associated with the coronavirus, the prison said.

He was serving a 60-month sentence from the Western District of Louisiana for activities receipt of material constitutiing or containing child pornography, possession of child pornography with forfeiture allegations. He had been in custody at the Oakdale facility since April 2017.

Jeffus is the sixth inmate from the Oakdale facility to die since April 2.

Patrick Jones, 49, Nicholas Rodriguez 43,, James Wilson, 57, David Townsend, 66 and Wallace Holley Jr., 56, died earlier this month after experiencing similar symptoms.

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) sent a letter to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) this week urging the agency to take decisive action to address the COVID-19 outbreak at the federal facility Oakdale.

The lawmakers want information on what protection is being provided to inmates, staff and their families as well as the community. Additionally the letter seeks to find out how the Bureau is working with local hospitals and if transfers of new inmates will be halted for the duration of the pandemic.

The ACLU of Louisiana also filed a lawsuit this week against Oakdale Federal Detention Center and the federal Bureau of Prisons over COVID-19 infections and deaths in the prison.

The suit calls for the release of those inmates who are at high risk for serious illness or death from the virus due to age and underlying medical conditions. The complaint lists six specific prisoners that should be released due to preexisting medical conditions.

FCI Oakdale currently houses 971 male offenders.Inmate Death graphic

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