The Federal Bureau of Prisons is ending the nationwide lockdown of its facilities, gradually easing the restrictions at sites where officials determined there was no longer a threat, the Washington Post reports. The agency said it had decided to “return select facilities to the appropriate modified operational status” as part of a “tiered response” that would lift restrictions elsewhere as officials decided it was safe. An official said 30 facilities would come out of lockdown at first. BOP imposed the nationwide lockdown Jan. 31, after two inmates were killed in a gang fight in Texas and officials feared retaliatory violence in other facilities. The dramatic step prompted anger among inmates and their relatives, who felt it was overly broad.
The bureau has about 134,000 inmates in 122 facilities. A federal official said because inmates affiliated with gangs, including MS-13, were involved in the altercation, and because those gangs are believed to have a presence in the vast majority of other U.S. prisons, authorities felt the extensive restriction was necessary.