The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a federal judge’s order that required the government to begin moving more than 800 inmates from an Ohio prison who are at risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.

In a brief, unsigned order with no noted dissent, the court gave the Trump administration more time to challenge the judge’s order in the lower courts.

In two separate orders in April and May, a federal judge ordered the Bureau of Prisons to examine the list of 800-plus inmates and determine which could be moved to home confinement, shifted to another prison or given compassionate release.

The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to put the judge’s ruling on hold, arguing that having to move so many prisoners would threaten public safety and could require moving some inmates into higher-security prisons or farther away from their families. The prison has done its best to cope with the pandemic, cleaning common areas every day with disinfectant, providing inmates with face masks and staggering meal times to reduce crowding.

The court last month brushed aside the Justice Department’s first attempt to block the release order but left the door open for the government to try again. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said then that the court should have stopped the release.

Source : NBC News

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