Federal prisons across the United States have been placed under temporary lockdown ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced Saturday that it is securing all institutions “in light of current events occurring around the country.”
“There is no specific information that triggered this decision,” the statement said. “This action is precautionary, and is not in response to any significant events occurring inside our facilities.”
Security measures are being stepped up ahead of Inauguration Day, with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies preparing for the possibility of more violence after rioters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, leaving five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
The FBI has also received information indicating “armed protests” are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration on January 20, according to an internal bulletin obtained by CNN.
Shane Fausey, president of the Council of Prison Locals, told CNN in a statement that he supports the national lockdown.
“In consultation with the Council of Prison Locals, and out of an abundance of precaution, I can only applaud the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Prisons for initiating this national lockdown,” he said. “With patience and support of the American people, I am confident the Bureau of Prisons and our outstanding employees will resume normal operations.”
Inmates will be given limited access to telephones and email to remain in contact with their families, the BOP said. The agency added that it hopes to remove the lockdown after a short period of time and that operations will return to normal “as soon as practical.”