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Prison transfers were a bad idea

Protecting one group of people against COVID-19 by endangering another makes no sense. Yet that is precisely what the U.S. Bureau of Prisons was doing. It had been transferring inmates out of some prisons and into others.

There are two federal prisons for men in West Virginia, in Gilmer and Preston counties. Federal officials had transferred 124 inmates from another state to the Gilmer County prison. At least one of them tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in West Virginia.

Local and state officials, as well as West Virginia’s delegation in Congress, went ballistic — effectively. Last week, the Bureau of Prisons relented, saying there will be no more transfers into our state.

Good. The strategy was foolish — but it might well have persisted had officials representing West Virginians not protested to keep our state’s residents safe against prison-centered spread of the coronavirus.

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