U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand urged federal officials in a letter sent this week to provide better safeguards and guidance to federal prisons in order to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. 

The letter sent to U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal and Attorney General William Barr and obtained by Spectrum News on Friday morning, comes as corrections union leaders and criminal justice advocates call for safer conditions in New York state prisons as well. 

Gillibrand in letter writes there should be clear guidance for how federal prison officials can protect both state and inmates from infection.

And at the same Gillibrand is calling on federal prosecutors around the country to reduce the number of people entering federal detention by prioritizing probation, supervised released and pre-trial release for current inmates when appropriate.

“Federal inmates and BOP staff are incredibly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 and immediate steps must be taken to protect these populations from this dangerous disease,” Gillibrand said. 

“I urge the DOJ and BOP to ensure that all federal prison facilities are taking steps to protect public health and reduce the number of inmates and staff potentially spreading coronavirus amongst themselves and the broader public.

”There are reports that inmates and staff at federal prisons in the United States have already tested positive for the virus as it spreads throughout the county. 

Read Gillibrand's letter below: