WASHINGTON — When a federal correction officer geared up for duty recently at a Florida prison complex, he added an N95 mask amid coronavirus fears. He has a sister who had an organ transplant and an elderly mother at home. But a supervisor ordered him to take it off and threatened disciplinary action if he refused. At other federal prisons, though, he would have been told to wear one. Rules on protective gear vary widely from prison to prison. And inmates say there is little guidance on what to do if they experience flu-like symptoms and very little social distancing. Some who have symptoms are not tested. Together, these accounts detail a scattershot policy on COVID-19 safety at the federal Bureau of Prisons amid the growing pandemic. Advocates and even prison guards are calling for reforms to head off a potential outbreak in a prison system plagued for years by violence, misconduct and staffing shortages. This report is based on interviews with nearly two dozen correction officers, inmates, attorneys and advocates, many of whom spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Health officials have been warning for more than a decade about the


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