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As coronavirus bears down, sick Corrine Brown wants out of prison

Brown thinks COVID-19 would kill her.

A former Congresswoman serving a stretch in federal prison filed a petition for early release.

Corrine Brown, housed currently at the federal Coleman prison camp in North Florida, appealed for “compassionate release” Wednesday.

The Democrat, who represented Jacksonville and various other areas tacked onto her district from 1992 to 2016, is using the federal First Step Act, which encouraged the practice, to support her appeal for clemency.

Despite federal law being in her favor, the filing notes that Brown appeal with the Bureau of Prisons, was rejected Monday, and thus her other constructive remedies were “exhausted.”

“Only the BOP would respond to a National Emergency Pandemic in this way,” Brown’s filing asserted.

Brown, 73, suffers from hypertension, sleep apnea, low estrogen, and acid reflux, lives without a thyroid, and has a heart murmur, the filing contends.

“Her condition is compounded by diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, an elevated heart rate, feet deformity, lumbar lateral shift/back problems, knee osteoarthritis, cataracts and a B12 deficiency, which causes weakness and fatigue. Due to the poor ventilation system in the housing units, her allergies have worsened causing swollen eyes and sinus problems,” the filing contends.

These conditions, often ones that lead to terminal decline over time, have caused asthma and dyspnea, shortness of breath that would prove “fatal” if she got COVID-19.

Brown “constantly has water retention, which causes her legs to swell (one is bigger than the other), and the skin to tighten and darken. She has numbness and swelling in her feet due to diabetic neuropathy, and is less aware of injuries and foot ulcers. These ulcers may fail to heal, which can in turn lead to serious infections,” the appeal continues.

Coleman prisoners are petitioning for federal redress, contending that prison officials did not protect them from Legionnaire’s Disease, and won’t protect them from coronavirus.

Brown’s filing shares that pessimism.

“All of these conditions are now experienced under the constant threat of COVID-19 infection, which given Brown’s age and medical conditions put her at great risk of death.”

“The prison camp is not an environment in which inmates and staff can practice the required social isolation directed by the President and Centers for Disease Control, and once COVID-19 enters the camp it will become a source of immediate and irreversible social communication of the virus,” the filing continues.

Brown was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to five years, found guilty on dozens of charges relating to the fraudulent use of money raised for a largely non-performing scholarship fund.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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