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Some Arkansas inmates seek compassionate release and home confinement amid coronavirus outbreak

More than 50 inmates and staff tested positive for COVID-19 at Forrest City Correctional Complex

FORREST CITY, Arkansas —

As a result of Attorney General William Barr's memo, many inmates are hoping to be granted home confinement or compassionate release. Dr. Belay Reddick is one of those people. He's an inmate at the Forrest City Correctional Complex's low security facility.

Reddick has been in prison for 16 years. 

"My tentative release date is October the 5th 2020. I'm just about six months away," said Reddick.

More than 50 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Forrest City Correctional Complex. The outbreak is also spreading fear among inmates with upcoming release dates. 

"It's very scary for me because I'm so close to the door, and I don't want to be a victim to COVID-19," said Reddick.

He is 51-years-old and has pre-existing medical conditions.

"There's no way I can really protect myself. There's no social distancing inside this federal prison," said Reddick. "It's just very chaotic. I feel like it's a matter of time before it gets even worse. I'm just trying to get out of here alive and get a chance to enjoy the rest of my life with my grandkids."

February 16th, Reddick filed a motion for Compassionate Release. 

"I see so many people that leave prison with drug offenses or with other types of offenses that are considered violent. I'm a nonviolent offender. I still remain in prison," said Reddick.

"It is very frustrating because you have men at this prison. Of course, you have women at this prison, federal prisons, who have worked extremely hard to stay conduct-free, who work extremely hard to program through all of the things that they're required to do," explained Reddick.

Sonya Kay is a Compassionate Release advocate and founder of CAAR. She has been in constant contact with Reddick. 

"He's done some compelling things while serving time since 2004 in changing our society, volunteering, and outreach from behind the wall," said Kay. "We put emphasis on who's standing up or sitting down saying the National Anthem during a game, but we're sitting down on inmates and people who are behind bars who are vulnerable to COVID-19. People who are in power, have the power to change those things."

RELATED: More than 50 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Forrest City Federal Correctional Complex

RELATED: 24 inmates, 5 staff at Arkansas prison test positive for COVID-19

Reddick is hoping a change leads to a better future outside those walls.

"I've written two books. I plan to write more books. I've done a lot of motivational speaking and started my own church. I'm looking to become the next mega pastor. I have big big plans and I want to be able to contribute to society," said Reddick. 

He is sure he meets all the qualifications for Compassionate Release. He has not heard back from the courts about his motion but says he has high faith. 

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