Josh Duggar, 34, has been transferred to a federal prison one month after he was sentenced in his child pornography case. The disgraced 19 Kids and Counting star will now serve his 12-year child pornography sentence at FCI Seagoville in Dallas, Texas, which has been widely reported as having problems with violence, inmate overcrowding, and high reports of COVID cases.
On May 25, Josh was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release for his child pornography conviction in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court in Fayetteville in December 2021. Following Josh’s sentence, the court advised he be transferred to either federal facility in Seagoville or Texarkana. On June 24, Josh was transferred out of the Washington County Detention Center where he had been held since his conviction in December and moved to Seagoville where he will serve out the remainder of his sentence.
FCI Seagoville, which had an inmate escape in Dec. 2021, is described as “a low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp and a detention center” on the Bureau of Prisons website. It is home to 1,740 male inmates, with 96 of those located at the institution’s camp. In 2020, it suffered a severe COVID-19 outbreak with over 1,300 prisoners testing positive; an astonishing three out of every four inmates.
In Aug. 2020, CNN featured an article on the facility, calling the prison’s response to the COVID outbreak “chaotic.” The publication reported that at least three inmates had died at that point and one of the inmate’s family members called the facility a “petri dish.” One inmate, Bobby Williams, who was taking medicine for skin cancer that reduces his immune response, said he got pneumonia after testing positive for coronavirus. “I thought I was going to die. I was passing out, I couldn’t breathe,” he recalled for the publication.
That same month, Forbes published a feature on the prison, calling it a “hot bed for COVID-19 in society and in prison.” An inmate described a few of the conditions they experienced. “The inmate housing is entirely communal, i.e., no self-contained rooms (unlike some institutions having in-cell toilets, sinks, showers, etc.) …group interaction continues among the 150 to 300 persons confined in close proximity due to the gross overcrowding in each building which, for years, has seen every non-living area converted to bunk space,” they wrote.
“No social distancing whatsoever is possible here,” the inmate continued. “There is simply no place in these housing units where prisoners can find six feet of distance from anyone else. Since the majority of inmates are housed in rooms containing from 5 to 14 people, the most that staff can practically direct is that inmates ‘sleep head to toe’ (that is, each double bunk should contain one man facing one way while the other orients his body in the reverse).”
In addition to widespread disease, there have been a number of attacks within the prison over the years. In March 2013, “John Hall, 27, an Aryan Brotherhood member and inmate” at the facility, attacked and assaulted a fellow inmate because he believed he was gay, according to a press release by the Department of Justice.
“Hall repeatedly punched, kicked and stomped on the victim’s face with his shod feet, a dangerous weapon, while yelling a homophobic slur,” the release read. “The victim lost consciousness during the assault and suffered multiple lacerations to his face. The victim also sustained a fractured eye socket, lost a tooth, and fractured other teeth.”
A 31-page document online details Seagoville’s Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP) where, back in 2018, it was estimated that 40 percent of inmates housed were sex offenders. The Bureau of Prisons recognizes sex offenders as a vulnerable population within a prison setting and Seagoville’s program “consists of outpatient groups meeting 2-3 times per week for several hours,” which takes 9-12 months to complete. The “moderate-intensity program” allows participants an opportunity to “learn basic skills and concepts to help them understand their past offenses and to reduce risk of future offending.” The program description notes that it is offered to “offenders evaluated to have low to moderate risk of reoffending.”
Josh’s sentence follows his recent request for an acquittal and new trial after he was unanimously found guilty of receipt of and possession of child pornography. We previously reported that one charge against Josh was dropped after an agreement of both the defense and prosecution. It was vacated on count 2 without prejudice and U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks, who was presiding, “noted that possession is a lesser included offense of the receipt of child pornography.”