According to reports, a group of inmates in an L.A. detention center tried to get COVID-19, expecting that would be their get-out-of-jail-free card.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said roughly two dozen inmates shared a mask and passed around a cup of water, in the hopes of passing the deadly infection to each other, figuring that would garner them a discharge from jail. “There was some mistaken belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive, there was a way to force our hand and somehow release more inmates out of our jail environment, and that’s not gonna happen,” Villanueva spoke via a simulated press conference.
The males were incarcerated in Castaic, Cal at the Pitchess Detention Center. The all-male facility, off I-5 in Southern California, is a sizable jail complex. The prisoners were nabbed on surveillance footage evidently consuming hot water in the hopes of enhancing their temperature prior to a health check. Seven days later, there was a 60% spike in coronavirus cases in the jail, which until officials watched the tape, they couldn’t explicate. Now, there are 358 prisoners that have tested positive, a rise from 124 in less than fourteen days.
Villanueva added at the debrief: “There’s a reason why these people are behind bars, to begin with, because they violated the norms of society. But to then imperil not only their only safety but the safety of their fellow inmates who did not want to participate in this behavior. It also endangers all the personnel, both the professional staff and the sworn staff.” Over 5,000 prisoners have been freed from the Los Angeles County convict population which in February had a tally of 17,000 inmates.
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