Nearly a year after the Covid-19 lockdowns began in California, the state’s Office of the Inspector General — the independent oversight body for the prison system — released a damning report detailing the blunders with how transfers were handled that led to a massive outbreak and dozens of deaths at San Quentin. The review states that executives from each agency ignored health care staff concerns that all the transfers hadn’t recently been tested for the virus. Furthermore, prison staff increased the risk of transmission by performing temperature and symptom screening of at least 55 incarcerated people more than six hours before they boarded the buses.
Other issues revealed in emails show that California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) management pressured the California Institution for Men to rush the transfers, including the medically vulnerable. This along with most people being housed in cells without solid doors, which allowed the virus to flow in and out of the cells freely, and the prison staff working throughout the prison, likely led to transmitting the virus from location to location.
Here are some numbers about the prison outbreak at San Quentin. Visit oig.ca.gov for more info including a time-lapse of the outbreak.
189 incarcerated people transferred in May
2,237 incarcerated people positive by August
277 staff members positive by August
28 deaths at San Quentin
192 deaths statewide in prisons since March
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