A group of California prison inmates deliberately infected one another with coronavirus during a failed bid to urge out of jail early.
A sudden spike Covid-19 cases was reported at the Pitchess prison in Castaic back in mid-April seemingly without explanation.
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Monday that 21 inmates at the jail successfully infected one another with the virus by passing around a predicament bottle and by breathing into the same mask .
Shocking surveillance footage shot on April 26 inside the day room of the jail shows the men passing around a hot water bottle and taking sips before passing it along to subsequent inmate.
‘With the hot water, they were trying to falsely elevate their temperature readings to get a symptom for Covid-19,’ Villanueva said.
They were also seen sharing the cup of water and were seen crowding around within the same area of the day room rather than practicing social distancing.
The men, Villanueva says, hoped they’d receive sympathy from a judge to permit them to urge released early from the facility and placed on confinement once they tested positive for coronavirus.
‘There was some mistaken belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive, there was how to force our hand and somehow release more inmates out of our jail environment, and that’s not gonna happen,’ Villanueva said at a Monday news conference .
Villanueva says that 21 of the men within the 50-person block contracted the infection, but won’t tend the possibility to last out the virus at their homes as they hoped.
‘Then all of a sudden we saw a spike, a couple of weeks, ago, a really noticeable jump, and that we couldn’t really understand why, when everything appeared to be going the way we wanted to,’ Villanueva said.
Since February LA County’s inmate population has reduced from the most important within the nation with 17,000 prisoners behind bars to a little over 11,700 over the past few months.
‘Had this pandemic swept through while we were sitting on 17,000 inmates, the results would are catastrophic,’ Villanueva said.
So far 357 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19, a 60 percent jump from May 4 when there have been just 123 cases among inmates. 117 of inmates who positive have recovered.
There are currently 4,590 in quarantine – about 40 percent of the jail system’s total population. Now now new inmates are being tested upon entering the jail system.
‘There’s a reason why these people are behind bars to start with, because they violated the norms of society,’ Villanueva said.
‘But to then imperil not only their only safety, but the security of their fellow inmates who didn’t want to participate during this behavior. It also endangers all the personnel, both the professional staff and the sworn staff,’ he added.