Up to 8,000 inmates in the state could be eligible for release by the end of August to allow prison facilities to maximize its available space for social distancing, isolation and quarantine efforts to help stop the further spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced July 10.

“We’re glad the Governor is taking action to release more people,” said Jay Jordan, the executive director for Californians for Safety and Justice. “This is absolutely critical for the health and safety of every Californian. Too many people are incarcerated for too long in facilities that spread poor health. Supporting the health and safety of all Californians means releasing more people unnecessarily incarcerated and transforming our justice system.”

Two state prisons are located in Chino—the California Institution for Men at 14901 Central Ave., and the California Institution for Women at 17656 Chino Corona Road.

Nearly 950 inmates at the California Institution for Men have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. Seventeen inmates have died and 838 have recovered from the virus.

As of Monday, July 13, 63 inmates testing positive for the virus are housed at the prison.

State numbers show 167 inmates at the California Institution for Women have tested positive. One inmate died, 162 have recovered and four who have tested positive are currently housed at the prison.

San Quentin State Prison has had the highest number of inmates testing positive for COVID-19 with 1,903, including 695 in the past 14 days. Nine inmates have died from the virus and 410 have recovered, state numbers show.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz said releasing up to 8,000 inmates is aimed at providing safety to inmates and prison staff.

“We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns with both public health and safety,” he said.

Inmates will be tested for COVID-19 within seven days of release and state prison officials plan to make victim notifications as required by law.

The inmates must meet certain criteria before their release, including having 180 days or less on their sentence, not serving time for domestic violence or a violent crime, have no current or prior sentences that require them to register as a sex offender and not have an assessment score that indicates a high risk for violence.

Prison officials said inmates at California Institution for Men, California Institution for Women, San Quentin State Prison, Central California Women’s Facility, California Health Care Facility, California Medical Facility, Folsom State Prison and Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility are eligible if they meet all four criteria of having 365 days or less on their sentence, not serving time for domestic violence or a violent crime, no current or prior sentences that require them to register as a sex offender and not having an assessment indicating they are at high risk for violence.

Some inmates over age 65, and with chronic medical conditions can also be granted release if they meet certain factors.

Smart Justice California Director Anne Irwin said after seeing the deadly effects inside California’s prisons, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to release up to 8.000 inmates is the right decision.

“In taking this important step, the Governor is following the universal advice of public health and medical experts. We applaud the Governor for working on two crucial fronts: getting the most vulnerable people out of harm’s way and stemming the spread of COVID-19 inside prisons and neighboring communities,” Ms. Irwin said.

Inmate numbers

Number of inmates testing positive by facility are, as of Monday, July 13 are: San Quentin State Prison (1,903, 410 recovered, 9 deaths); Chuckawalla State Prison (1,032, 774 recovered, 2 deaths); California Institution for Men (948, 838 recovered, 17 deaths); Avenal State Prison (948, 898 recovered, 3 deaths); California Correctional Facility (397, 203 recovered); California Rehabilitation Center (277, 78 recovered); California Correctional Institution (175, 2 recovered); California Institution for Women (167, 162 recovered, 1 death); California State Prison-Corcoran (161, 140 recovered, 1 death); California State Prison-Los Angeles County (131, 127 recovered); Wasco State Prison (47, 13 recovered); Ironwood State Prison (38, 2 recovered); Centinela State Prison (23, 10 recovered); California Men’s Colony (11, 11 recovered); North Kern State Prison (8, 1 recovered); High Desert State Prison (4, 0 recovered); California State Prison-Sacramento (4, 1 recovered); California Health Care Facility (3, 0 recovered); Salinas State Prison (3, 0 recovered); Calipatria State Prison (2, 0 recovered); California State Prison-Solano (2, 1 recovered); Folsom State Prison (1, 0 recovered); R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility-Rock Mountain (1, 0 recovered); Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (1, 1 recovered); and Sierra Conservation Center (1, 1 recovered).

Staff members

Staff members testing positive (facilities with more than 10 listed): San Quentin State Prison (205, 50 recovered); California Institution for Men (102, 65 recovered); Ironwood State Prison (95, 56 recovered); California Correctional Institution (88, 9 recovered); Avenal State Prison (80, 39 recovered); North Kern State Prison (75, 8 recovered); Centinela State Prison (69, 22 recovered); Chuckawalla State Prison (63, 49 recovered); California State Prison-Los Angeles County (58, 43 recovered); Calipatria State Prison (49, 18 recovered); California Rehabilitation Center (48, 28 recovered); California State Prison-Corcoran (36, 12 recovered); California Health Care Facility (33, 9 recovered); California Institution for Women (23, 20 recovered); Kern Valley State Prison (20, 4 recovered); Wasco State Prison (19, 6 recovered); Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (16, 6 recovered); Sacramento County worksite location (15, 4 recovered); High Desert State Prison (13, 3 recovered); California State Prison-Solano (12, 0 recovered); Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (13, 7 recovered).

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