USA: Coronavirus cases surge at San Quentin prison with over 1,000 infected

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San Quentin state prison in California is one of the many prisons in the US experiencing a coronavirus outbreak, with over 1,000 cases among the incarcerated.

The rapid surge in cases is mostly due to a decision by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to transfer incarcerated individuals from the California Institution for Men in Chino, as part of a plan to halt the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of those incarcerated. At the time of the transfer, on May 30, there were no known cases of coronavirus at San Quentin.

More than 900 cases were diagnosed in the last two weeks alone. Now, more than 1,000 of the 3,700 incarcerated onsite have been infected.

According to reports, an incarcerated individual on death row, who was found dead in his cell last week, tested positive for COVID-19.

Jason Jones, who used to be incarcerated in the prison, said on Tuesday that prisons are “breeding grounds for viruses and diseases.”

“No way they social distance. You’re sharing a porta potty, a cell that’s the size of a porta potty with another person. With no windows, so there’s no air that is able to circulate through there,” he explained.

“It’s not like they can have unlimited masks in there or hand sanitisers. I mean, when I was in there we had problems just getting soap,” he added.

Jones also said that the COVID-19 outbreak is “a side effect of a bigger disease.”

“That disease being the fact that people inside, people in the system, many different systems, not just the legal system, have been historically dehumanised by the language and just the narrative that has been placed on them and the labels that have been placed on them.”

Video ID: 20200701-007

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