Serving the community since 1922

No virus deaths at state prison

Wasco State Prison has released a total of 195 non-violent inmates as of Tuesday, Aug. 18, and has identified another 237 non-violent inmates who could be released in the future, said Lieutenant Joshua Farley, a prison spokesman. There have not been any deaths attributed to the virus.

The prison also reported that 79 employees tested positive for covid-19, 30 of whom have returned to work.

Farley said that as of Monday, 40 inmates had tested positive for the coronavirus, and that the prison released 29 with the virus. The number of cases resolved was 137 in total.

The prison has been following Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Kern County Health Department guidelines.

Each inmate must wear a mask when moving around the prison. Staff working or performing duties on prison grounds must also wear a face-covering and those who do not comply will be disciplined, the spokesman said.

Employees who are identified as critical workers are provided surgical masks to wear throughout their shift.

Additionally, the prison is maintaining social distancing inside the prison walls and maintaining physical distancing is mandatory while moving around the facility. The incarcerated population is permitted to keep their masks when they’re released.

In an effort to address the pandemic inside the state’s prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has implemented measures to protect all those who live and work in the state prisons, and the community at-large.

In April, CDCR hastened the release of almost 3,500 incarcerated persons serving a sentence for non-violent offenses, who do not have to register as a sex offender, and who had 60 days or less to serve. As part of that effort, Wasco State Prison released 195 non-violent inmates.

In July, CDCR announced an additional series of release actions in an effort to further reduce the population and maximize space for social distancing and quarantine efforts.


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