California local jails and prisons continue to have problems controlling the spread of COVID-19 and some observers blame prison and jail transfers. Others blame the low percentage of prison staff having immunizations.
Officials are concerned that the numerous transfer of incarcerated people from jails to prisons to court and back cause much of the spread throughout the system, according to ABC 30 Action News in Fresno.
“We transport and receive numerous busloads of inmates coming from all across the country to our facility on a weekly basis,” said Aaron McGlothin, Union president at Mendota Federal prison.
The impact of low staff shots was noted by Attorney Eric H. Scweitzer of Scweitzer and Davidian. “We know from prior and peridia research that has been done that most of the spread of COVID in a carceral or jail environment occurs because the staff brings into the jail, not because inmates spread it around.”
According to McGlothin, Mendota is like a holding facility with many prisoners moving in and out.
“About a week ago, we received a transport from southern California and quite a few of the inmates, as soon as they came off the bus, they were positive for coronavirus,” McGlothin added.
According to courthouse sources, Action News reported that the number of quarantine inmates from facilities like Fresno County jail and Mendota Prison expanded, adding 400 within one week.
Prison union representatives complain that prisoners aren’t being tested before they arrive at their facilities, ABC 30 in Fresno reported. The warden has requested that transfers be stopped during COVID-19, but prisoners keep piling in by the busload, according to union representatives.