Prison officials plan to transfer 150 inmates out of coronavirus-ridden San Quentin – San Francisco Chronicle

” The department is really worried about the increase in favorable COVID-19 cases in San Quentin, and in order to produce more space to assist in physical distancing, quarantine, and healthcare treatment efforts, CDCR will be transferring some prisoners next week to North Kern State Prison,” representative Dana Simas stated in an email. “Every safety measure is being taken previously and after the transfer.”

Several individuals spoke to The Chronicle on Friday about the prepared proceed the condition their names not be divulged, and in accordance to the papers confidential source policy. If they were named, they consisted of jail workers, incarcerated people and family members who feared retaliation.

” Any time you move prisoners in this environment its a dangerous gamble,” he stated, adding that he hopes jail authorities are more strict with isolating, quarantining and retesting. “They need to gain from the mistake they made when they moved detainees to San Quentin.”

A representative for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed the prepared transfer, but did not specify the number of individuals would be consisted of.

A San Quentin employee said that while North Kern has a lot of void, the coronavirus testing procedure is imperfect, indicating that some prisoners headed to North Kern could be contaminated even if they check unfavorable.

On Friday evening, three sources informed The Chronicle that the West Block was positioned under medical quarantine, meaning either somebody there has actually evaluated favorable or was really likely infected.

” I think that what theyre doing is extraordinarily risky with this disease,” stated Barbara Scott, whose husband is at San Quentin but not slated for transfer. “They cant ensure that somebody who has actually checked negative will not evaluate favorable a couple of days later on. … I believe CDCR should concentrate on fixing whats incorrect in San Quentin right now, rather than transfer prisoners to another jail.”

Some relative stated the moved prisoners will be taken from San Quentins West Block– where, they thought, there have actually been no confirmed cases so far.

Prison officials are planning to bus as lots of as 150 incarcerated people out of coronavirus-ridden San Quentin State Jail to a Bakersfield-area institution as early as Monday, sources said, in a move critics and a legislator stated is similar to the messed up transfer that set off San Quentins outbreak in the very first location.

And Marc Levine, a state Assembly member representing Marin County, said he is worried the pending transfer of San Quentin prisoners to North Kern would be a repeat of the transfer a month ago of prisoners from California Institution for Men in Chino to Corcoran and San Quentin prisons– which he called “most likely the greatest prison health screwup in state history.”

Family members of incarcerated guys said they fear the move by prison officials will increase the spread of the virus, and possibly present the virus into yet another vulnerable neighborhood.

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In a call with Levine this week, Kelso confessed his error, describing the transfer as a “self-inflicted injury,” Levine said.

” I think that what theyre doing is extremely risky with this illness,” stated Barbara Scott, whose partner is at San Quentin however not slated for transfer. … I think CDCR ought to focus on fixing whats incorrect in San Quentin right now, rather than move inmates to another prison.”

Between May 28 and May 30, corrections department officials transferred 66 incarcerated males from the California Institution for Men in Chino to the state jail at Corcoran and 121 others to San Quentin.

” My heart dropped to my stomach,” he stated, speaking on the condition of anonymity for worry of retaliation. “I was like Oh God, a repeat of Chino? Seriously? I was exceptionally shocked and disheartened.”.

” Theres no chance West Block doesnt have infections,” he stated, noting that males in the West Block typically intermingle with those from the North Block, which houses several infected people.

A guy put behind bars at West Block stated he learned he was on “the list” for transfer Friday afternoon.

At the time, the Chino center was the center of the coronavirus break out in state jails. The move was meant to extra clinically vulnerable clients there by moving them to prisons that, until that point, had actually no confirmed cases in their populations.

Simas stated the prisoners are being checked and examined in the past and after the transfer.

The inmate, who is under 40, stated the move will take him far away from his household in the Bay Area and will require him to sit for hours on a packed bus beside dozens of other males who might be infected.

The break outs have actually extended to prison employees. There are now 89 San Quentin staffers who have actually evaluated favorable and 24 at Corcoran. There are 12 employees at North Kern who have tested positive, according to the prison website.

The state corrections department has blamed CCHCS in court documents, stating that CCHCS did not effectively evaluate the men before ordering the transfer. CCHCS has actually stated that the transfer was prepared and organized “collectively.”.

North Kern State Prison presently consists of 2,269 incarcerated individuals, according to state jail information. It is designed to hold more than that– about 2,700 locals– making it among the least congested jails in the states infamously overcrowded system, at 86% of its capability.

” If any of those in the identified associate test favorable prior to the transfer, none will be moved,” she stated. “Once moved, they will be quarantined in currently left real estate systems at North Kern upon their arrival.”.

The transfers touched off mega-outbreaks at both facilities: As of Friday, there were 545 in-custody cases at San Quentin and 128 at Corcoran. There are currently 5 active coronavirus cases amongst North Kerns population.

CCHCS declined to make Kelso available for an interview. Simas said that CCHCS is helping to collaborate the upcoming transfer of San Quentin residents to North Kern.

Assemblyman Levine required the removal of the jail executive who he said licensed the Chino transfer that kicked off the infections at San Quentin and Corcoran: J. Clark Kelso, leader of California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS), the federally appointed company accountable for medical care in California state jails. This complex leadership structure, with oversight split between the state and federal governments, is the tradition of a long-running federal suit over the quality of jail treatment in California.

But prison officials failed to evaluate the moved men for up to a month before they were bused by the dozens and sent out to the other prisons. A handful of the incarcerated people checked favorable instantly upon arrival at both San Quentin and Corcoran.

” All these men have been working in the healthcare facility, in the kitchen area together,” he said. “They stopped that about 2 days back, however thats way too late.”.

Glen Harder, 58, an inmate housed at San Quentins North Block, said the desired transfer is “doubling down on what they did at CIM (in Chino).”.

” I would feel so bad seeing another prison go through what we are going through today,” the worker said.

Social distancing is naturally hard in any prison, and as staff move from location to location in a facility, they might bring the infection with them, contaminating even those in isolated or quarantined locations. In an “Urgent Memo” submitted to a correctional health official in mid-June, a team of University of California health experts warned about the danger of unrestricted personnel movement at San Quentin, for example, calling it “an enormous risk for the spread of COVID-19 in between units.”.

” My heart dropped to my stomach,” he said, speaking on the condition of privacy for fear of retaliation.

The break outs have extended to prison employees. There are 12 workers at North Kern who have checked favorable, according to the jail site.

Upon arrival, officials said, the moved individuals will be single-celled and quarantined for 14 days and evaluated again prior to any additional movements are made. If the move occurs, the authorities said, the San Quentin health club will be become a medical triage center.

” It simply shows the indifference to my life, and it makes me feel decreased the value of as a person,” the male said of the transfer. “Ive been jailed for 10 years, this needs to be the darkest moment of my incarceration.”.

Confidential sources: The Chronicle aims to associate all information we report to credible, reliable, recognizable sources. The Chronicles comprehensive policy governing the use of such sources, consisting of the usage of pseudonyms, is available on

Jail officials stated those bound for Kern will be evaluated within 7 days of the transfer and must be negative. They will likewise be evaluated just before departure, and evaluated once again after showing up at North Kern.

Megan Cassidy and Jason Fagone are San Francisco Chronicle staff authors. Email:, Twitter: @meganrcassidy, @jfagone.