Report: Los Angeles Inmates Freed from Jail Without Being Tested for COVID-19

prison with its bars locked up
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Inmates in Los Angeles County, California, are generally not being tested for the Chinese coronavirus before being released from jail, a county official reveals.

An official with Los Angeles County’s Office of Diversion and Reentry told the Los Angeles Times in a report that many inmates are being released from jail over concerns of the coronavirus spreading but are never administered a coronavirus test.

Even if inmates are given a coronavirus test, they sometimes are not told their results until after they have already been released from jail.

The LA Times reports:

“We slowed our work down in court and shifted our resources to address the number of people released from jail,” said Peter Espinoza, a retired Superior Court judge who now heads the office. Espinoza said they added 211 beds in new housing sites, and found housing for more than 170 inmates in a two-week period. [Emphasis added]

He said inmates in L.A. County generally are not being tested for COVID-19 before their release unless they show symptoms and many service providers now are checking for symptoms when they arrive. [Emphasis added]

The LA Times detailed the case of Frank Cooper who was released from the Riverside County, California Jail on April 24. Cooper was not supposed to be released until November, but officials decided to allow him to serve the rest of his sentence on house arrest.

Cooper told the LA Times he had been quarantined in jail and was administered a coronavirus test by a nurse before being released. He said county officials never got his results to him and so he sought out testing himself.

On May 2, a week after his release from jail, he found out he was positive for coronavirus.

California has led a national prison release effort over fears that the coronavirus will overwhelm jails and prisons.

Last week, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva made public surveillance footage showing inmates purposefully trying to infect themselves with coronavirus so they would be more likely to be released from jail.

As of the beginning of May, California officials have released more than 5,500 inmates into local communities since March 11. On average, nearly 700 inmates are being released every week across the state.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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