San Quentin Prisoners Speak on COVID-19 Vaccinations

An informal sample survey of 100 men from all races inside San Quentin State Prison’s West Block revealed that more than 20 percent of prisoners who live there say they will not take a COVID-19 vaccination, or are undecided. The survey revealed that 18 inmates will not take the vaccine and 4 were undecided. The remaining 78 of some of the prison’s most vulnerable inmates have already received one or more COVID-19 vaccinations, which began in January.

San Quentin’s Non-COVID-19 Emergency

When a prisoner’s loved one dies there are no good-byes, just an obituary that arrives in the mail with mom or dad’s name on the title. Prisoners have been dealing with such circumstances for years because there is no other option. The lucky ones may receive a call from the watch commander’s office telling them to “call home.” Everyone knows what that means, but it’s little consolation.

‘Depressed, Frustrated, Paranoid’ – One Woman’s Yearlong Battle with COVID at Central CA Women’s Facility

Casey* has been incarcerated at CDCR for nearly four years, and was recently transferred to the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in February 2020. Her transfer occurred just weeks before COVID-19 began to spread like wildfire across CDCR and other carceral facilities in the country.

Abuse & Neglect at CDCR’s Mule Creek Prison During December’s COVID-19 Outbreak Surfaces

James** is currently incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP), one of CDCR’s 35 facilities. He is a lead reporter for MCSP’s newspaper – Mule Creek Post. He reached out to the Vanguard in a letter to share detailed accounts of how the facility has been handling the pandemic over the last 10 months.

Incarcerated People with Disabilities Face Added Struggles During COVID-19 At CA Medical Facility

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many prisons across the country have implemented extended lockdowns wherein incarcerated people have little to no yard time and get less than one hour to shower or take a phone call. These solitary-confinement-style quarantines are causing severe physical and mental harm.

“Barren Walls and Screams” – Poetry During COVID Outbreak by Incarcerated Mother at CDCR’s Central Women’s Facility

A woman incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility reached out to the Vanguard with moving poetry about her experience with COVID-19 while in custody.

“He went four days without coming out of his cell for a call or shower” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s CSP Solano

*Sam is currently incarcerated at CSP Solano. His fiancé, Jean*, reached out to Vanguard to share his experience with COVID-19 behind bars.

“Correctional Officers tell nurses to call for ambulances, nurses ignore them” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s CA Medical Facility

Olivia Campbell is an advocate for prison reform and has been bringing attention to COVID-related negligence in CDCR. She spoke to the Vanguard about the dire conditions incarcerated men at CA Medical Facility (CMF) are facing as a result of the prison’s mishandling of COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Ridiculed, threatened and dehumanized”- COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s CA Medical Facility

Elizabeth*’s husband is a patient at California Medical Facility (CMF). She is intimately connected with the experiences of patients through her support network, which she shared with the Vanguard in an interview.

“They are playing a deadly game with people’s lives” – COVID-19 Stories From CDCR’s Deuel Vocational Institute

For months, Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) had zero cases of COVID-19 until the first case was reported in November. According to Jenny*, whose husband is incarcerated at DVI, the outbreak started at L3, which is an honor dorm that housed 61 people.

“Guards laughed at incarcerated people for wearing masks” – COVID-19 Stories From CDCR’s CSP Solano

Michelle*spoke with the Vanguard regarding her partner Robert*’s experience with COVID-19 in CA State Prison, Solano.

“What little control they had is gone” – Mental Health Concerns Soar Amid Prison Covid-19 Restrictions

In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP), Diane* spoke with the Vanguard about her concerns regarding the physical, medical, and emotional issues her partner is experiencing.

“Officials are mixing sick patients with those who are not tested” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s CSP Solano

Bart tested negative four times at California State Prison, Solano (SOL) before testing positive in December. He was subsequently placed in isolation.

‘Have to choose between phone calls and showering’ – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s Mule Creek State Prison

Brian* was incarcerated at the Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy, but was recently transferred to Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) in Ione during a massive COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

Challenges with Early-Release Programs; Poor Outbreak Management – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s High Desert State Prison

Mark* and Lewis* are currently incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility (SATF) respectively.

‘Will government officials be charged with murder?’ – COVID-19 Stories from High Desert State Prison

Jamal* is incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) in Susanville, CA. His mother shared his story with the Vanguard regarding CDCR’s negligence with handing COVID-19.

“Guards write Rule Violations to delay early-releases for disobeying direct orders” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s San Quentin

Orlando Smith is a thoughtful artist and reporter incarcerated at San Quentin. The Vanguard has had the privilege of speaking with Smith on multiple occasions regarding the prison’s conditions during the pandemic.

“CDCR is committing reckless endangerment. Moving people without test results” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s SATF

This account is part 4 of the Vanguard’s series on COVID-19 stories from CDCR. Click here for part 3 and here for part 2. In April, Jim* began keeping a daily log of the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF) on his tablet.

“COVID-19 could only have reached death row via staff. Many of us believe this was intentional.” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s San Quentin

This account is part 3 of the Vanguard’s series on COVID-19 stories from CDCR. Click here for part 2 and here for part 1. “We are all painted with the same brush”

“My dinner was two spoonfuls of rice, beans, peas, carrots and casserole” – COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s Valley State Prison

Blake* is incarcerated at Valley State Prison (VSP) in Chowchilla. The Vanguard received a copy of a letter he wrote to his loved ones detailing his experience with COVID-19 .

“Guards are trying to kill prisoners”- COVID-19 Stories from CDCR’s High Desert State Prison

Asher* is currently incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) in Susanville, CA. In early November, he called his mother Mary* with chilling news about the devastating spread of COVID-19 at the facility.

One Couple’s Fight against ‘Ludicrous’ COVID-19 Policies in a California Prison

Over the past 18 months, the prison’s COVID-19 policies – from sudden lockdowns to physical contact moratoriums during visitation – have strained Behnke and Engle’s relationship. The couple reached out to the Covid In-Custody Project expressing frustration at the CDCR’s COVID-19 policies.

One Man’s ‘COVID-19 Reality’ at California State Prison in Lancaster, California

Baker’s experiences in the past two years have been the most harrowing of his entire 22-year incarceration. He has witnessed 11 deaths in CSP-LAC during the pandemic, he claims, which has caused him to experience post traumatic stress disorder. In the past week alone, Baker has seen two elderly incarcerated individuals carried out on a stretcher.

‘The O. Smith Perspective:’ Incarcerated Artist Orlando Smith’s Stunning Solo Exhibition of Social and Political Commentary

52-year-old Orlando Smith lives in a shoebox; well, that’s what he calls his shared cell in San Quentin State Prison, measuring only 4 feet by 9 feet. As an incarcerated artist, or as Smith puts it, an “artist who happens to be incarcerated,” he has the task of transforming his “shoebox” into a workspace.

Study finds substantial undetected COVID-19 infections, inadequate testing among jail populations

A recent Stanford University study published in Frontiers in June 2022 showed that the infection rate behind bars may significantly exceed the reported number of cases. The researchers used antibody testing to identify undetected infections among both staff and incarcerated people in local jails in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Distrust and Misinformation: Why Incarcerated People Are Wary of the COVID Vaccine

“I still have not received the ‘jab’ [COVID-19 vaccine] and have no plan to as long as I’m incarcerated,” writes Orlando Smith, who is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, in a correspondence with the Covid In-Custody Project in late April this year. “Why, you ask?” Smith continues. “I don’t trust these people [officials] at all. My health is NOT their concern."

Analyzing CDCR Vaccination Rates: Urban vs. Rural, CA vs. US & Prison Staff vs. County

A detailed report comparing vaccination rates in the community, incarcerated populations and prison staff. Our analysis finds that on average, prison staff are vaccinated at much lower rates than the prison population. The difference is exacerabted in rural areas. In prisons located in urban counties, 52% of staff and 72% of population are fully vaccinated, while only 36% of staff and 74% of population are fully vaccinated in prisons located in rural counties.

Looking Back at CDCR’s COVID-19 Early Release Efforts– Was It Adequate?

99.1 percent of highly vulnerable individuals in CDCR custody were left seeking refuge from overcrowded conditions that could have turned their time in prison into a death sentence. Chancellor Wade is one of these high risk individuals who applied for early release while at Folsom State Prison (FSP) to no avail. He has a COVID risk score of 4 out of 5, and meets all the eligibility criteria under program 4. Wade says that the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions urgently necessitated the release of more individuals like himself.

Incarcerated Artist, Orlando Smith, Shares Illustrations on Police Brutality

Orlando Smith is a talented illustrated journalist, graphic artist and comic book creator. He has been incarcerated for 23 years under the draconian Three Strikes Law for each of the eight counts of robbery against him. Smith’s sentence is 250 years. Despite a hopeless sentence, Smith has spent time generating hope in his and others’ lives. He has honed his craft as an illustrated journalist and created over 65 graphic novels and illustrated, written and created 748 characters. As a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Smith’s work has been published in the, Davis Vanguard and the Columbia Journalism Review.

A Comprehensive Review of CDCR Staff Behavior Regarding Vaccinations, Testing, Masking & Social Distancing

Following several outbreaks at the onset of the pandemic and recent vaccine rollouts for both staff and incarcerated persons, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) facilities are experiencing record low COVID-19 case numbers (1).

Incarcerated Artist, Orlando Smith, Illustrates Life at San Quentin During Pandemic

Orlando Smith is a talented illustrated journalist, graphic artist and comic book creator. He has been incarcerated for 23 years under the draconian Three Strikes Law for each of the eight counts of robbery against him. Smith’s sentence is 250 years.

91 Percent of CDCR Deaths Were Low-Risk to Public Safety; 70 Percent Were People of Color

As of Jan 28, 2021, there have been 192 deaths across California’s 35 state prisons. Deaths have surged in the past month– increasing by over 30 percent. CDCR reported 63 deaths in January alone, whereas 64 were recorded between June to October of last year.

Uncertain Future for Indeterminately Sentenced “Lifers” and COVID-19 High-Risk Patients; Major Failures in CDCR’s Early-Release Programs

Due to the pandemic, jails and prisons across California have struggled with overcrowding, making social distancing challenging. As a result, CDCR implemented a range of early-release programs and expanded credit opportunities to reduce prison populations.

ICE Continues to Fight Against Oversight After Covid-19 Outbreaks At Detention Centers

During the week of November 16 -20, 2020, the Vanguard’s San Francisco Court Watch reported on the U.S. District Court hearings regarding the Mesa Verde ICE detention center.

Vanguard Investigation: CDCR Sends People on a Wild Goose Chase for Release Dates, PPC or Early Release Eligibility

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the United States since early March. While Americans scrambled to stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizers, incarcerated people confined to their cells, tucked away from the rest of society wondered, “What happens to us?”

Incarcerated Artist Chronicles Life in San Quentin Prison During Pandemic

For the past 21 years, Orlando Smith has sat in his prison cell, filling his 250-year-long sentence with art as an illustrative journalist and comic book artist. This year, he got to illustrate the prison’s deadliest villain yet –– San Quentin’s COVID-19 outbreak.

California jails failed to monitor or report COVID data. Some didn’t even bother

Unfortunately, sheriff’s offices in California have not been transparent about COVID outbreaks or deaths in custody. While the state’s prison system, the Department of Corrections, and a handful of sheriff’s offices provide online updates about outbreaks in custody, most local departments do not.

California jails are slow to share COVID-19 infection and vaccination data

By submitting California Public Records Act requests to every county’s Sheriff’s Departments, we have identified at least 42,000 COVID-19 cases among those incarcerated in county jails and another 18,000 cases among employees of sheriff’s departments

With COVID surges, there’s no return to normalcy in jails and prisons

High infection rates mean that incarcerated people are placed in quarantine or isolation for extended periods of time, and in-person visits or rehabilitative programs are suspended.

COVID-19 vaccination data in California jails: Lessons from an imperfect model

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates, organizers, and scholars have raised concerns about the poor quality of data reported by carceral systems across the country. Data from local county jail systems have been especially sparse because these systems typically lack robust, standardized mechanisms for data collection and reporting.

In California jails, sheriff's have been left in charge of COVID mitigation. The results have been disastrous.

Throughout the pandemic, health officials have taken a backseat in addressing the COVID pandemic in county jails. Rather than intervening with their subject expertise and relying on legal authorities, both local and state health departments have generally instead left the management of the historic public health crisis to local sheriffs.

Bay Area counties lead COVID mitigation efforts in jails

Santa Clara and San Francisco counties made COVID-19 vaccines and boosters mandatory for correctional officers — filling a critical gap in the state health department’s vaccination effort.

Sacramento County courts take hands-off approach to jail population reduction despite massive COVID outbreaks

Since March 2020, the Sacramento County’s Public Defender’s Office has continuously sought a consolidated hearing to examine the jail conditions and to make appropriate orders, such as population reduction. However, the county’s Superior Court has refused to hold such a hearing.

Sac Sheriff refuses to disclose COVID vaccination rate for staff citing “medical privacy” reasons

The Sacramento Sheriff's Office has refused to provide data on the staff vaccination rate and compliance with the state public health department's health orders. Our most recent public records request for this information was denied with Sheriff Scott Jones' office responding that the disclosure of such data to the public would violate their employees' medical privacy rights

Omicron Hits Sac Jails the Hardest; Sheriff’s Lax COVID Practices, Overpopulation and Low Vaccinations Are to Blame

This month, positive cases have quadrupled, affecting almost 20% of roughly 3,300 people incarcerated across both facilities. With a jail vaccination rate of just 30%, a rising population, and little to no information on testing and vaccinations for correctional staff, it is unclear how the county’s jail system will tackle the pandemic’s risk in the coming months.

Sacramento sheriff is hiding information about jail COVID outbreaks from the public

Crowding, poor medical care and aging and medically vulnerable populations have made prisons and jails a breeding ground for COVID. Over 56,000 COVID cases and 246 deaths have been reported in California’s prison system alone. Unfortunately, however, little data is available on county jails, including Sacramento’s, making the pandemic’s impact on roughly 80,000 incarcerated people close to invisible.

Looking Back at COVID in Sac County Jails – How Staff Behavior Failed to Meet Official Protocol

In Sacramento County, an analysis of court expert reports, data and incarcerated narratives from the Main Jail and Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center suggest that the jail administration and staff have failed to comply with the official COVID-19 mitigation protocol

Sacramento County Jails’ Negligence During Its Largest COVID-19 Outbreak Surfaces – No Masking & Solitary-Style Quarantines

On January 13, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office released a statement addressing the largest COVID-19 outbreak at the Main Jail and Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. “This is the first outbreak between and within the jails. Once introduced to the jail, it spreads rapidly which we have seen,” it read.

Sacramento Jails Cover-up COVID-19 Data And Violate Public Information Doctrine

Sacramento County acted on a policy of obfuscation and opacity when it came to releasing information about COVID-19 in the county’s two jails, defying a basic tenet of the democratic social contract and a guiding principle of California’s Public Records Act.

No Access to Attorney Visits or Video Hearings for Santa Rita Jail Residents, Says Alameda Public Defender’s Office

Peter Jensen, Asst. Director of the Public Defenders Office, stated that the lack of contact during the pre-trial period means that attorneys lose housing, medical, and psychiatric information about the detainee. Attorneys also lose access to critical defense evidence. “Access to justice is denied when we don’t follow the law regarding pre-trial confinement,” he said.

Santa Clara Mandates Vaccinations for Sheriff’s Office, Alameda Refuses to Follow Suit

In Santa Clara County, the public health officer mandated vaccinations and boosters for sheriff’s office employees in December of last year. 90% of the sheriff’s office are fully vaccinated — 20% more than Alameda’s sheriff’s office. But Kimi Watkins-Tartt, the Alameda County public health department’s director, has shown little inclination to follow Santa Clara County’s footsteps on this matter.

No court access for Santa Rita Jail’s quarantined residents; COVID outbreak worsens by the day

Kath Ryals, a public defender in Alameda County stated, “It is very difficult to get a date in the bail court to have a motion heard. Transportation staff at SRJ is limited and with quarantine, many inmates are not being brought to Dept. 13 for those motions. Dept. 13 has no video hookup to SRJ so if the inmate is not brought, the motion won’t be heard. There is a significant backup.”

Santa Rita Jail is experiencing its worst outbreak so far. Here’s what we know about vaccinations for the population and staff

There have been multiple surges of COVID-19 in Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail (SRJ) over the course of the pandemic, but the current outbreak is the largest one the facility has seen. On Friday, over 177 active cases were reported in the jail’s population of over 2,000 people. Another 50 cases were reported among the jail’s staff members. According to the facility’s outbreak control plan, 197 incarcerated people have medical conditions that make them vulnerable to developing complications associated with the virus.

CDPH’s Mandatory Testing Order for Unvaccinated Jail Staff to Cost $70k Per Month at Santa Rita Jail

If the vaccination rate does not improve, the cost of implementing the new weekly testing requirement may be double, i.e. anywhere between $60,000 to $70,000 per month. Such a cost could be avoided if the majority of staff were vaccinated voluntarily or through a mandate.

Everything to Know about Vaccinations for Santa Rita Jail’s Staff and Population

A detailed overview of vaccination progress at Santa Rita Jail from the beginning the rollout to the present day. With a vaccination rate of 25% for the population and 10% for jail staff, recent data on COVID-19 cases and housing unit quarantines suggest that the jail is far from being out of the woods with the pandemic.

How Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail Staff Violated Public Health’s Mandatory Testing Order

While the order stands out as one of few testing requirements for county jail staff in California, its implementation has been far from sufficient. By not reaching a 100 percent compliance rate and failing to test individuals in strict 14-day intervals, the Sheriff’s Office has unequivocally violated the order and undermined public health guidance.

Multiple COVID-19 Cases Emerge in Santa Rita Jail After Months of Decline– Only 24 Percent of Population is Fully Vaccinated

With test positivity increasing in the community due to the Delta Variant of COVID-19, cases have increased at Santa Rita Jail. 11 cases were identified during booking or in custody during the entire month of May and June. In contrast, this month, 6 new cases were reported in the past week alone.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Refuses To Survey Staff To Ascertain Vaccination Status

When the Covid In-Custody Project pressed ACSO representatives on conducting a survey to ascertain the vaccination status of ACSO SRJ staff, Captain Luckett-Fahimi stated that ACSO refuses to do so since “some staff have valid exemptions from getting vaccinated, religious exceptions, or have not gotten the vaccine yet for personal reasons.”

Only 35 Percent of Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Is Fully Vaccinated According to CAIR’s Database

Using the California Immunization Registry (CAIR), the Alameda County Public Health Dept. matched 875 out of 1678 total ACSO employees with records of individuals who received at least one dose. 617 of them are fully vaccinated. The Public Health Dept. ran the search against 9 Bay Area counties, including Yolo, San Joaquin, Sacramento and Stanislaus. Any employee who was vaccinated outside of these select counties was not counted. To improve the search, names such as “Michael” and “Mike” were considered identical.

“I don’t trust it” — Survey Shows Vaccine Hesitancy at 50 Percent in Santa Rita Jail

During the month of May, COVID-19 cases in Santa Rita Jail have remained low. Nonetheless, new cases continue to emerge at intake or in custody and the jail population is on an upward trajectory, meaning that the threat of infection still persists.

Santa Rita Jail Staff Compliance with Mandatory Testing Order Worsens; Independent Consultant Urges Immediate Action on Rising Population

Davis Vanguard’s bi-weekly update on Santa Rita Jail’s COVID-19 crisis. Click here for previous updates. During the months of April and May, Santa Rita Jail reported a handful of new COVID-19 cases among the incarcerated population and staff.

“Have a seizure then we’ll talk” – Santa Rita Jail’s Deputies, Medical Staff Neglect Patients’ Needs Argue Attorneys

In 2018, attorneys from Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP filed a class-action lawsuit, Babu v. Ahern, on behalf of incarcerated people with serious mental illnesses in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ).

DOJ Investigation Shows Alameda County & Santa Rita Jail Violate ADA, Eighth & Fourteenth Amendment Rights

Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail (SRJ) is infamous for having the highest in-custody death rate across all county jails in Northern California. Since 2014, 50 individuals have died while in SRJ’s custody.

Guest Commentary: Another Suicide at Santa Rita Jail Sparks Cry for Sheriff Oversight in Alameda County

Bob Britton, an activist with the Interfaith Coalition for Justice in Our Jails part of Faith in Action East Bay and a member of the County Justice Involved Mental Health Task Force. He is a retired union executive who previously represented the Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Public Defender Attorneys.

Concerns Rise as Vaccine Acceptance Drops to 34 Percent at Santa Rita Jail

COVID-19 cases at Santa Rita Jail (SRJ) have been steadily rising over the past two weeks. Currently, there are five positive cases at SRJ, all of which are asymptomatic.

Alameda Public Health Dept. Issues Mandatory Staff Testing Order to Santa Rita Jail

Santa Rita Jail has reported 109 total COVID-19 cases among staff/contractors since the pandemic emerged. All of them have recovered, leaving no current cases.

Vaccine Acceptance Rate Plummets – 5 Weekly Highlights from Santa Rita Jail’s COVID Crisis

While COVID-19 cases at Santa Rita Jail have dwindled over the last two weeks, the virus continues to threaten the health of those in custody since the population size is on a steep upward trajectory and reached an all-time high this month.

Alameda County Sheriff Claims “Hundreds of Staff Tested at Santa Rita Jail,” Data Shows Only 32 Percent Accepted

COVID-19 cases at Santa Rita Jail have been relatively low over the past two weeks, showing a steady decline to the present day. While cases have been low, so have weekly testing rates.

At Santa Rita Jail, 40 Percent of Medical Staff Denied Vaccines, 30 Percent of Staff Underwent Testing in January

COVID-19 cases have dropped significantly at Santa Rita Jail over the last two weeks. Multiple recoveries were reported on a daily basis, leaving 14 active cases in custody of Feb. 7.

“Are we going to die?” – Asks Homeless Man Incarcerated for Probation Violation Amidst Outbreak at Santa Rita Jail

An outbreak at Santa Rita Jail that started with 50 COVID-19 cases before Christmas Eve, has spilled over into 2021. As of Jan. 26, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office reports 76 active cases in the jail. Every dorm has been quarantined as a result of the ongoing outbreak.

Santa Rita Jail’s COVID-19 Outbreak Triggered by Surge in Staff Cases Says Wellpath Representative

Santa Rita Jail plunged into a massive outbreak during December, reporting over 100 positive cases in custody on Dec. 30. It subsided during the early days of January, however, another surge in cases emerged on Jan. 20. Cases continue to rise and multiple housing units are quarantined.

Massive COVID-19 Outbreak in Santa Rita Jail; New On-Site Program for Staff Testing – Highlights from SRJ’s COVID-19 Crisis

Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) reported a massive outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ) on Dec. 23 — right before the Christmas holiday.

Santa Rita Jail Refuses to Discipline Staff for Not Enforcing Social Distancing & Mask-Wearing

Over the span of two weeks and the Thanksgiving holiday, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) reported six positive cases in the incarcerated population and nine staff/contractor cases.

Whistleblower from Santa Rita Jail Highlights Improper Testing and False Testing Counts

Over the span of two weeks, there was only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ). It was first reported on Nov. 7 and resolved in nine days. As of Nov. 16, there have been zero cases in custody.

Alameda Public Health Dept. Made One Visit to Santa Rita Jail Since April Despite Multiple COVID-19 Outbreaks and Harrowing Jail Conditions

For the last 2 months, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has been holding weekly public conference calls to provide an interface for community members to raise concerns regarding COVID-19 in Santa Rita Jail.

What Does Ethical COVID-19 Medical Isolation Look Like? AMEND @ UCSF Highlights Necessary Reforms to Solitary-Confinement-Style Quarantines

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, prisons and jails across California have served as petri dishes for the disease. The CDC advises medical isolation/quarantine for those who test positive to contain the spread of the virus.

“My first quarantine cell was covered in feces, vomit and blood. Deputies did not care” – Narratives from Santa Rita Jail Detail Horrifying Conditions During Pandemic

On Sep. 8, John (name changed for anonymity) started feeling unwell. Four days later, on Sep. 12, his symptoms worsened and he reported his condition to a nurse.

Santa Rita Jail Does Not Administer or Recommend COVID-19 Testing Prior to Quarantine Release

Approximately a week after the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office reported its third COVID-19 outbreak at Santa Rita Jail, 16 of the 18 active cases were reportedly resolved in a day.

Santa Rita Jail Admits Population Control Is Not a Priority Despite Three COVID-19 Outbreaks and Numerous Complaints

One week after the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office reported zero cases of COVID-19 at Santa Rita Jail, an outbreak with 17 active cases emerged. This led to serial testing and multiple housing unit quarantines.

Santa Rita Jail Population Peaks After Labor Day Weekend; Officials Report Only One COVID-19 Case in Custody

Last week, Santa Rita Jail saw a population spike over Labor Day Weekend, raising the population to the highest it has been since Apr. 10 when the jail began releasing individuals to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Four Testimonies From Santa Rita Jail Recount Horrible Conditions During COVID-19 – Rejected Requests for Testing, No Masks or Cleaning Supplies, Solitary-Confinement-Style Quarantines

Since May, Davis Vanguard has led an ongoing investigation into different county jail responses to COVID-19. In Alameda County, many currently and formerly incarcerated people

Santa Rita Jail Population Soars and Testing Remains Minimal

Eight new cases have appeared in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ) since last Sunday, although there have been no new cases since Wednesday.

Outbreak in Santa Rita Jail – 101 Active Cases in 2 Days

As of July 18, there are 101 active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Rita Jail (SRJ), more than double the total number of recorded cases prior to this week. According Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly, the outbreak is located in HU 25 and 22, where the jail saw a spike in cases on Wednesday night and Friday respectively. HU 25 houses those who work in the kitchen and laundry.

Testimony Suggests Santa Rita Jail Staff Manipulate Testing; Jail Staff Allowed to Return While Asymptomatic

In testimony published on May 22, Angelo Valdez, an individual who was formerly incarcerated in Santa Rita Jail, claimed that staff had manipulated the testing procedure to keep case numbers down. According to Valdez, after he tested positive for they waited until he had completed his 14-day quarantine, then quarantined and tested the pod he had been living in.

SF’s Jails Have A COVID Data Transparency Problem, Sheriff and Public Health Dept. Must Step Up

San Francisco’s jails have reported the lowest COVID-19 infection rate and population size during the pandemic of all county jails in the Bay Area. While the public health department and the sheriff’s office have made strides in their pandemic response, there are deficiencies in their actions, particularly regarding data transparency that must be addressed.

S.F.’s jails are leading California in COVID prevention. How are they doing it? No one knows

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office and city Department of Public Health’s effort to maintain an incredibly low infection rate is commendable. Unfortunately, policymakers and the public are in the dark about how they have achieved such success — because the city is not sharing the data necessary to make that assessment. That needs to change.

Judge Upholds Gag Order against SF Bay View Editor Who Exposed COVID-19 Outbreak at Taylor Street Halfway House

Malik Washington, the San Francisco Bay View editor who garnered much attention in the Bay Area and beyond for exposing a COVID-19 outbreak at Taylor Street Halfway House, has been forced to remain silent while facing the threat of disciplinary sanctions and potential re-incarceration by the GEO Group and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Private Prison Giant GEO Neglects COVID-19 Outbreaks at San Francisco Halfway House

While the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to devastate the country and claim the lives of many, it has also exposed appalling shortcomings in the penitentiary system. It is apparent that jails and prisons cannot handle the combination of mass incarceration and a deadly virus.

Buffin Judgment Helps Reduce SF County Jail Populations During Pandemic

Since the San Francisco County jail began testing arrestees at Jail #1, also known as the Intake & Release Center, 23 people have tested positive for the virus. All of them have been asymptomatic.

Low Vaccine Acceptance, No Masking, Medical Neglect– Staff Behavior During COVID in Santa Clara County Jails

With a total incarcerated population of 2,400 people, Santa Clara County’s Main Jail and Elmwood Correctional Complex are among 100 correctional systems nationwide with over 1,000 people in custody. During the pandemic, the deadliness of the virus has been exacerbated by the jails’ population density and the poor implementation of masking, sanitation and social distancing protocols.

Lawyers Urge Santa Clara County BOS & Sheriff to Address Inhumane Conditions During COVID-19 At County Jails

The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley (LFSV) presented a letter to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on March 17, criticizing the Santa Clara County Main Jail and Elmwood Correctional Facility for their failure to protect incarcerated people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Less Than 50 Percent of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office Staff Accepted Vaccinations; COVID-19 Fears Heighten for Incarcerated People

Santa Clara County’s Main Jail and Elmwood Correctional Complex have faced numerous devastating COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic emerged. Under the California Public Health Dept.’s vaccine distribution framework, incarcerated people and staff have been given priority amongst other vulnerable groups since they live or work in congregated settings.

COVID-19 Patients Made to Clean Feces, Vomit, Urine in Quarantine Cells At Santa Clara Main Jail During January Outbreak

Santa Clara County Jails reported a second major COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of January 2021, yet again highlighting the severity of the pandemic behind bars. To date, the highest number of positive cases on a single-day is 127 within a population of 2212 people, reported on January 11.

COVID-19 Halts Valuable Re-Entry Programs At Santa Clara Jails Impacting Population’s Education Goals

Re-entry and rehabilitative programs assist incarcerated people in successfully transitioning into society after a period of incarceration to mitigate recidivism. These programs help individuals regain a sense of hope for a better future.

“The Whole Jail Will Be Infected Eventually” — Incarcerated Voices from Elmwood CC Highlight Inhumane Conditions During COVID-19

Seven incarcerated people inside Elmwood Correctional Complex in Milpitas, CA, Santa Clara County, expose the unsafe, unsanitary conditions inside the jail and blatant negligence from the jail’s correctional officers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Fresno County Jail Neglected COVID-19 Data Reporting Throughout the Pandemic

Access to regular data on cases, testing and now vaccinations has been a struggle throughout the pandemic, unlike other coutnies that publish data on their websites. Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Tony Botti was blunt when explaining why data was not forthcoming. “It stirs up hysteria when things become so data driven,” wrote Botti in a July 21 memo.

Looking Back at COVID-19 in Fresno County Jail – 40-Day Quarantines, Medical Neglect, No Programming

In February of 2021, the Fresno County Jail made national headlines. With 3,985 total COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the New York Times found that the jail had one of the highest infection numbers of any correctional facility in the nation. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the facility, has not been forthright on conditions in custody. Infection numbers are rarely reported, and official accounts of the measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the facility are vague at best. However, for those within the facility the mishandling of the pandemic in the jail is all too clear.

Multiple Medical Help Requests for COVID-19 Symptoms Ignored at Fresno County Jail

Vanguard reporter Jannat Alam spoke with an individual incarcerated in the Fresno County Jail — the hardest hit correctional facility in the United States with a total of 3,985 total confirmed positive cases, most of which were contracted during the initial outbreak in June 2020.