Judge orders California prisons to set aside space for COVID-19 patients

California
A Department of Corrections officer guards the main entryway leading into San Quentin State Prison on July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

A Department of Corrections officer guards the main entryway leading into San Quentin State Prison on July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

A federal judge overseeing litigation concerning the treatment of California inmates has ordered the state to set aside at least 100 beds at each of its 35 prisons to handle potential coronavirus outbreaks and prevent a repeat of the devastating spread at San Quentin.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar on Wednesday ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to identify space at 30 of its facilities that can be used to isolate prisoners who test positive for the virus.

The state must give inmate lawyers and federal receiver J. Clark Kelso — who was appointed by the court to protect inmates’ medical rights and had previously pushed for more space for prisoners to be isolated — a list of available accommodations by next week. Within two weeks, the remaining five prisons also must identify space.

“No one disputes that setting aside space for isolation and quarantine in the event of an outbreak is necessary,” Tigar said in the order.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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