[Pnews] Advocates Demand Action as Largest Women's Prison Experiences COVID-19 Outbreak

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 5 14:10:45 EST 2021


For Immediate Release:

January 5th, 2021


Kelly Savage - kellysav2018 at gmail.com <mailto:kellysav2018 at gmail.com>

Courtney Hanson - courtney at womenprisoners.org 
<mailto:courtney at womenprisoners.org>

Advocates Demand Action as Largest Women's Prison Experiences COVID-19 

CHOWCHILLA, California - There is a life-threatening massive outbreak of 
COVID-19 at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), California’s 
largest women’s prison. In the past two weeks, there have been 500 new 
COVID-19 cases, representing 25% of the population at CCWF. The prison’s 
ineffective protocols and gross negligence have directly fueled the 
spread of the virus. Conditions at CCWF continue to rapidly deteriorate, 
putting hundreds of lives at risk.

Despite having ten months to prepare for a potential outbreak, CCWF 
administration did not have effective plans or protocols in place to 
deal with this surge. After receiving positive COVID-19 test results, 
some cellmates continue to be housed together for hours on end, 
inevitably spreading the virus in crowded cells that house up to eight 
people. The units designated for quarantine are filthy, exacerbating 
breathing problems for those with COVID-19. Quarantine units do not have 
access to much needed disinfectant and cleaning suppliesalthough these 
items are absolutely essential to reduce the spread of the virus.

People with COVID-19 are not being provided consistent access to medical 
care or daily prescribed medications. Anxiety and depression are rapidly 
increasing without the availability of mental health services. People 
are being denied communication with family and other life-saving support 
on the outsidejust at the time when it is most needed. Some women who 
asked for access to the phones and for electricity to use their tablets 
to email their families were hogtied and placed in cages as punishment. 
“Correctional staff have verbally mocked and degraded people who have 
tested positive,” says Kelly Savage of the California Coalition for 
Women Prisoners. “They are implying that incarcerated people are to 
blame for their own illness, despite the outbreak being fueled by 
COVID-19 transmission by staff.”

Advocates at the California Coalition for Women Prisoners continue to 
demand expedited release for all medically high risk people and swift 
action by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 
(CDCR) and CCWF to contain the virus as quickly as possible and save 
lives. People in quarantine need immediate access to health and mental 
health care, access to all means of communication, and an end to 
retaliation for protesting negligent conditions. The full list of 
demands can be found on CCWP’s website. 


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