Hoping to win early release from custody, inmates at a Los Angeles County jail tried to infect themselves with the coronavirus.
According to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, surveillance footage at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic from last month shows prisons gathered in a common area. They were drinking from the same container and passing around a mask in hopes of raising their temperatures. Whether any of them had the virus was unclear.
“It’s sad to think that someone deliberately tried to expose themselves to COVID-19,” Villanueva said. “Somehow there was some mistaken belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive that there was a way to force our hand and somehow release more inmates out of our jail environment — and that’s not gonna happen,” he also mentioned.
Inmates at a Los Angeles County jail allegedly tried to infect themselves with COVID-19 to secure their release. The LA Sheriff says a group of inmates intentionally drank from the same bottle of hot water and took turns breathing through the same mask https://t.co/qPuPkvPW9B pic.twitter.com/IClJGnM3tE
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 12, 2020
The sheriff said that a nurse took the prisoners’ temperatures. They used hot water to create COVID-19 symptoms. According to the Los Angeles Times, in the video dated April 26th, “an inmate fills a container from the hot water dispenser inside a dorm and walks over to other inmates who appear lined up to see a nurse.”
The next day, nine prisoners became ill. Twenty-one inmates also tested positive later on.
“We had zero positives up until that spike, but that now, also, that has impacted our staffing as well,” Villanueva said.
He added that the inmates denied their act when questioned by investigators. “I think their behavior itself is what convicts them,” Villanueva also said.
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