8th Death Row inmate Died in San Quinten State Prison (SQ)
Another inmate at San Quinten has died amid raging COVID-19 at California’s oldest prison, bringing the death toll to over a dozen. The state prison is becoming a death bed of prisoners including the death row inmates as the pandemic continues to grow inside the walls while the prisoners await their turn.
The astonishing fact that eight people died had been on the death row, as revealed by the state’s corrections department. The latest victim of the novel virus was the convicted murderer John Beames, 67. Beames was on the death row since November 1995 after being found guilty of killing a 15-month old innocent child.
INMATES ARE PART OF A CONFINED SOCIETY, THE MOST VULNERABLE AND FESTERING CONDITIONS FOR VIRUSES TO THRIVE IN!
San Quinten has become a breeding ground of coronavirus with over 860 cases and 15 deaths. It is a matter of concern for the officials and authorities to find a way to cure this. According to the data provided by CDCR, more than half of the prison population has contracted COVID-19 since June.
These are not the exact number of cases as many prisoners have refused to be tested – the reason being they had fear of being placed in quarantine if they tested positive. It is not the population of prisoners who have been tested positive — more than 200 staff members fo San Quinten have also contract the virus.
However, the number of active cases confirmed by CDCR at San Quinten is now on the downswing. From a huge number of 1400, the number has dipped below 1,000 this week. But as a matter of fact, the number of tests of incarcerated people has also slowed down and these numbers may not reflect the true picture.
The situation is a lot worse than what is being projected. Some prisoners have revealed the situation in letters to their families. All the letters have highlighted the same situation and it seems evident that the management has failed to provide safeguards to those serving their sentences.
California’s oldest prison does not have complete infection control measures and the state’s reaction is also quite slow. Just like San Quinten, many other prisons in California are overcrowded and have flaws in their designs that are not enough to cope with any sort of virus, let alone COVID-19. Because of such flaws, the virus gained enormous strength and affected a lot of lives.
The cases have surged drastically and in just 14 days, 132 new infected patients have been reported from the same prison. Currently, more than 860 inmates are reported to have the virus, the bulk of the more than 1,930 prisoners statewide who are infected.
The state is also being reported to have shifted its focus on testing to prioritize the most vulnerable individuals, including those living in prisons. The COVID-19 situation in the United States is getting worse day by day and on Tuesday, California alone has surpassed a huge 409,000 patient mark with more than 7,890 deaths.
Besides the number of deaths due to COVID-19, San Quinten has always been famous because of the number of deaths of prisoners. When California reinstated capital punishment in 1978, 82 condemned inmates have died a natural death, 27 committed suicide, while 13 were executed in California, and 14 have died from other causes. According to the numbers of the department, there are 728 people on California’s death row.
Moreover, in another case, the state officials are also investigating the death of Joseph Martinez, after two inmates attacked him in Calipatria State Prison. The department states that about 3 pm on Friday, correctional officers arrived at the scene where two inmates killed Martinez, 21, on the Facility C general population maximum-security yard. The two suspects have been put in an Administrative Segregation Unit and they are pending their investigation.