State Senate Holds Joint Oversight Hearing on COVID-19 in California State Prisons and ICE Transfers

November 19, 2020

Sacramento, Calif. - The Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response and Senate Committee on Public Safety will hold a joint oversight hearing today Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. to further examine the state’s response to COVID-19 in state prisons. This oversight hearing will look into the healthcare operations and precautionary measures that have been implemented inside state prisons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The protocols currently in place for the transfer of state prisoners to immigration detention centers will also be explored. Findings from this hearing will be used to help identify improvements needed within correctional facilities to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks and to help protect the health and safety of incarcerated individuals, individuals in immigration detention centers, employees at these facilities, their families, outside essential service providers and workers, and the community at large.

“It is extremely important that we do everything we can to protect the health and safety of incarcerated individuals and workers in state correctional facilities, as well as federal immigration detention centers,” said Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D- Long Beach). “To date, we have had 82 deaths within our state prisons and thousands of COVID-19 infections recorded amongst workers and incarcerated people alike. If we don’t make sure these facilities are strictly following public health guidance and providing adequate medical care, we risk further outbreaks that will ultimately have devastating impacts to many families. It is my intent and the responsibility of the state legislature to find out where the gaps are in order to pursue the policy changes that will achieve a safer environment to prevent COVID-19 infections and lower the risk of outbreaks that can grow exponentially and affect many people.”

Senator Skinner (D- Berkeley) serves on eight committees and is chair of the Public Safety Committee and the Public Safety Budget Committee. Senator Skinner joins Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, Chair of the Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response for a closer look at COVID-19 in state prisons.

“Severe outbreaks of COVID-19 in our state prisons has been a major issue since the pandemic began. With virus infections again on the rise, this hearing will provide vital information to the Legislature and the public as to the situation within state prison facilities and what additional actions may be needed to address this serious health and safety problem,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “I look forward to hearing from public health experts, advocates for incarcerated individuals, CDCR, and the public. I also look forward to discussing the health and safety implications regarding the ongoing transfer of people from state prisons to ICE detention centers.”