Coronavirus Concerns Lead to Executive Order for State Prisons and Juvenile Facilities

Mar 30, 2020 | Community, Covid-19

Black Voice News Staff

Sacramento, CA – California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order, Tuesday evening March 24, 2020.  The order mandates that no new commitments to state prisons or juvenile facilities be accepted for the next 30 days.

According to Newsom, the order is designed, “To reduce the risks of COVID-19 in correctional settings.” The intake and/or transfer of inmates and youth into the state’s 35 prisons and four youth correctional facilities is halted. The order further states the 30-day period could be extended if needed.  Those inmates and youth will remain in county custody for the next 30 days. This period can be extended if needed.

“This action builds on the state and local correctional and public safety leaders’ longstanding partnership, to protect public health and safety in the context of the COVID-19 crisis,” the order noted. The emergency authority is granted to the Governor under the Emergency Services Act and to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary under the California Penal Code.

“The State of California is responding in real time and fighting hard to deploy every resource to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Newsom affirmed. He added, “[W]e’re working with our public health experts, corrections system and our local sheriff’s departments to ensure proper protocols and procedures are in place to effectively limit risks in correctional facilities.”

Currently, there are a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in four separate state prisons. Those cases involve five correctional officers and one inmate. In response, the governor’s order requires the Board of Parole Hearings to develop a process to conduct all scheduled parole suitability hearings through videoconferencing starting no later than April 13, 2020, and for the next 60 days. It would facilitate remote participation of those typically in attendance at such hearings. This includes staff, parole board members, victims, families and their representatives, inmates, attorneys, and others.

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