Class action lawsuit filed against Lompoc prison

May 18, 2020

The Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed class action lawsuits against the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex and a federal prison in Los Angeles over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Both the Federal Correctional Institute Lompoc, also known as the prison camp, and Terminal Island in San Pedro have two of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country. The United State Penitentiary Lompoc, which is adjacent to the prison camp and part of the same complex, has a smaller outbreak.

More than 900 inmates at the Lompoc prison complex have tested positive for coronavirus. The total cases among inmates and staff at the Lompoc prison complex account for about 65 percent of the coronavirus cases in Santa Barbara County.

At Terminal Island, approximately 700 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus. There have been at least eight combined coronavirus deaths at the Lompoc Prison complex and Terminal Island, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU filed class action suits, along with the Prison Law Office, which provides legal services to prisoners in California, and the Los Angeles law firm Bird Marella. The legal organizations filed the suits on behalf on behalf of inmates at the Lompoc prison complex and Terminal Island.

An ACLU press release states prison officials made the outbreak “unimaginably worse” by failing to follow guidelines and committing a series of blunders and delays. The ACLU argues prison populations must be reduced in order to allow for adequate social distancing and access to medical care.

Inmates at crowded low and medium-security prisons are packed closely together in bunk beds and in dining, medical care and communal areas, the ACLU stated.

“While the rest of California took extraordinary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, the Bureau of Prisons failed to take preventive measures as basic as isolating sick prisoners, allowing social distancing or providing enough soap,” said Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Souther California. “Their deliberate indifference to the risk of disease violates the constitution and puts both those in prison and the surrounding community at risk.”

Naeun Rim, a principal with Bird Marella, released a statement saying Congress gave prisons broad authority to release low risk offenders into home confinement, but officials failed to use that authority.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is a Lompoc inmate, who allegedly ended up in a coma as a result of the outbreak. Yonnedil Torres, 24, suffers from chronic asthma. During the outbreak, Torres developed a fever, diarrhea and and body aches.

Torres requested medical assistance but was ignored for five days. After he collapsed in his cell with acute respiratory shock, Torres was then tested and found to be positive for the virus, according to the ACLU.

Doctors placed Torres in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator. He has severe lung damage, the ACLU says.

The class action lawsuits request that the court order the Lompoc and Terminal Island prisons to release inmates who have vulnerable medical conditions that could lead to serious illness or death from coronavirus infections. The request calls for allowing exceptions for inmates who pose serious flight risks or danger to others.

Additionally, the suits request that prison officials provide six feet or more of social distancing for inmates who remain incarcerated. Likewise, the plaintiffs are seeking that inmates receive, without charge, hand soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, daily showers and daily clean laundry.


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blackjack

Unfortunately the Rona’, which does have devastating effects on a miniscule % of humans, is bringing out the worst in a much higher percentage of us–


Jorge Estrada

They’d better hurry before the ability to borrow disappears. I can read the headlines: Man goes to prison for torturing another person and is compensated two million dollars for getting sick while institutionalized. Only in America…..


shelworth

OK, ACLU (All Criminals Love Us), what about the rest of us, not a peep out of you while all the States are tromping all over the Constitution, not a peep back when ANTIFA was stifling Freedom of Speech with bats and clubs, not a peep when General Flynn was railroaded by the FBI, not a peep when Obama used the IRS to target Conservative groups, remind me, what good are you?


Side_Show_Bob

ACLU has truly become an absolute joke.


MrYan

The ACLU is actually an equal opportunity annoyer.


If they thought the things you cited actually abridged someone rights they’d be most happy to take up their cause. They don’t.


You seem forget they protect the right of Klansmen to be Klansmen. Google it.

They sued Obama too over his immigration policies. Google that as well and you’ll see they don’t pick ideological sides or fights-just constitutional ones.


Could be Mike Flynn just sold out his country first to the Turks, then the Russians, and there isn’t any there for the ACLU to defend.


Mr Flynn plead guilty for lying to the FBI so he (and his son) would not be prosecuted for illegally lobbying foreign countries.


He swore to this more than once too, and was given every opportunity to change his plea before pleading GUILTY to these charges before judge Sullivan.


He was charged with the least offensive crime they could attribute to him. His behavior and actions were loathsome for a mere civilian, and inexcusable for a former general in our military.


Pick a better, defense worthy, poster boy.


mazin

Well said and researched on Flynn!


mazin

I’ve seen you mention antifa twice. So for understanding, having had a discussion with two members of antifa, their belief systems are that the 1% runs the country, oppressing the masses through racism, sexism, wage oppression, etc. In other words, this “elite 1%” is enforcing their control of society through widespread force, fraud, mind control, and generally, any and all means necessary. Further, all media sources and official bodies of knowledge are controlled, think “Fake News”. Therefore, information disputing their assertions is prima facie invalid. In their view, both political parties are controlled by a capitalist elite, with Biden, Trump, Obama, McConnell, basically stick puppets in the same puppet show. Sadly, there are similar groups on the right side of the political spectrum, Proud Boys, neo-Nazis, etc. Both the right and left groups justify their cause as an offset to defend society from the other side, with violence towards each other increasing the membership in each group. I obviously don’t agree.


shelworth

No, ANTIFA believes they can control the free speech of anyone they disagree with by using violence. They are in fact, what they preach against.