First coronavirus death reported at Lompoc prison camp

May 7, 2020

A 75-year-old prison camp inmate died Wednesday, marking the first coronavirus death at the minimum-security facility in Lompoc that is located adjacent to the federal penitentiary.

On April 8, Jimmie Lee Houston informed health services staff at the prison camp, formally known as the Federal Correctional Institute, that he was ill. Medical staff evaluated Houston and found he had a low oxygen saturation level, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Houston, who had long-term preexisting conditions, was then transported to a local hospital. While at the hospital, he tested positive for the coronavirus.

On April 11, Houston’s condition declined and he was placed on a ventilator. He died nearly a month later.

Houston was serving a 120-month sentence for possessing of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number and criminal forfeiture. He was sentenced in Alaska and had been serving time at the Lompoc prison camp since Feb. 2018.

Presently, there are 52 inmate coronavirus cases and 10 staff cases at the Lompoc prison camp. The medium-security Lompoc penitentiary has 34 inmate and 15 staff cases, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

The Bureau of Prisons website only lists one coronavirus death at the Lompoc complex, which occurred at the penitentiary.

In April, Oliver M. Boling, 66, went into respiratory failure at the Lompoc penitentiary. Boling was taken to a local hospital, where he tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Two days later, hospital staff placed Boling on a ventilator after his condition declined. Like Houston, Boling had long-term preexisting conditions.

Several media reports, however, have stated Efrem Stutson, 60, also died in April after contracting coronavirus at the Lompoc prison. Officials reportedly released Stutson on April 1, prior to the completion of his sentence but after he had served 27 years behind bars.

Stutson was reportedly sick at the time and then hospitalized within within hours of his release. He died on April 6.

Jorge Estrada

Maybe we should free all of them in China as a work study program?