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San Quentin Begins Transferring Prisoners, Despite Protests

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San Quentin Prison

Nearly a quarter of a million incarcerated people in the United States have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Marshall Project. And for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, California state prisons have COVID-19 outbreaks in all 34 of its facilities. Despite this, the CDCR has begun to transfer hundreds of medically vulnerable incarcerated people from San Quentin to other California state prisons.

The transfers follow a court order that San Quentin’s prison population be cut in half, after a COVID-19 outbreak there left 29 people dead.

A coalition of returned citizens, community organizers, and social justice orgs has started a petition to stop the pending transfers of these incarcerated people.

James King is the State Campaigner at the Ella Baker Center. He says that the best option is to release the most at-risk prisoners.

“There is no safe place within the CDCR to house medically vulnerable people, the prisons are far too crowded, so it’s time to release people, as public health officials have been calling for for nine months now.”

King says the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilition has not responded to the coalition. He also says 26 people were transferred to Corcoran State prison on Monday. Last week, Corcoran’s prison population was at 104% capacity.

Wren Farrell (he/him) is a writer, producer and journalist living in San Francisco.