San Quentin inmate’s COVID-19 results in wrongful demise declare

The household of a San Quentin inmate who contracted the coronavirus has filed the primary demise declare towards the California correctional system associated to the pandemic, citing the botched switch of contaminated prisoners as the reason for his demise.

Daniel Ruiz, 61, is one in every of 27 inmates and staff who died of virus-related sicknesses after San Quentin, California’s oldest jail, took in 121 transfers from the California Establishment for Males in Chino, which had become a hotbed for the virus.

Civil rights attorneys for Ruiz’s three youngsters and his mom filed a authorized declare Thursday that may be a precursor to a lawsuit accusing the California Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation of wrongful and unconstitutional demise. About 2,237 San Quentin inmates have examined constructive for the virus, whereas earlier than the Could 30 switch, nobody had.

On the time of the strikes, the Chino jail reported greater than 600 circumstances of the coronavirus and 9 COVID-19 deaths. Throughout a state listening to, a federal monitor overseeing inmate well being within the California prisons conceded three or four weeks had passed since some of the transferred inmates had been tested.

“The parents in our prisons are human beings. Many who died at San Quentin had performed nonviolent crimes and will have been coming again to their households quickly,” Ruiz household lawyer Michael Haddad mentioned. “It’s tragic and unacceptable that some jail bureaucrats handled them as lower than human.”

Whereas San Quentin is called residence to California’s demise row, it additionally homes a lot of lower-level offenders. Haddad mentioned Ruiz was serving time for a minor drug crime. He had been notified in March he was eligible for early launch for good habits as a nonviolent offender, in accordance with the authorized declare.

However on July 11 he died. Haddad mentioned Ruiz was identified to be among the many 40,000 high-risk inmates housed in California prisons due to bronchial asthma and different well being points.

Due to corrections insurance policies, the Ruiz household didn’t study he had developed COVID-19 and had been hospitalized for 2 weeks, when he was close to demise, mentioned lawyer Julia Sherwin.

“Daniel suffered alone whereas the CDCR saved his mother, children and siblings at the hours of darkness about his situation,” she mentioned.

About 288 correctional and medical employees on the Bay Space jail have examined constructive for the virus. Deaths to this point have included 26 inmates and one worker, Sgt. Gilbert Polanco, 55, a veteran officer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has acknowledged that the Chino inmates “mustn’t have been transferred.”

To stem outbreaks, Newsom has slashed the jail inhabitants by a number of thousand, together with about three,500 inmate releases to this point, with a dedication to launch about eight,000 extra. San Quentin had housed greater than three,000 individuals in open tiers that facilitated the unfold of the illness, in accordance with the Ruiz household declare.

Corrections officers knew the mix of tight quarters and poor air flow and older inmates and underlying well being issues meant there was a excessive danger of morbidity, the declare says. It additionally alleges that corrections officers did not conduct correct testing.

Within the wake of the large outbreak, the top doctor for inmates throughout the state was changed.