BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Around 600 inmates are expected to be released from Kern County state prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 180 of whom are set to remain in Kern following release, the California Department of Corrections confirmed.
The CDCR announced on July 13 that around 8,000 inmates across the state could be eligible for release by end of August in an effort to protect its most vulnerable population and staff from COVID-19.
According to the CDCR, nearly 600 of those inmates will be released from Kern County's four prisons and will reside throughout the state. 180 will remain in Kern, the CDCR said.
In total, North Kern State Prison is expected to release 154 inmates, Kern Valley State Prison is expected to release 52, California Correctional Institution is expected to release 155 inmates, and Wasco State Prison is set to release 237, according to the CDCR.
CDCR said it will be conducting COVID-19 testing within seven days of the inmate’s release. Any incmate who is actively positive or who is on active quarantine status will not have their release expedited. Those patients will remain in-custody until they have been identified as "resolved" by health care professionals and are medically cleared for release.
Those who have met their statutory release date and who are actively positive for COVID-19 or who are identified as on quarantine status are offered housing through Project Hope. This voluntary state initiative allows people releasing from prison to finish their medically directed quarantine/isolation in a hotel room at no cost to their participant, including food and safe transportation to the hotel. Notifications of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 are made to county public health departments prior to release.
All incarcerated persons are released with their issued face masks, or N95’s for inmates who are positive, the CDCR said.
The CDCR said it is not putting any incarcerated person who is paroling on their natural release date and who is identified as on quarantine or isolation status on public transportation. Those patients will be transferred by state parole, county probation, and community-based organizations to their identified release location.