A Los Angeles federal judge ordered the Lompoc prison to begin a court supervised process of identifying inmates to release on home confinement in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as part of a class-action lawsuit filed in May.
U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall on July 14 approved a provisional class certification including Lompoc inmates who are at risk for the coronavirus and granted a preliminary injunction preventing officials from confining them until public health guidelines for detention facilities are followed and enough inmates have been released to make the prison safe.
The lawsuit — filed on May 16 by inmates Yonnedil Torres, Vincent Reed, Felix Garcia, Andre Brown and Shawn Fears — accuses warden Louis Milusnic and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal, alleging cruel and unusual punishment for not preventing the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 1,000 inmates and staff at the complex.
Carvajal and Milusnic are accused of not following memoranda by Attorney General William Bar ordering the bureau to release at-risk inmates to home confinement.
The judge ordered five deadlines for various stages in the process of identifying at-risk inmates, or those over the age of 50 and those of any age with underlying health conditions, including serious heart conditions and immune deficiencies, among others, according to the lawsuit.
Lompoc prison was a major hot spot for the virus, the spread was like wildfire where eventually everyone in there tested positive for coronavirus.