Several inmates in a Los Angeles jail allegedly tried to infect themselves with the coronavirus so that they could be released, according to a report by ABC News.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva described the incident at a briefing on Monday, and showed surveillance videos from the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic where a group of prisoners deliberately shared water and a mask in an effort to get sick. They were drinking hot water in an effort to raise their body temperatures and fake a fever.
“It’s dismaying and disheartening,” Sheriff Villanueva said, adding that the prisoners were mistaken in thinking that they would be freed if they became sick with the virus. Within two weeks, about 30 prisoners tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Los Angeles prison system has released over 5,000 prisoners thus far due to the outbreak, but only after meeting several qualifications, including inmates who are already less than 60 days away from their originally-scheduled release. Similar efforts have been made to release thousands of prisoners in other hard-hit states such as New York.