The State of California implemented regional stay at home orders on December 6, 2020 in response to some regions of California having less than 15% capacity in their ICU units (California, 2020). As of that date, the greater Sacramento area, San Joaquin Valley, and southern California were included in the stay at home order. The Bay Area is expected to reach the threshold in the near future. The statewide positivity rate is 9.0% and increasing quickly (California Dashboard, 2020).
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) suspended in person visitation. They have two systems for visitation where the VPASS system is for in-person visitation only, which is currently suspended, and Webex, which is currently being made available to inmates (CDCR Visitation, 2020). It appears the Webex system is the preferred method as it can be provided free of charge, noting limitations of one 30-minute video visitation per month for free. Additional video visits are charged.
The following counties were selected based on population and/or position in the state.
Los Angeles County, located in southern California, is the most populous county in the state. It has a positivity rate of 8.2% and is increasing exponentially (California Dashboard, 2020). The County suspended in-person visitation for friends and family but allows professional visits such as attorneys to be in-person (LACSD, 2020). They have increased screen and isolate inmates that are known or suspected to have COVID-19.
San Diego County is one of two southern counties bordering Mexico. The County has seven jails and detention facilities with the San Diego Central facility being the main jail (SDCSD, 2020). As of November 21, 2020, in-person visitation was suspended at all facilities due to increasing numbers of inmates infected with COVID-19 but they have expanded free email services for communication with inmates. Some facilities provide video visitation.
Contra Costa County is located in the East Bay area in central California. The Sheriff’s Office manages three jail facilities (CCCOS, 2020). The County is indicating that they allow in person visitation by appointment.
Shasta County is located in northern California. The county seat is Redding, California, which is also the location of the jail (SCSO, 2020). The County has designated some restrictions to Sheriff’s lobby hours but in person visitation appears to be available.
|Type of Facility||Family Visitation||Attorney Visitation||Commissary/Money for Expenses||Other Programs|
|General Information||Hours and Parking for Visitation||Inmate Property Release|
|State-Run Correction Facility|
|Los Angeles County||Attorney and other professional visitation is permitted in person.|
|San Diego County||Provides a number of programs, which may be fully or partially suspended at this time due to limitations on visitors and volunteers to the facilities. Include work release, parole, education and vocational, wellness, religious, and other programs.|
|Contra Costa County|
Infection Rates and Death Rates
All indices for COVID infection rates in the State of California are rising including total cases and total deaths (California Dashboard, 2020). The current statewide 14-day average positivity rate is 10.4%, which is a 4.2% increase from the previous 14 days. Hospitalizations also continue to increase exponentially. While ICU bed availability is currently increasing, this trend is not expected to continue as the exponential increase in number of cases and increasing hospitalization increase. 99.9% of the state’s population live in counties with widespread risk levels, the highest risk level rating.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and criminal justice partners have worked to reduce the jail population since March 11, 2020 (CDCR Covid, 2020). California jails have very high positivity rates that are well above national and statewide average.
Los Angeles County is the most populous county in California with over 10 million residents with a high density of residents (CA Demographics, 2019). It is located in southern California and includes major cities such as the City of Los Angeles as well as industry, Port of Long Beach, major colleges, National Forests, Los Angeles International Airport, among others. The 7-day average positivity rate in the County for December 8, 2020 is 8.7% (California Dashboard, 2020). The County jails suspended all public in-person visitation on March 21, 2020 but allow for in-person professional visits including with attorneys (LACSD, 2020).
San Diego County is the second most populous county in California with over 3 million residents (CA Demographics, 2019). It is the southern county adjacent to Mexico and includes a major port of entry with Tijuana as well as home to a major Navy installation. The 7-day average positivity rate on December 8, 2020 is 1.5% and the county has widespread risk level, which means many non-essential indoor businesses are closed (California Dashboard, 2020). While this is a low positivity rate, the surrounding counties in this region have rates to 10% to in excess of 20%. The jail has implemented a 7-day quarantine period for new inmates (SD Sheriff, 2020). In addition, as of November 20, 2020 the County jails have resumed the most restrictive precautions against transmission against COVID-19 infections including resuspension of in-person visitation on November 21, 2020.
Contra Costa County is located in the East Bay area near San Francisco in central California. It is the ninth largest county for population with just over 1 million residents (CA Demographics, 2019). The Bay Area Region is not under a stay at home order but is fast approaching the number of ICU beds available that will trigger a stay at home order (California, 2020). The 7-day average positivity rate in the County for December 8, 2020 is 5.2% (California Dashboard, 2020).
Shasta County is located in northern California and in the region currently is not under a stay at home order (California, 2020). The county is fairly rural and known for outdoor activities in the surround national forests. The 7-day average positivity rate in the County on December 8, 2020 is 9.7% and the county has widespread risk level, which means many non-essential indoor businesses are closed (California Dashboard, 2020). In addition to COVID-19, the County is also managing significant wildlands fires. The Sheriff’s Office does not provide jail statistics for COVID-19. Sheriff Eric Magrini does not support early release of inmates from jails to reduce inmate populations due to several instances of inmates being released and committing crimes shortly thereafter (Kreider, 2020).
|Type of Facility||Infection||Death|
|Number||Positivity Rate||Number||Death Rate of Positive Cases|
|Los Angeles County||Inmate||4311||1.1%||9||2.0%|
|Employee||1,5402||Not determined||None reported||Not determined|
|San Diego County||Inmate||3993||4%||None reported||Not determined|
|Contra Costa County||Inmate||Not provided||Not determined||Not provided||Not determined|
|Employee||Not provided||Not determined||None reported||Not determined|
|Shasta County||Inmate||Not provided||Not determined||Not provided||Not determined|
|Employee||Not provided||Not determined||None reported||Not determined|
CA Demographics. (2019, December 19). California Counties by Population. Retrieved December 12, 2020 from California Demographics: https://www.california-demographics.com/counties_by_population
California. (2020, December 9). About COVID-19 Restrictions December 6 Press Release. Retrieved December 10, 2020 from covid19.ca.gov: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/#regional-stay-home-order
California Dashboard. (2020, December 20). Dashboard. Retrieved December 20, 2020 from covid19.ca.gov: https://covid19.ca.gov/state-dashboard/
CCCOS. (2020). Inmate Information. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff: https://www.cocosheriff.org/how-do-i/inmate-information
CDCR Covid. (2020, December 12). COVID-19 Information. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/
CDCR Visitation. (2020, December). Visitation. Retrieved December 10, 2020 from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: https://visitorreservations.cdcr.ca.gov/
Kreider, C. (2020, October 7). “How is this acceptable?” Sheriff says tragic crimes lies in the hands of the state. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from KRCR ABC7 News: https://krcrtv.com/news/local/how-is-this-acceptable-sheriff-says-tragic-crime-lies-in-the-hands-of-the-state
LACSD. (2020). Inmate Information Center. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: https://app5.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm
LASD Dashboard. (2020, December 14). Coronavirus Information Updates. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: https://lasd.org/covid19updates/#personnel_definitions
SCSO. (2020). Shasta County Jail. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Shasta County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/sheriff/custody
SD Sheriff. (2020, November 20). General Information. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.sdsheriff.net/index.html
SDCSD. (2020). Detention Services Bureau. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego County Sheriff’s Department: https://www.sdsheriff.net/about_dsb.html
SDSD Employees. (2020, December 11). COVID-19 Employee Status Report. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego Sheriff’s Department: https://www.sdsheriff.net/newsroom/links/dsb-covid19-2.pdf
SDSD Inmates. (2020, December 11). COVID-19 Jail Status Report. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego County Sheriff’s Department: https://www.sdsheriff.net/newsroom/links/dsb-covid19.pdf