The Health Oversight and Leadership in Detention Act
Over the past year, all of California’s seven private detention facilities experienced major, largely preventable COVID-19 outbreaks. For example, at Otay Mesa detention center in San Diego (run by for-profit company CoreCivic), detainees weren’t given masks unless they signed a contract only written in English, which many didn’t understand. When local public health officials asked CoreCivic to test their staff, Otay Mesa’s warden responded that they had no intention to test all the workers at the facility. At one point, Otay Mesa had 166 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the highest number of cases in any immigration detention center in the county. This is just one example of a private company’s refusal to follow public health orders, thereby putting the health of those living in these centers — as well as the staff working in them — at severe risk.
As California moves forward with Governor Newsom’s reopening plan, we need to make sure the most vulnerable to infection are protected. Just as the state has stepped in to ensure proper management and care in private nursing homes, it must do everything to protect the health and safety of individuals housed in detention facilities. AB 263 requires all detention facilities in California to meet minimum standards and abide by public health orders designed to protect the health and safety of everyone.
Stay up-to-date on AB 263.