AB 263

The Health Oversight and Leadership in Detention Act

  • Introduced
  • CA Assembly Committee
  • Assembly Floor Vote
  • CA Senate Committee
  • Senate Floor Vote
  • Bill Passed
  • Bill Signed

Summary of the Bill

  • Requires all private detention facilities in California — including those used to house and detain immigrants — to follow local public health orders.
  • In addition, requires private operators to abide by standard Cal/OSHA workplace safety rules and regulations

Background: COVID-19 in Private Detention Facilities

Over the past year, all of California’s seven private detention facilities experienced major and largely preventable COVID-19 outbreaks. For example, at Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego (run by the for-profit company CoreCivic) detainees weren’t given masks unless they signed a contract written only in English, which many didn’t understand. When local public health officials requested that CoreCivic test their staff for COVID-19, 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 state. This is just one example of a private company’s refusal to follow the local public health orders, thereby putting the health of those living in these centers — as well as the staff working in them — at severe risk.

AB 263’s Proposed Solutions

As California moves forward under Governor Newsom’s reopening plan, we must 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 also do everything to protect the health and safety of individuals housed in detention facilities. AB 263 requires all detention facilities in California to meet required standards and abide by local public health orders.

Download the fact sheet

California is on its way to reopening and developing comprehensive plans to safeguard our communities and our state. AB 263 is a critical step in ensuring that public health orders are followed by everyone who operates in our state, including private detention facilities. As Governor Newsom outlined in his plans, we need to secure these congregate settings. When it comes to public health, the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.

Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula

Our Focus on Immigration

Embracing California’s diversity and commitment to protecting immigrants’ rights, keeping families together, and defending the dignity and humanity of all people who call this state home.

More on Immigration

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Deputy Director

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