The Health Oversight and Leadership in Detention Act
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.
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.
Stay up-to-date on AB 263.