Correctional Training Facility in Soledad (CDCR/Contributed)

SOLEDAD — Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad has the most active cases of Covid-19 among those incarcerated throughout the entire California state prison system.

As of Thursday, there are currently 773 inmates infected with the coronavirus at CTF, with 779 new cases reported in the past 14 days, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Population Covid-19 Tracking system.

Five inmates have also died from complications of Covid-19 at the Soledad prison, with the latest death reported on Dec. 11.

In total, there have been 1,752 confirmed cases of the virus among CTF’s prison population — the fifth highest cumulative total out of the state’s 35 adult institutions.

Nearby Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) is reporting 80 active cases of Covid-19 among its inmates, with 82 new cases encountered in the past 14 days. The prison has confirmed a total of 238 cumulative cases and one death caused by the virus.

CDCR employees have also been affected, with 51 active cases of Covid-19 among CTF staff and another 114 at SVSP.

On Tuesday, CDCR announced that all institutions would extend the 14-day modified program, which originally took effect Nov. 26 to limit movement of both staff and inmates in order to slow the spread of the virus. The modified program will now last through Dec. 30.

“California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s priority is to protect the health and well-being of our staff and the inmate population, as well as providing a safe environment,” CDCR said in a Nov. 25 memorandum to the state institutions’ associate directors and wardens. “The purpose of the memorandum is to announce measures intended to reduce staff and inmate exposure to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) by minimizing inmate movement throughout the State.”

Families of those incarcerated at CTF are planning a protest Saturday, Dec. 19, beginning at 10 a.m. to raise awareness for health conditions, following the prison’s recent surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

“Administration is failing to get the virus under control and not following their own Covid protocol guidelines, which is only jeopardizing incarcerated individuals,” said one CTF inmate’s daughter, who asked to remain anonymous. “We (are) not asking for much, just basic human decency and care for our loved ones.”

Protest participants are asked to park by the train tracks near the prison after exiting Highway 101, as well as to bring masks and follow current health guidelines.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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