Across California there are at minimum 436 incarcerated persons—men and women—confined and struggling to stay alive with active cases of COVID-19.
Although much is written—and rightly so—about the plight of men in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledging to date, most of the COVID-19 cases in California state prisons involve men, there is mounting concern about the fate of women in these facilities.
Last month, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the Young Women’s Freedom Center while challenging the abusive conditions in the state’s facilities for women, pled with state officials to protect inmates at the California Institution for Women (CIW) and the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla after an employee there tested positive for COVID-19.
According to CDCR, they worked with public health officials last week after a few women reported feeling ill and increased testing at the site.
Since then, according to CDCR, “[T]he institution [has] worked closely with county public health officials to increase testing efforts – including those who are asymptomatic.”