Editor’s note: The following is a statement from the office of Mendocino County District Attorney Eyster concerning the fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 here in Mendocino County, published here as an op-ed opinion piece. The normal disclaimers stands that the Mendocino Voice does not necessarily share these positions. For more details on this case check out our article here.
California state prison system ignoring — and thereby endangering — public health outside state prison facilities
With that background in mind, please be assured that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the Ukiah Police Department, the Adult Probation Department, and local Department of Public Health all acted as fast as is humanly possible when this unacceptable example of “state prison inmate dumping” came to light.
As used in this statement, the phrase “state prison inmate dumping” refers to the early release of inmates with known virus exposure to benefit the depopulation of a state prison facility at the cost of placing local public health across the state at risk.
Kudos to Sheriff Kendall, UPD Chief Wyatt, Chief Probation Officer Locatelli, Dr. Doohan, Dr. Flaherty, and the others who locally acted quickly and decisively to attempt to put an electronic monitoring fence around this CDCR-created problem.
In attempting to get answers, District Attorney Eyster and Sheriff Kendall requested a teleconference with the Governor Friday afternoon vis-à-vis the state prison policies that allowed this to happen and what state response Mendocino County could expect regarding this individual but apparently that request was denied or just not possible.
Which leaves glaring questions still to be answered — why is it appropriate to give a state prison inmate a health notice that he may have been exposed to the virus and must undergo a 14-day period of quarantine, but then early release that person the very next day with full knowledge that the quarantine period had not been successfully completed? What could possibly go wrong? And how many more virus-exposed inmates have also been granted early releases back into our communities in the state’s effort to depopulate its facilities?