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The Pandemic Has These Prisoners Worried They Won't Survive Their Sentences

The inside of the Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility in 2013, prior to opening to inmates. (23 ABC via YouTube)
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Chris is worried he'll die from COVID-19 before he can finish his prison sentence in four months.

"The last thing I want to do is get infected and die in prison," Chris said over the phone from the Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility, a minimum-security prison about an hour's drive southwest of Bakersfield.

We spoke with four inmates at Taft. They talked about how social distancing is impossible when you have to pack 70 or more men into dorms "the size of a convenience store," as A.J., who lives in the same dorm as Chris, put it.

As of Thursday, 10 state prison staffers and one inmate had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a live tracker maintained by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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The department says it's handing out hospital-grade disinfectant and making extra soap available to inmates at Taft who request it. But the prisoners we spoke with hadn't heard about that offer.


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