Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation

Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation title=
Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation
12 Comments
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USP Lompoc (Photo: Federal Bureau of Prisons)

By edhat staff

A COVID-19 positive inmate from the Lompoc Prison walked out on the remainder of his self-isolation period after completing his sentence. 

During Friday's press conference, former Undersheriff and current Santa Barbara County Assistant CEO Barney Melekian, announced there was an event this past week at the Federal Penitentiary in Lompoc.

Two inmates were asymptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 causing them to quarantine. On Wednesday they had completed their sentence and were released from prison, as the law requires, with two days remaining in their quarantine, said Melekian. 

It was later learned that one of the inmates had chosen to leave quarantine and traveled to the Los Angeles area, reports Melekian.

"Those individuals had completed their sentence, they were no longer inmates. It would be illegal and inappropriate to try and contain them," said Melekian.

The county is now working with the prison to develop a protocol to respond more quickly to released inmates who have tested positive. 

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Luvaduck May 16, 2020 07:27 AM
Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation

I understand why he would WANT to get out of there, but by no stretch of the imagination should that have been permitted. Besides letting a possible disease vector-initiator loose, it sets a dire precedent: If 2 days before end of isolation, how about 3? or 7? or allowing an infected person to leave w/o isolation at all when their term is up. Anything but a hard end-date creates date flexibility that is incompatible with public safety.

Chip of SB May 18, 2020 09:27 AM
Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation

I don't see the issue. Public safety is more important than civil rights. Just lock him up until the appropriate authorities deem it is safe to release him. No trial or due process is required because letting him go is dangerous. The constitution certainly doesn't give someone a right to travel freely or get out of prison when their sentence is over. In fact, it doesn't really give anyone the right to do anything, especially if it impacts my feeling of safety.

Ahchooo May 17, 2020 11:14 AM
Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation

Once he’s completed his sentence the state can’t hold him, any more than they can hold any random person who doesn’t social distance. Maybe we need a new regulation connected to probation rules to address prisoners released during a pandemic? But then we’d need similar rules to detain any non-prisoner who violates good pandemic behavior. Is his contagion worse than the citizen next door’s?

Potif May 16, 2020 12:17 AM
Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation

:::good grief::: What sounds wrong about that? Let me see.... I’m sure he promised to isolate himself, wear a mask, gloves, and stay 6 feet away from everyone. As a law abiding citizen, he would do everything right... wouldn’t he?

a-1591051066 May 16, 2020 09:54 AM
Newly Released Lompoc Inmate with COVID-19 Skips Rest of Isolation

Why would people down vote this observation? Hasn't the President been demanding that restrictions be undone and people be "liberated" from shelter in place orders? This dude just followed that directive. Once free of his sentence he had no obligation other than social courtesy to stay in a sheltered place. He didn't.

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