san quentin outbreak

Inside San Quentin's COVID-19 Crisis

So far, more than 1,300 inmates in San Quentin have tested positive for coronavirus.

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Inmates at San Quentin say the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that has killed at least six inmates is getting worse by the day. Now they say there’s no hot meals and they have to rely on crackers, cheese and slices of bread. 

“It tastes disgusting,” said inmate Drequinn Johnson. “It takes like cardboard.”

Johnson said surviving COVID-19 behind bars just got a whole lot tougher, since prison staff switched to handing out meager packaged meals two days ago. 

“We were stripped from all meals, hot meals, because the kitchen – the kitchen cooks, the staff had it,” said Johnson. 

NBC Bay Area reached out to San Quentin to confirm if their kitchen staff came down with COVID-19 but have not heard back. So far, more than 1,300 inmates in San Quentin have tested positive for coronavirus.

“The meals that are provided are just – they’re not cutting it,” said Petaluma resident Lacy Terrel.

Terrel’s husband Branden is serving time for voluntary manslaughter. Terrell says the 33-year-old started to come down with COVID-19 symptoms, after his cellmate tested positive. 

“These men are in there fighting off illness and disease and I think that we all know in order to fight any type of illness, we need to be able to nourish our bodies,” said Terrel. 

Branden has less than three years to serve before he can come home to his family in Petaluma. Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday, he is working on reducing the inmate population by nearly a 1,000. 

“I am going through individual by individual, people with medical needs that are acute, people we are fast tracking parole review,” said Newsom.

The mother of three is hoping the governor signs off on her husband’s early release. 

“He has a whole family to support him, many people in the community that support him,” Terrel said. 

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