SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) – The Terminal Island Correctional Facility in San Pedro has mostly nonviolent prisoners – and the third-most COVID-19 cases in the country.

Now loved ones who don’t want to be identified say they’re worried.

So far, 57 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus at Terminal Island, a low-security prison with a population of around a thousand. Visiting has been suspended due to the pandemic.

“There’s more and more people falling ill to this and I feel like they’re setting him up for a death sentence for a nonviolent crime,” said one woman about her loved one housed at the facility.

She says her loved one has been there for five years for a nonviolent white-collar financial crime. He has another 10 years to go, but as a model prisoner, he’s on a list for clemency since he’s over 60 with a heart condition.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has authorized the transfer of nonviolent inmates to home confinement because of COVID-19. So far, Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, has been released, as well as celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti.

When asked about that, the woman said, “I think it’s who you know…for sure.”

Three staff members and two inmates have died from the virus at Terminal Island. (credit: CBS)

Another woman has a fiancee who is also at Terminal Island for bank robbery. He was scheduled to be released last month – 63 years old and a cancer survivor.

She says while she’s not looking for sympathy, she is looking for the same compassion others are showing during this crisis.

“People are pulling together to help each other, but they’re forgetting about these people in prison and these people in prison are humans too,” she said.

The Bureau of Prisons says they’ve taken steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, including issuing masks to inmates and staff. They’re reviewing all inmates to determine which ones qualify for home confinement.


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