CHINO, CA – (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images)
An airborne fungal outbreak in 2 California prisons is leading to the relocation of 2600 inmates as some question the true motive.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, San Francisco, set a 90 day deadline last week to relocate 2600 prisoners from two prison facilities within the state of California. As of now the Dept. Of Corrections and Rehabilitation has no idea where the inmates will be displaced. California currently has 33 adult prisons.
The U.S. District Judge has ordered the transfer of the most medically at risk patients which make up the group of 2600.
CBS reported, “Valley fever is caused by soil fungus in California’s Central Valley and Arizona, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported. The tiny spores can be inhaled after they’re kicked up by wind or construction.
About half of the infections produce no symptoms while most of the rest can bring mild to severe flu-like symptoms. In a few cases, the infection can spread from the lungs to the brain, bones, skin or eyes, causing blindness, skin abscesses, lung failure and occasionally death.
One-hundred-fifty-thousand people get valley fever each year; 160 die. That’s rare compared to other diseases, but valley fever cases have jumped 900 percent between 1998 and 2011. It’s a bigger threat than West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
The two prisons, which house a combined 8,100 inmates, are about 10 miles apart and 175 miles southeast of San Francisco.
“Transferring thousands of inmates is an extremely complex process. It will take time,” Hoffman said. “We must identify where to send individual inmates and which inmates from other facilities can be transferred into Avenal and Pleasant Valley.”
Transferring less vulnerable inmates into the two prisons could create an additional problem if those inmates object.
“This is a hard question. We are concerned about the risk to other prisoners,” said Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office and lead attorney in the lawsuit involving Valley fever. “The question is, `How great is the risk?”‘
He deferred to J. Clark Kelso, who was appointed by Henderson to oversee medical care within the state prison system.”
It has also been reported that prisoners can opt out of being transferred, but must first prove they do not meet the criteria of the venerable population.
Some speculate that there could be other ‘internal’ agendas behind the transfer. Also raising the question of the safety of correctional officers and inmates during such a procedure (transfer).
Enen more interesting is the fact that there is a current order to release over 10,000 inmates by the end of 2013 to help reduce prison crowding and improve the health of inmates according to officials.
A report issued Tuesday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health details how certain measures and modifications can be implemented at the state prison facilities, raising the eyebrows of some as they wonder who will privately profiteer as prison facilities and encompassing services are mostly privatized.
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