LOMPOC, Calif. — A large number of people participated in a car protest this afternoon to support inmates at the Lompoc Federal Prison.
At least 971 inmates within the Federal Correctional Complex in Lompoc have tested positive according to the County. The Bureau of Prisons reports 1,072 cases. Two inmates have died from the disease.
The Bureau of Prison's numbers and the County's numbers currently reflect differently due to a discrepancy in reporting times.
FCI Lompoc has seen the most cases of COVID-19 out of all federal prisons in the United States.
Marina Santana took part in today’s protest for her brother, who is incarcerated within the prison and battling for his life with COVID-19.
"If everyone in this community cares about their children and families, they will come out and protest,” Santana said.
Despite her brother’s dire condition, she has been unable to communicate with him.
"He is slowly dying behind those prison walls,” Santana said. “I have not spoken to him in four weeks."
In solidarity with the prisoners and their loved ones, the community organized today’s caravan protest.
"I decided to put together something to bring awareness to what is going on inside,” protest organizer Chrissie Rogers said.
According to many inmates' relatives, the prisoners are receiving a shortage of medical supplies, being fed expired food and aren’t allowed to access showers.
"For the inmates who aren't able to be heard,” protestor Ronald Wiley said. “If we speak out and be a voice for them, that would help tremendously."
As the protestors honked and shouted, they demanded that the BOP release inmates who are non-violent or vulnerable.
"We need to stand up,” Wiley said. “Fight injustice that's being done."
They also protested in defense of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, protecting against cruel and unusual punishment.
"They're sick and they're basically not getting the resources they need to get better,” Rogers said. “You can't get well in a cell."
A class action lawsuit was recently filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California against the Lompoc Federal Prison for mismanaging the COVID-19 outbreak.