10th inmate dies of COVID-19 at California prison

An incarcerated person from California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County has died because of complications related to COVID-19, according to the California Department of Corrections.

He is the 10th-COVID-related death at that prison in Chino, and his death comes a day after a correctional officer died in Riverside County of the disease, the agency said. 

Spokeswoman Dana Simas said the man's family had been notified but that her agency would not be releasing his identity to protect his medical privacy. 

This institution currently has 453 incarcerated people who are actively positive for COVID-19. In all, there are nearly 2,000 positive cases of coronavirus in the state prison system. 

Activists have been urging the state to release more prisoners to free them from crowded conditions, and many prisoners have said they are living in "inhumane conditions" that lack the necessary hygiene and social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease.

The department has argued that they are following all the proper protocols. A spokesperson also said, "We are working to further increases our institutions, particularly in dormitory-style housing, by ensuring bunks are six feet apart in either direction."

California has granted an early release to 3,500 inmates across the state, although all of them were within 60 days of parole.

A spokeswoman said there are no plans to free anyone else.

California’s 35 prisons have long been overcrowded and currently house close to 109,000 inmates. That is roughly 24,000 overcapacity.

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@foxtv.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez