The first video, which was dated April 26 and retrieved from the security desk at the North County Correctional Facility, displays a number of inmates as they take turns drinking from shared containers of water.
The footage also shows how some inmates were drinking hot water before being evaluated by a nurse to appear as though they had a fever.
In another video — which was taken on April 15, according to Lt. John Statterfield — from a second module in the same jail, shows about 20 inmates sharing a cup of water, as well as sniffing and breathing into a single mask.
The dangerous actions are a part of a larger scheme implemented by inmates to get infected with the coronavirus in the hopes of getting released early, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on Monday.
“It’s sad to think that someone deliberately tried to expose themselves to COVID-19,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
“Somehow there was some mistaken belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive that there was a way to force our hand and somehow release more inmates out of our jail environment — and that’s not gonna happen,” he added.
The Sheriff’s office stated that none of the inmates have directly admitted to partaking in the reckless activities when individually interviewed. However, because this type of behavior is not normally observed in the modules, their intentions became fairly “obvious.”
Furthermore, one day after the April 15 footage was recorded, nine out of the 30 people tested positive for the virus, with two having since been released, Asst. Sheriff Bruce Chase said.
Even though the North County jail inmates have been under quarantine since at least April 13, they suffered their first infected case a little over three weeks ago, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“They’re in dorm settings, so it’s easy once one person is positive, if everybody is still in close contact with each other, or not wearing masks”, Jackie Clark, director of Correctional Health Services, said.
The problematic behavior appears to be far from over and more widespread than the initial video footage led on, according to Lt. Satterfield, who said the clips were “just a sampling of the many other videos being reviewed and used in the ongoing investigation.”
As new findings indicate that the virus might be mutating to adapt to humans, per The Inquisitr, the rate the virus could be spreading in jails around the country is a growing concern.