CHINO, Calif. - A recent spate of coronavirus fatalities in California prisons has now brought the death toll to 65, according to the most recent data provided by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The most recent deaths were reported at the California Institute for Men in Chino. The men died on Sept. 7 on Saturday, and are the 22nd and 23rd deaths at that facility. CIM has the second-most COVID-related deaths in the state.
Also on Saturday, a man died at Avenal State Prison and he was the sixth incarcerated person to die a COVID-related death, the department reported.
San Quentin still leads the state prison system with the number of coronavirus-related deaths. As of Tuesday, the death toll stood at 27.
Advocates have been pushing to release more people in custody to stop the spread of the deadly and contagious disease, while prison officials counter they are worried about letting violent offenders out into the community.
As of this week, the prison reported there are about 94,000 incarcerated people in California’s prisons, a reduction of roughly 22,000 since March 12, the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
Even with that drop, the entire prison system is 105 percent occupied.
Coronavirus patient tracker on Sept. 29, 2020
It's unclear just who has died of coronavirus in the prisons.
The Department of Corrections has been releasing some of the names, pictures and brief criminal histories of certain incarcerated people -- only those who are on Death Row, saying that is their policy.
However, David Snyder, an attorney with the First Amendment Coalition, said that dead people do not have a right to privacy, and if the CDCR is claiming a privacy exemption allows them to withhold those names, "they are wrong."
In August, KTVU filed a Public Records Request seeking to identify all those who have died, but the CDCR has failed to comply with that request.
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.