There are an average of 17,000 people detained in the Los Angeles County Jail system at any given time, including both men and women. Some detainees receive disposable masks, but they are rarely replaced. Others receive cloth masks, which only have one layer of fabric and no filters. The cloth masks are one-size-fits-all, with ear loops that aren't adjustable. Covid-19 is spreading through the jails fast.
The lack of protection for those detained in the LA County Jails puts everyone coming into and out of the jails at risk. These detainees are people who haven't been convicted of any crimes. Many never will be. They are people's mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and children. They deserve protection.
I’m a licensed private investigator in California, doing primarily criminal defense work. A client of mine at the LA County Jail came down with Covid-19. He is high risk and had to be taken to the emergency room. He survived, but if he gets the virus again, it could kill him. When he described the mask he wore, I understood why he got the virus in the first place.
I was able to work with jail administrators to get my client a comfortable, reusable mask that fit and had a pocket for a filter. I was also able to give him filters to put in the pocket.
When I gave the mask and filters to the administration, I asked if they would accept more of these for the other detainees. They agreed that they would accept more of these particular masks and these particular filters, if I would supply them.
I’m raising funds in order to purchase one reusable mask for each detainee who needs/wants one, along with 25 filter replacements per mask. This way, every detainee will have adequate protection through the rest of the year, at the very least.
- John Hanusz
- Toni Colling