Authorities say Folsom State Prison employee has died, more than 100 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19

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FOLSOM, Calif (KTXL) — More than 100 inmates at Folsom State Prison have tested positive for COVID-19 and an employee has died, according to prison authorities Wednesday. 

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says it sent in a medical strike team to help quarantine those who are sick and test for more cases. 

But family members of those at the prison remain worried. 

“He is the most remorseful person and will forever be trying to give back to society for the wrong he did,” said Tammy Smith. 

For 25 years, Smith’s husband, Darrell Smith, has served his time at Folsom State Prison. 

“Yes, my husband took a life. But you know what? CDCR, CCHS, whatever your title is, you guys are committing multiple deaths. Can I put you to court?” Tammy Smith said. 

Tammy Smith says her 46-year-old husband is at high risk of catching the coronavirus because he’s in third-stage renal failure.

“So, now, my fear is I’m going to get that call like all those poor San Quentin loved ones that my husband is dead or he’s in a hospital,” Tammy Smith told FOX40. 

The CDCR says more than 100 prisoners at Folsom have tested positive in the last two weeks. 

The employee who died had been working within the department for more than five years. He also leaves behind a family. 

Even with a medical strike team, Tammy Smith said the facility doesn’t have enough space for proper distancing or enough protective gear. 

“They’re sitting in a petri dish,” Tammy Smith said. 

According to the CDCR, nearly 2,500 inmates were at Folsom State Prison as of last week, while the facility is designed to hold 2,066 inmates. 

The state has taken steps to reduce populations, releasing nearly 18,000 inmates statewide since March. Most were nonviolent offenders, corrections officials say. 

But Tammy Smith said more needs to be done to protect those still behind bars. 

“Damnit, we’re talking about human life here. Where is your humanity, people?” Tammy Smith said. 

According to the CDCR, there are currently more than 900 inmates with active cases of COVID-19 statewide. 


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