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WATCH: L.A. Inmates Intentionally Spread COVID-19 in Attempt to Score Early Release

‘As a direct result of the behavior seen in the video, 21 men tested positive for COVID-19 within a week…’

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A group of Los Angeles County inmates intentionally tried to infect themselves with the coronavirus in order to be released early, according to California authorities.

Surveillance video footage of inmates at the North County Correctional Facility shows them sharing the same bottle of hot water and taking turns breathing through the same mask.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva said during a press conference on Monday that these bizarre actions were an attempt to artificially elevate their oral temperatures, which were taken by a nurse moments later, and spread the infection around the prison.

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Their attempts to spread COVID-19 worked, Villanueva said, but none of the inmates were prematurely released.

“As a direct result of the behavior seen in the video, 21 men tested positive for COVID-19 within a week,” Villanueva said, according to CNN.

“A gross misunderstanding among the inmate population led many to believe that those diagnosed with COVID-19 may be released, which is untrue,” he said.

Prisons across the country have, in fact, been releasing inmates early due to concerns about the coronavirus and its spread throughout the prison population. In Los Angeles County alone, more than 5,000 inmates have been released, Villanueva admitted. He claimed, however, that the department has only released inmates when “sound science and sound legal advice” support doing so.

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Villanueva also said the department is considering criminal prosecution for the inmates who intentionally spread the coronavirus.

“It is very disturbing to think that people would do this to themselves deliberately in an attempt to force our hand to release more people from custody,” he said.

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