Family, friends and community members are letting Lompoc Federal Prison inmates know they are loved.
"Love Your Inmate," a local coalition that provides support for inmates and their families, held a rally at Ryon Park in Lompoc which is near prison grounds.
As we near the 1-yr anniversary of the covid-19 lockdown, Love Your Inmate is holding an event to show love and raise...Posted by SURJ SB: Showing Up for Racial Justice, Santa Barbara on Saturday, February 20, 2021
Representatives from Congressman Salud Carbajal's office, the Lompoc Prison Task Force and local clergy spoke at the event.
Inmate supporters said they hope to bring attention to what they call an "inadequate response" of the Covid-19 outbreak at the prison.
"We want to let [prisoners and their families] know that they're not forgotten. They don't have much of a voice, so it's really important for those of us who do to use that voice to make sure that their concerns are addressed," Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Santa Barbara representative Tanya Hyde said.
The event was supposed to feature a flyover, but organizers postponed it due to the winds.
From April 23 to May 1, the Department of Justice (DOJ) conducted a remote inspection of FCC Lompoc to understand how the pandemic affected the complex and how prison officials prepared for, prevented, and managed the spread of COVID-19 within the facility.
The American Civil Liberties Unionfiled a federal class-action lawsuit filed May 16, 2020.
In the lawsuit, the ACLU argues Michael Carvajal, the Director of the BOP, and Louis Milusnic, the Warden of Lompoc, have demonstrated that "they will not take the measures necessary to prevent the coronavirus from converting more prison sentences into death sentences without court intervention."
They also alleged that the prison has under-reported the number of inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
"We hope that [prison officials] can address issues around communication. Families have had a difficult time communicating with their loved ones," Lompoc Prison Task Force chairwoman Patricia Solorio said.
The Lompoc FCC houses at least 2,000 male inmates between the medium-security U.S. Penitentiary, the low-security Federal Correctional Institution and two work camps.
KSBY reached out to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for comment and have not yet heard back.