A small group of supporters gathered at Ryon Memorial Park on Sunday for a rally to bring awareness to inmates inside of the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, which has experienced two COVID-19 outbreaks.
About two dozen people, including residents, local reporters and advocates, attended the rally, which was organized by Love Your Inmate, a coalition that provides support services for inmates and their families, in coordination with the Lompoc Prison Task Force, representatives of Congressman Salud Carbajal's office and local clergy.
A balloon release had been planned but was postponed due to wind conditions.
The rally included several speakers, including Patricia Solorio, chairwoman of the task force. A handful of residents also signed a message book intended to be delivered to the inmates.
"It's just important to bring up the plight of the inmates and their families, many of whom are suffering in silence," said Solorio, who added they don't have a voice because many don't live in or are from the area. "Many are experiencing longtime effects of their first [coronavirus] experience.
"They’re supposed to be rehabilitated and they’re supposed to come back to our community."
At least five inmates at the Lompoc FCC, which houses about 2,000 inmates, have died from the disease, according to records. An outbreak that began in March and peaked in May infected more than 1,0000 inmates.
That outbreak prompted a federal class-action lawsuit filed May 16, 2020, by five inmates who allege a mishandling of the outbreak and are seeking alternative confinement.
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