Inmates at Los Angeles County, in California were caught red handed as they deliberately tried to infect themselves with the deadly COVID-19 virus, in hopes of getting out of prison.

Surveillance footage, which was released on Monday by Sheriff Alex Villanueva, revealed how the inmates from the Pitchess Detention Center tried to contract the virus. In one footage, a group of inmates was found sipping the same bottle of hot water from the dispensary, minutes before nurses tried to take their temperature, “It’s deeply disturbing,” Sheriff Villanueva said.

Villaneuva believed that not only were they trying to contract the virus by drinking the same hot water bottle, but also to increase their body temperature to exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus. After the incident, authorities reported that 21 inmates tested positive from the virus.

The sheriff explained that “under no circumstances” should the inmates share the same water bottle, as everyone can easily access the dispensary.

Another disturbing footage showed how inmates drank from one styrofoam cup, as well as passing a mask and sniffing it, in hopes of contracting the virus. Villanueva also claimed that the inmates were crowding together despite providing them with ample space to observe social distancing.

In his statement, Villanueva said, “It’s sad to think that someone deliberately tried to expose themself to [coronavirus],” he continued, “That is problematic because somehow there was a mistake in belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive that there was a way to force our hand and release more inmates out of our jail environment.” However, the sheriff warned, “ that’s not going to happen.”


California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had already released more than 5,500 inmates since March 11. In fact, close to 315 inmates had been released just last week.

Earlier this month, The Patriot Hill reported that the state of Massachusetts released more than 824 inmates, from April 2 to April 26, as experts believed that closed living conditions in the prison system might provide the best environment for the next coronavirus outbreak. Among those that were released are convicted child sex offenders.

This includes 54-year-old Glenn Christie, who was found guilty for raping a 12-year old boy and 29-year-old Matthew Parris, who had pleaded guilty for the rape and sexual assault on two underage girls.

At the time of the reporting, 81 correctional officers and 23 other staffers also tested positive from the virus in the Massachusetts prison system.

Just like Massachusetts, other states such as North Carolina, Ohio, Arkansas, and Virginia, also saw a spike in the number of infections as 3,277 inmates have tested positive for the virus. According to Reuters, one of the hardest-hit prison facilities was the Marion Correctional Institution, in which 2,028 among the 2,500 inmates also tested positive for the virus.