6th Terminal Island inmate with coronavirus dies

May 6, 2020
In The News

A 58-year-old man became the sixth Terminal Island inmate to test positive for COVID-19 and then die as the prison continues to get pummled by the virus.

Eduardo Robles-Holguin originally had been convicted of illegally reentering the United States and died in a hospital on Monday, May 4.

He reported symptoms to the medical staff, tested positive for the disease and, on April 25, was placed on a ventilator at a hospital, officials said.

Robles-Holguin had been held at the San Pedro prison since Jan. 14, after he was sentenced in Utah for a violation of supervised release, prison officials said.

Terminal Island is the site of the largest COVID-19 outbreak within the federal prison system, with 620 of its inmates and 15 of its staff members infected with the virus as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

The first Terminal Island inmate to die of complications related to the virus was on April 13.

The next-highest total of COVID-19 cases among federal prisons was 465 in Fort Worth, Texas. Meanwhile, a federal prison in Lisbon, Ohio, has had seven inmate deaths related to COVID-19.

No staffer in any federal prison had died after contracting the coronavirus.

The troubling siutation at Terminal Island has drawn the attention of elected officials, including members of Congress.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Manhattan Beach, and Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Carson, sent a letter to Michael Carvajal, the federal Bureau of Prisons director, requesting that he take steps to place all inmates on home confinement or exercise compassionate release.

“It is inexcusable that BOP has not used home confinement – or compassionate release – to a greater extent,” says the letter, dated April 30.

Prision officials said Tuesday that inmates “meeting the criteria for home confinement are continually being reviewed for referral and placement.”

Terminal Island is a low-security facility in San Pedro and holds about 1,050 men in dormitory-style housing. A plan to combat the spread of COVID-19 has been put in place, including the deployment of 50 added medical and non-medical staffers as well as the addition of living quarters.