Speaker 1: 00:00 How do you protect yourself from COVID-19 when you have nowhere to go? Well, that's a question. Some incarcerated men have been asking themselves during the pandemic lone Pope prison in Santa Barbara County has struggled to control the spread. The facility had the worst outbreak in a federal prison last year, but today local politicians and some former inmates say they're still alarmed about the handling of COVID-19 at that facility in lone Polk. Here's reporter Dina Montague. Speaker 2: 00:30 It's a cool Saturday morning in a rural part of Santa Barbara County. And a few men in gray sweats are lined up arms around each other's shoulders. Eyes closed. These men are incarcerated at the low to medium security federal prison in Lompoc. After a moment with their heads bowed, the men start exercising until recently burned. Appleby was one of them. Speaker 3: 00:52 We just take care of ourselves. Speaker 2: 00:56 He served 16 months at Lampoke for a white collar crime. When COVID hit, he was terrified. Speaker 3: 01:02 There is no social difficulty. You're sleeping a couple of feet away from someone else. Speaker 2: 01:07 The federal Bureau of prisons says it has conducted widespread testing of inmates at long Polk, but Appleby disagrees Speaker 3: 01:13 Dormitory was never tested. Never at all, never tested Speaker 2: 01:17 Appleby was finally tested for COVID-19 right before his release in October, in a statement, a Bureau spokesperson said any inmate displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested and placed in medical isolation. Inmates will also be tested when entering or departing any Bureau of prisons facility. Even with this response, the mayor of Lompoc Jenelle Osborne is concerned. Speaker 3: 01:42 There are some systemic issues. Speaker 2: 01:44 For example, over 11 days in may active COVID cases fell from 931 to 16, a more recent uptick and decline in January has mayor Osborne worried about the cause of the new cases. Speaker 3: 01:58 The first time I heard of the new uptick was once again, as I did the last time, which was outreach by members of the families that have prisoners in residence and by locals who knew of the uptake because they have family that works out there. And, and that's frustrating Speaker 2: 02:18 In an effort to reduce infection rates, former us attorney general, bill BARR directed the Bureau of prisons to prioritize the release of non-violent at risk inmates to finish their terms at home. What's known as home confinement, but Don specter, executive director of the prison law office says that long Polk, this has been refused for unclear reasons. Speaker 3: 02:41 They're using prior offenses, uh, as a disqualifier they're they're using the amount of time served as a disqualifier, Speaker 2: 02:50 Even though the risk of contracting COVID in prisons is high. Spectra is representing incarcerated men at lone Polk in a class action. He says that his legal team has been trying for the last eight months to get a court order, to allow more men to see out their sentences at home. But without success, I reached out to the federal Bureau of prisons for data on the number of inmates transferred to home confinement from lone Polk, but only system-wide figures were made available for burned Appleby. Even though he served his time, it's not over. Speaker 3: 03:22 I was just so, so disgusted. Okay. With, with the whole process that I said, you know, I'm not just going to drop this once I get out. Okay. You know, I want to want a voice to be heard and I'm a proud American citizen. And I think that we could do better. That piece was reported by Dina Montague.