YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Saturday afternoon, dozens rallied, demanding the release of inmates at the state prison complex in Yuma. Most of the people rallying were loved ones of those incarcerated inside the prison complex, in Yuma.
Jovana Rentrina, is the the organizer, of the rally.
“Our family members are in danger. They have not done so, we have been asking them since march 16th for transparency and they have not done it," she said.
They were out here to send a message to Governor Doug Ducey and Department of Corrections Director David Shinn.
Khalil Rushdan, is the Community Partnerships Coordinator, for ACLU Arizona.
“For the release of those people who are going to be released anyways this year. Let them out, let’s reduce the density of this population and bring people home to their families and keep them safe,” he said.
Those out here, alleging there is nothing being done about the health and safety of the inmates.
As of Friday, there have been 58 confirmed cases inside the prison. The rally organizer thinks otherwise.
“Were not going to get an accurate amount of people that it’s currently in there. Because they are the ones controlling the numbers. They haven’t also put the two deaths that happened in there either. They’re in control of the numbers, they’re in control of everything. So we are here because we want transparency,” Rentrina said.
Sources telling us - the inmates who test positive for COVID-19 are placed in a warehouse-like setting. The organizer explains why it’s so important to spread awareness instead of spreading the virus.
“The guards don’t have sufficient ppe, gloves, they don’t have it. If the arizona department of corrections is not taking care of the cos what makes you think they are taking care of our loved ones?” She questioned.
Here at the rally, family members are the voice of their loved ones inside.
"My son, Vincent Salazar, the crazy one that was up there on the roof. We’re here to support him, all of them, we’re here to support all of them. Tell them that they are not alone, we’re here from them and we’re not going to stop.”
Debbie Rios says her son contracted coronavirus inside the prison. The inmate's sister, Bianca Egurrola, describes first hand.
“They test them twice a day, their vitals and everything. Other than that, he says he’s ok, I can hear it in his voice he’s scared. For my brother to be scared that says a lot, my bother is a strong individual.”
Kara Williams, a former inmate I spoke with says, the pandemic has made it even worse than before.
“When I was in there I had my own personal medical problems, I came home and I had to have emergency surgery because of medical care inside is so bad. That is without a pandemic, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like in there now,” Williams explained.
“Not only is it endangering these lives, it’s endangering the lives of the officers bringing it home to their families and the back-and-forth doesn’t make any sense," she added.
A lot of frustration but also a lot of love, as these people were able to see their loved ones from a far.