The COVID-19 pandemic has caused law enforcement agencies worldwide to make unprecedented moves. In many areas of the U.S., inmates with low level, non-violent offenses are being released from jail to help curb the spread of coronavirus within the population. Now, the L.A. Times reports that many Los Angeles County Jail inmates are trying to purposefully infect themselves in hopes of seeing an early release.

L.A. County Jail
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According to the outlet, security camera footage shows inmates sharing water containers and drinking after one another, sharing breathing masks, and elevating their temperatures with hot water. The inmates have been questioned, but Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that no one has admitted to the plot. Last month, there was an outbreak at the L.A. County Jail that resulted in one holding area reporting 21 of 50 people being infected.

“It’s sad to think that someone deliberately tried to expose themselves to COVID-19,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “Somehow there was some mistaken belief among the inmate population that if they tested positive that there was a way to force our hand and somehow release more inmates out of our jail environment — and that’s not gonna happen.

Even with the ongoing investigation into the spread of COVID-19 at the jail, it's still unclear which inmate may have been the first to be infected.