A 24-year-old inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Lompoc was found unresponsive Sunday morning and pronounced dead soon after by paramedics, officials said. Mamoudou Kaba, from Kansas, was serving a seven-year sentence for bank robbery. He had been in custody since July 10, 2019.
Authorities have not disclosed Kaba’s cause of death or provided any additional details about the incident. Calls to Melissa Arnold, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson, went unanswered.
The Lompoc prison complex remains the site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. More than 1,100 staff and inmates have tested positive for the virus, and four inmates have died. Federal officials notably did not say if Kaba’s death was caused by COVID-19. The Santa Barbara County coroner’s office has stated it has no jurisdiction to investigate deaths that occur on the federal property.
Many inmates and their relatives have voiced serious concerns about prison’s response to the outbreak, claiming guards often neglect safety precautions and ignore inmates’ requests for medical help. On May 25, sick inmate Mohamed Yusuf died in his bunk. Other inmates have been admitted to ICUs at local hospitals in the late stages of the disease. The Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Bureau of Prisons for allegedly creating a “medical and humanitarian” crisis at the facility.
This article was underwritten in part by the Mickey Flacks Journalism Fund for Social Justice, a proud, innovative supporter of local news. To make a contribution go to sbcan.org/journalism_fund.