While much of California shut down this spring, Robbie Hall stitched masks for 12 hours a day in a sewing factory at a women’s prison in Chino. For several weeks, Hall and other women said, they churned out masks by the thousands but were forbidden from wearing them.
The incarcerated seamstresses at the California Institution for Women grew increasingly worried: The fabric they used came from the nearby men’s prison, where an outbreak ended up killing 23 inmates. And their boss regularly visited both institutions.
“Are we safe with her going over there and coming back here?” Hall remembered asking her co-workers as they sewed.
Then it happened.
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