The CDCR Coronavirus Charade
I live at the California Mens Colony West at San Luis Obispo, California. I have been here for about five years. It is a prison that is run more like a country club - no locked doors in the dorms, loose enforcement of rules, lots of recreation opportunities, and beautiful scenery visible through the perimeter fences 24/7/365.
We are in the same county as the Lompoc Federal Prison, which has made national news because of its many hundreds of confirmed coronavirus cases and several deaths. CMC West has a string of luck going for us - we have not had even a single case of coronavirus (it is said). But there has not been any testing as has been done elsewhere in the county. The only testing has been a small amount of temperature checking in medical patients at the clinic for other reasons and temperature checking of staff entering the facility. There is no way of knowing if some prisoners here have been infected and recovered without symptoms and without ever knowing it.
All this being said, what concerns me is the huge charade put on by the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation to convince the public, the politicians, the bureaucrats, and even itself of its efforts to reduce risk of the virus. It is largely a charade - and everyone on the yard - prisoners, guards, etc, know it.
For instance, today the loudspeaker from the program office came on, with the familiar voice of 2nd Watch Program Sgt. Carminiti telling everyone on the yard that the Covid 19 auditor, the associate warden, and a captain would be coming onto the yard today, so everyone had better be wearing their masks, or else. This sort of thing happens periodically. If an official comes to the yard to check conditions, the population is warned to act as if they were complying with best, practices, so the visiting auditor always sees a staged view that does not conform with normal practices. It is a charade because 99% of the time, if you walk the yard you will see many officers without masks and many prisoners the same way.
Officers who could easily get exposed to coronavirus outside the facility in the county at large often conduct their counts inside the dormitories without masks. Officers often group together on the yard and talk among themselves without masks and without adequete social distancing. But the CDCR tells the public just the opposite.
The dormitories are crowded and bunks are placed far closer than social distancing would require. Hand sanitizer and hand soap are provided on rare occasions in the dormitories, but are quickly depleted and not replenished or replaced for days or weeks. Yet the officers receive abundant hand sanitizer - 3 times the amount of sanitizer for one officer as for 60 men.
I am a stage 4 cancer patient and go to the West Clinic with regularity. Most of the time the clinic sergeants and officer are without masks. Their pretense of Coronavirus precautions is nothing but a charade. The medical staff does an adequete job of protecting themselves when dealing with inmate patients.
I have been transported outside the prison for medical
P.2 treatment, such as radiation for my cancer, many times. Often the two transportation officers who transport me in a prison van operate the van on the front seat without masks while I am in a cage behind them breathing conditioned air inside the van. The vans are often obviously oporated without cleaning or sanitizing. Once I was transported a day after a Covid-19 patient was transported in the same van, and the van had obviously not been sanitized.
The staff has gone to the trouble of printing Xs on the sidewalk and on benches in the yard to mark appropriate social distancing, but no one practices social distancing unless informed by a sergeant that a lieutenant or auditor is coming to the yard - so are the social distancing markers. It is all a big charade.
I live in a dormitory that before the covid 19 pandemic housed 45 inmates who were medically fragile. But due to the virus, a desire to reduce overcrowding in other dorms, 20 more inmates were moved from another dorm into ours. So there is 50% increase in risk to the most vulnerable inmates on the entire yard, including me - a stage 4 cancer patient.
This is the reality of life at the CMC-West during the coronavirus pandemic. If we get out of this pandemic with no casualties, it will be a miracle.
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