NOTE: This update was written on 3/23/2020 and received on 3/27/2020
Hope you’re staying safe & sane out there! Things have gotten hectic in here. As public health officials, including the current and former top doctors for DOC [Department of Corrections], and even COs, off the record, will tell you — the DOC cannot possible prevent or contain this outbreak without taking immediate steps to drastically reduce the inmate population. They are very slowly releasing people, but not nearly enough, and not nearly fast enough. They almost NEVER provide us with sufficient or appropriate cleaning supplies. They post signs advising us to stay 6 feet apart and then move even more people into an already crowded 48-bed dorm, including people, as we later found out, who had been tested for coronavirus in their previous housing unit. The DOC moved them into our dorm before their test results came back. Less than 24 hours later they were moved out because their results were positive. Captains and Deputy Wardens give us the usual lies, non-answers and obfuscations. Yesterday, my dorm and the dorm across the hall carried out a 24-hour meal and work strike to protest these conditions and to demand the immediate release of all inmates 50 and older, all inmates with chronic health issues, all parole violators, and all inmates with less than a year remaining, as recommended by the Board of Corrections itself. In response, DOC provided us with cleaning supplies, PPE, and promised regular screenings — but these are things they should have been doing for weeks anyway.
This is a huge problem for incarcerated folx, of course, but it’s also a public health issue. If the virus continues to spread in here, it will serve as a resevior for the disease to reinfect the community, outside through COs and other staff, who come and go everyday, and inmates returning home, long after the curve is flattened outside.
Other than that I’m holing up OK. Trying to to say busy & stay healthy.