May 24, 2020

Quarantine(Day Five)

by Shawn Perrot (author's profile)


(Day Five? Day Five.)
May 15, 2020

We've been on some form of isolation far longer than we've been on quarantine. This, and the fact that everyday in here is a carbon copy of the one before it, makes it difficult to remember how many days have passed. One way of avoiding this problem is to maintain a log of sorts, which is how I was able to verify that this is Day 5 of the Quarantine, and day "who knows" of the isolation.

With that said, today is rapidly proving to be one of the most unusual days yet, which is saying something for a place like this. For starters, keep in mind that not only is the entire country in some sort of State of Emergency, but this prison is the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in California's prison system. There have been more than 500 confirmed cases of inmate infections in the CDR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation), more than 350 of which have been here at the CIM (California Institution for Men). And today, David Muir of ABC 7 News confirmed that tests for the Coronavirus have produced false negatives as high as 100% of the time, who are infected with the Coronavirus are probably much, much higher, with many of them coming from who tested negative.

You should also keep in mind that we've been completely isolated for well ever a month now. No visits, no transfers, no new arrivals, they haven't even allowed any volunteers in to teach our various educational and rehabilitative classes. Our ONLY contact with the outside world for more than a month now has been through the medical staff and prison guards who work here. It's also important to note that the entire prison was tested less than 48-hours ago for COVID-19, the results of which have yet to come back. Finally, keep in mind that we're supposed to be practicing social distancing protocols, which includes maintaining a minimum of 6' from each other, wearing our masks, not having more than 10 people in a room at any time, etc. Keeping all of this in mind, someone please explain to me why it is that more than a dozen officers all rushed Colusa Upper first thing this morning to search their cells? (The buildings all have names, Alpine, Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, etc., and each has two tiers, an upper and a lower, and at the moment, Colusa Lower, which, like all of the buildings here, doesn't have any ventilation whatsoever, is where they're housing suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases) The guards are now in their cells, many without masks, searching them, and for what? We've been on lockdown for well over a month now, with no contact with anyone but medical and guards, so what could thy be looking for? More important is the fact that the cells are the size of a closet, the perfect breeding ground for spreading the Coronavirus, which means that theres a very good possibility that the officers are searching the cells of people who are positive, and have yet to have those results confirmed, or are themselves positive, and are leaving the virus behind as they paw through the belongings, including toothbrushes, cups, etc., of the men who inhabit these cells.

During the search, a process which took several hours, everyone from Colusa Upper, about 100 people, was put out onto the mini yard The yard is so small that it's physically impossible to maintain adequate physical distancing. This means that, for hours, you've had people who've been tested for COVID-19 mingling in close contact with each other, which in turn means that, if someone does come back as being positive, then there's a pretty good chance it's going to be spread during this period of time, and for what? So the guards could search a few cells? When are they going to start taking this seriously? We've already had 7 people in here die, and another one died 2 days after he was released. Is that not enough?

Want to add insult to injury? The officer who used to work my tier once a week just returned after being gone for more than a month. Turns out that he was because he was infected with COVID-19. Anyway, he's back now, and is now assigned to this tier 5 days per week. He frequently removes his mask when talking to us, which completely defeats the purpose of wearing the mask in the first place, and then has the nerve to order us to wear out masks Listen, I fully support the requirement to wear a mask, but keep in mind that my wearing a mask doesn't protect me, it protects you from me, should I be infected With that said, my wearing a mask is a social contract. It says that I'm taking the need to protect you seriously, which means that you should take the need to protect me just as seriously.

On that note, as I explained earlier, each building has two tiers and each tier has a single officer assigned to it Then there's a rover, who moves freely between the tiers The guard who's assigned to our building has refused to wear his mask, resulting in my filing a grievance, one which the prison has yet to acknowledge. In my grievance, I asked that it be treated as an emergency, meaning that the prison had only 48-hours to respond, as opposed to weeks, or even months, and my reasoning was simple The majority of the people who have COVID-19 either don't have any symptoms, or the symptoms are relatively mild, which means that there's a pretty good chance that this officer could currently be infected, or could become infected, and become a silent carrier. Considering the fact that many of the people on my tier have co-morbid symptoms, I felt that emergency intervention was needed to protect the lives of the inhabitants of this building, the officers who work here and anyone else he happens to come into contact with. Sadly, not only has my appeal not been acknowledged, I've also just learned that one of the members of the Inmate Task Force (ITF) just tested positive for COVID-19.

In case you're not familiar with the term, the ITF is a more accurate and politically correct, term for a rat or a snitch Members of the ITF work closely with the guards, telling on anything they can in an attempt to curry favor and generally trying to see how far up the guards' asses they can shove their noses This guy spends his every waking minute under the guards feet snitching on everyone, cleaning their offices, shining their boots (kind of gives a whole new meaning to the term "boot licker!!")


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