May 4, 2021

Prison Pandemic Project Response

by William Goehler (author's profile)

Transcription

Hello William,

I hope this message finds you in good health! We all come across difficult times in our lives and we all have different ways of dealing with them. I just wanted to tell you, I know this won't be easy, but I also know you've got what it takes to get through it. I may not know you personally, but I would like you to know people are thinking about you and hoping you and everyone else get through this challenge.

I am part of a team at UCI collecting stories about what has been happening inside facilities during the COVUD-19 pandemic. We would love to hear directly from you about your experiences. No story is too small. Somethings you could share are: What has it been like to be inside during the time?, How do you feel about your safety inside?, What has it been like to have reduced visitation from family and loved ones? And how have you been coping with this crisis?

We are collecting these stories to preserve them in an archive for historical purposes with the goal they could help lead to positive reforms.

We have two ways you and others can get in touch with us. Call our hotline at 949-824-6600, which is running Monday to Friday from 5pm to 9pm. Or mail us your letters, artwork, to other contributions to: Prison Pandemic. PO Box 4430, Sunland, CA 91041. We will post these stories, anonymously, on our website: Prison Pandemic.

If you don't have a story yourself to share, maybe you know someone who would be interested.

Sending you good thoughts-- and hoping you believe in yourself just as much as I believe in you.

Best wishes,

Jo

Some additional information

I found your name from a public lost on CDCR's website, but I'm not associated with CDCR.
Unfortunately, we cannot offer legal aid.
One of our professors is Kristin Turney, who is on the return address.

William Goehler K77832
Mule Creek State Prison
PO BOX 409040 B9/244
Jone, California 95640P

Prison Pandemic Project, 23 Apr. 21

After 6 1/2 years struggling to establish a Scientology Prison Outreach study group of a maximum security facility (circa 2014-2020), the COVID panic out a full stop to all rehabilitation activities in early March 2020. Hardly anyone believed COVID warranted any alarm and consequently all of us (custody staff and prisoners alike) carried on as usual sans social distancing. Of course, the Education Dept. was closed, as were all the vocational training shops. The Religious Dept. activities were suspended indefinitely, despite 1st Amendment Protection. Enhanced Outpatient (EOP) mental health groups were canceled from March to October 2020, causing a significant increase in Mental health crisis (i.e.. suicide attempts, staff assaults, etc.) All other rehabilitative groups promoting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) were canceled as well, and all the while the Medical Dept. accepted self-admitted opiate addition claims for a newly introduced Suboxone Treatment Program.

That was what alarmed me most of all at the beginning of 2020 before the COVID panic closed the visiting room-drug route. Vide; under the guize of rehabilitation, the Medical Dept. made Suboxone available to nearly anyone claiming on opiate addiction and wanted "treatment" without understanding the life-long registration requirement for document drug addicts after patrolling from prison. I remember making a joke about the next thing the Medical Dept. will promote will be a needle exchange program. By the summer of 2020, there were so many Suboxone patients lining up for their free high, that the regular yard schedule would be delayed every morning, noon and night until the medication line was done.

PG. 1 of 2

With so many new Justice Reform laws being passed which benefit prisoners, I suspected this new drug treatment was intended to generate greater numbers of patients needed to justify hiring new medical staff as a sort of coup d'état paradigm shift usurping control of CDCR. I'd noticed that custody staff were more and more often powerless to govern day to day matters involving prisoners. Accountability for the ensuing year of chaos resorted to custody staff blaming the Medical Dept., while the Medical Dept. staff act stupid and claim that all the arbitrary program changes were initiated by Sacramento bureaucrats. All the while [sic] this chaos frustrated everyone... except the Suboxone patients enjoying their free highs without the inconvenience of work assignments or CBT rehab programs to bother with.

I was amongst many at the maximum security facility who were transferred to a medium security facility in order to make room for a Quarantine Unit, per Sacramento bureaucrats' orders. This transfer seemed to have been perceived as a threat and prompted custody staff at receiving facilities to harass them with incompatible cell mates who resented integrating with maximum security prisoners. There were also situations where a number of prisoners were housed in the Gym, previously ruled unconstitutional (see Plata v. Coleman v.), where rising tensions in an already frustrating year resulted in a number of assaults and one suicide at I know of here at B Facility (Jonathan Bueno 2/20/21). As mentioned earlier, custody and medical staff alike seemed hostile and unsympathetic to all these inconveniences. Consequently, the number of Rule Violation Reports (RVRs) increased exponentially, along with corresponding staff assaults, cell fights, cell murders, suicide attempts, etc.

It would be interesting to discover the statistics regarding staff assaults, celly-fights-murders, suicides, etc. for a 3 year period preceding COVID, compared to those recorded in 2020-2021.

William Goehler K77832
Mule Creek State Prison
PO BOX 409040 B9/244
Ione, California 95640P

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misotope Posted 2 months, 4 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 2 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Thanks for writing! I finished the transcription for your post. It was interesting that UCI students were researching this since I also attend UCI. Thank you for sharing you story, and I am glad I could transcribe it.

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