Chowchilla

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WOMEN'S FACILITY IS LOCATED IN CHOWCHILLA, CA,
HOUSING 2,814 PEOPLE.

Since March 2020, there have been 821 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1 death, at this facility.

Stories from Chowchilla

12/20
Terror story
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Terror story

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla.

Dear Student UC Irvine,

Hello. I got your letter. Well for one it is very hard for people in here are very stressed out and sad. It is a terror story. People are dying of the COVID-19 and there is no helping it because there is no cure. People in here are crying depressed and stressed out. It is a shit show. Stuff is hard to do in here. Like visiting with family members and loved ones. It’s tough. It’s hard. We are trapped with this killing disease and I am afraid that I might be around it. That’s how scary it is.

We need more medical help where I come from. I hope and pray to God all this pandemic ends. And I hope we get released from prison before it’s too late. If the COVID is spreading like wildfire you got to think of the people that work here risking their lives to work at this prison. Know this disease is not a joke. It’s real and people will suffer from it. There is COVID in prison and it took less than 6 months before we starting wearing masks and it got here in prison. We need help to get out.

Terror story

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01/21
Just a runny nose?
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Just a runny nose?

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla.

I’m not going to lie, things have been rough and very unorganized. We went to a few positive cases to over 500 positive cases in the course of two weeks. There is no way for us to be socially distanced, due to living in eight-man cells. The room I’m currently in had six girls, but two have tested positive. So now its four.

My roommate wears her mask all the time and washes her hand, yet still caught COVID. They only allow us to program for 45 minutes and we can only program with other “quarantined” rooms. “Quarantine” rooms are rooms where someone has tested positive. Once you test positive they tell you to pack your belongings but still take an hour to move you out the room.

Anyways, so my roommate was not feeling good but it was just a runny nose. So she thought it was allergies, the 3rd day she couldn’t taste or smell so we informed the cops. They told the nurses, but it took them almost an hour to have her step out the room to test her. All the while she was in the room further exposing us.

Anyways, so she left and ended up testing positive. When an inmate test positive they move you to 501 or 502 where there are other positive inmates. So we cleaned the room with our own soap. One week later, another roommate test positive. She was showing no signs.

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Dear PrisonPandemic,

Hello. How are you doing? Thank you for taking the time out to want to know how things are going in prison due to COVID-19.

I’m not going to lie, things have been rough and very unorganized. We went to a few positive cases to over 500 positive cases in the course of two weeks. There is no way for us to be socially distanced, due to living in eight-man cells. The room I’m currently in had six girls, but two have tested positive. So now it’s four.

My roommate wears her mask all the time and washes her hands, yet still caught COVID. They only allow us to program for 45 minutes and we can only program with other “quarantined” rooms. “Quarantine” rooms are rooms where someone has tested positive. Once you test positive they tell you to pack your belongings but still take an hour to move you out the room.

Anyways, so my roommate was not feeling good but it was just a runny nose. So she thought it was allergies. The third day she couldn’t taste or smell so we informed the cops. They told the nurses, but it took them almost an hour to have her step out the room to test her. All the while she was in the room further exposing us.

Anyways, so she left and ended up testing positive. When an inmate tests positive they move you to 501 or 502 where there are other positive inmates. So we cleaned the room with our own soap. One week later, another roommate test positive. She was showing no signs.

It is very scary to know the virus is in the room and we are not allowed to leave. Even though we clean the room, I’m sure we didn’t get all of it. We are basically sitting here until we all catch it. What I think should happen is someone who is certified in cleaning should come and properly cleaning it.

Now we are only allowed to shop 55 dollars instead of our normal 220 we usually shop. This is devastating because we already are under the stress of being locked down all day. And now we have to budget buying food and hygiene for the month.

The food is nasty so we have to fall back on canteen. We cannot go outside because our building is quarantine. I have not gone outside in over a month. I do not think this is right. We need fresh air as human beings. We are breathing in recycled air.

My next door neighbor have all tested positive for COVID-19. There was six people. They send positive inmates to a room in 501 or 502 with a room full of other positive inmates. So even if you may have tested false-positive, for sure you are catching it now.

Mental health does not come by to see us because our building is not quarantined. We are fed in our cells. My body is in pain not because I have symptoms but because I am laying on an uncomfortable bed all day because I cannot go out due to quarantine.

I was informed by a CO who wants to remain confidential that they offered the COs a COVID vaccine on the 28, 29, and 30th of December. And out of all the staff working the prison, only about one in 15 staff took the vaccine because they are scared of the vaccine.

This is crazy because the staff is the one bringing in the COVID-19 to us and it is quickly spreading like wildfire. And the fact they were given the option to get the vaccine and put a stop to exposing us is ludicrous.

At the end of the day, they get to be home, have medicine, comfortable bed, good bed, medical care if they do get COVID. And if we get COVID we are thrown in a cell with other sick inmates and have to experience every painful moment of the sickness and hope we get better fast.

We get no type of medicine or pain meds. We are not offered nutritious food. It’s very sad! If you would like to know anything else, please feel free to ask what exactly type of information you are looking for? Thank you.

Sincerely.

01/21
In the room
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In the room

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla.

It is very scary to know the virus is in the room and we are not allowed to leave. Even though we clean the room, I’m sure we didn’t get all of it. We are basically sitting here until we all catch it. What I think should happen is someone who is certified in cleaning should come and properly cleaning it.

Now we are only allowed to shop 55 dollars instead of our normal 220 we usually shop. This is devastating because we already are under the stress of being locked down all day. And now we have to budget buying food and hygiene for the month.

The food is nasty so we have to fall back on canteen. We cannot go outside because our building is quarantine. I have not gone outside in over a month. I do not think this is right. We need fresh air as human beings. We are breathing in recycled air.

The full story

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Dear PrisonPandemic,

Hello. How are you doing? Thank you for taking the time out to want to know how things are going in prison due to COVID-19.

I’m not going to lie, things have been rough and very unorganized. We went to a few positive cases to over 500 positive cases in the course of two weeks. There is no way for us to be socially distanced, due to living in eight-man cells. The room I’m currently in had six girls, but two have tested positive. So now it’s four.

My roommate wears her mask all the time and washes her hands, yet still caught COVID. They only allow us to program for 45 minutes and we can only program with other “quarantined” rooms. “Quarantine” rooms are rooms where someone has tested positive. Once you test positive they tell you to pack your belongings but still take an hour to move you out the room.

Anyways, so my roommate was not feeling good but it was just a runny nose. So she thought it was allergies. The third day she couldn’t taste or smell so we informed the cops. They told the nurses, but it took them almost an hour to have her step out the room to test her. All the while she was in the room further exposing us.

Anyways, so she left and ended up testing positive. When an inmate tests positive they move you to 501 or 502 where there are other positive inmates. So we cleaned the room with our own soap. One week later, another roommate test positive. She was showing no signs.

It is very scary to know the virus is in the room and we are not allowed to leave. Even though we clean the room, I’m sure we didn’t get all of it. We are basically sitting here until we all catch it. What I think should happen is someone who is certified in cleaning should come and properly cleaning it.

Now we are only allowed to shop 55 dollars instead of our normal 220 we usually shop. This is devastating because we already are under the stress of being locked down all day. And now we have to budget buying food and hygiene for the month.

The food is nasty so we have to fall back on canteen. We cannot go outside because our building is quarantine. I have not gone outside in over a month. I do not think this is right. We need fresh air as human beings. We are breathing in recycled air.

My next door neighbor have all tested positive for COVID-19. There was six people. They send positive inmates to a room in 501 or 502 with a room full of other positive inmates. So even if you may have tested false-positive, for sure you are catching it now.

Mental health does not come by to see us because our building is not quarantined. We are fed in our cells. My body is in pain not because I have symptoms but because I am laying on an uncomfortable bed all day because I cannot go out due to quarantine.

I was informed by a CO who wants to remain confidential that they offered the COs a COVID vaccine on the 28, 29, and 30th of December. And out of all the staff working the prison, only about one in 15 staff took the vaccine because they are scared of the vaccine.

This is crazy because the staff is the one bringing in the COVID-19 to us and it is quickly spreading like wildfire. And the fact they were given the option to get the vaccine and put a stop to exposing us is ludicrous.

At the end of the day, they get to be home, have medicine, comfortable bed, good bed, medical care if they do get COVID. And if we get COVID we are thrown in a cell with other sick inmates and have to experience every painful moment of the sickness and hope we get better fast.

We get no type of medicine or pain meds. We are not offered nutritious food. It’s very sad! If you would like to know anything else, please feel free to ask what exactly type of information you are looking for? Thank you.

Sincerely.

12/20
Lacked compassion
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Lacked compassion

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla.

One of my roommates tested positive for COVID. That’s how this started. We get down there and find out that there’s more than one person positive, there’s several at that time unbeknownst to our population’s knowledge.

Anyway my 602 complaint focused on the treatment I received while back there by the nurses, the technicians, and mental health doctors. It lacked communication, it lacked compassion, when I would ask about my health and the chances of me contracting the virus since I’ve been placed in a housing unit for alleged safety with several positive cases. And they’re irritated with me for being concerned about my safety. When health care fail to properly dispose of their PPE after attending to the positive inmates then yes I have an opinion about it. Which will cause retaliation from correctional staff if not careful! Keep in mind I had to place 602 grievances to both medical and security sides of it.

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Dec. 26, 2020

Hello! I’m sharing my true thoughts of my experience with the COVID-19 at CCWF. I wrote a health care grievance up against “health care services” on September 23, 2020 because on August 27, 2020, I along with 3 other inmates were being taken out of our unit and room and placed in a place in which I started calling the “Dungeon”, because it was dirty, filthy, rusty and disgusting in the “Dungeon” building 503 on A-yard. I was kept there for 23 days for precaution as I was told. On August 27, 2020, one of my roommates tested positive for COVID. That’s how this started. We get down there and find out that there’s more than one person positive, there’s several at that time unbeknownst to our population’s knowledge.

Anyway my 602 complaint focused on the treatment I received while back there by the nurses, the technicians, and mental health doctors. It lacked communication, it lacked compassion, when I would ask about my health and the chances of me contracting the virus since I’ve been placed in a housing unit for alleged safety with several positive cases. And they’re irritated with me for being concerned about my safety. When health care fail to properly dispose of their PPE after attending to the positive inmates then yes I have an opinion about it. Which will cause retaliation from correctional staff if not careful! Keep in mind I had to place 602 grievances to both medical and security sides of it.

Back to the PPE, they handle the positives first for some reason, then here they come to our doors to touch on us. When I ask them if they could change their PPE I get attitude instead of understanding. They treat us as if we shouldn’t be tripping. My life matters to me, I love me, I am worthy of respect. I committed a crime, this is true. But I am not my crime. I am a human being that wants to live. And I know that the majority of society don’t care about us in prison, yet it doesn’t change the facts. We are people. We deserve respect and dignity like everyone else.

I was literally scared for my life in the “Dungeon of 503.” The PPE protective coverings they were wearing weren’t being properly disposed of. Sometimes they would use the red bio-hazard bags and sometimes they’d put them in our regular trash cans along with their gloves. They’d let the positive ones out of their cells to shower, use phones, kiosk machine, all after we were done with our programming for the day. Only to come out the next day to find that no form of sanitation has been done to the location of these areas other than the guards sending in the receiving inmates in orange to so call clean.

While I’m watching from my window how the inmates in orange go in the contaminated shower, get the hair out of the drain, spray 2 to 3 times with their spray bottles and walk out of the shower. I knew the so called cleaners in orange never made it over in the phones and kiosk area because the same trash and open lunch boxes, crumbs, etc. would still be there.

So when it was our program time my anxiety level would soar. Scared to leave from my cell to go shower or use the phone. I would be fearful to touch anything, so I’d go to the guards to get some disinfect. Because it seem like every time it was our program time the disinfect spray bottles would be empty. So you see just from what I’ve shared there was and is a lot of room for improvement. With the understanding on both sides about this COVID-19, “We’ve never met her before.” With that being said it was and is a learning process for us all. So finally yea! Hell yea I fear and feared for my life then and now! God bless us all!

12/20
No better treatment
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No better treatment

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla.

Thank you for your correspondence. Health care for me personally has been good. I’m diabetic, have pacemaker, hypothyroid, and a mild stroke all being addressed and feel I could get no better treatment elsewhere.

I admire those of you who go into the medical care profession and wish you all the best. Stay safe, especially during this pandemic.

Have a blessed holiday season.

Thanks again,

73 year-old woman of color, in prison 30 years

No better treatment

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