Crowded in here

This story was told by a person incarcerated at San Quentin.

UCI: So, is there anything else that you want people to know about?

Caller: Just the CDCR is not doing, they’re not putting into place or they’re not enforcing the safety and the health wellness protocols that they claim to be. They’re not enforcing their own staff to wear masks or other personal protective equipment.

They’re not – it’s not possible at all in a dormitory to socially distance. And there’s absolutely – if one person gets infected here, because of the asymptomatic period, testing will not – the person will not be tested and found to be positive within a safe amount of time to protect the rest of the inmates.

UCI: So, how many people live together in one dormitory?

Caller: The number varies by 10 or 20 per dorm but like in our dorm for example there are about 95 inmates.

UCI: Ninety-five?

Caller: Yes. And there are typically 200. But since the virus has taken place, they’ve moved out half of the bunk beds and they’ve cut the population in each dorm down by half.

UCI: So, would you say that there is an issue of overpopulation right now in San Quentin?

Caller: Absolutely. It’s been overcrowded here at San Quentin since before the outbreak.

UCI: Since even before?

Caller: Yes. And CDCR has done nothing to quell the overcrowding, even after they claimed to be enforcing social distancing policies of six feet, but they’re not doing anything to perpetuate that.

UCI: Yeah. So … So, have you been tested positive for COVID?

Caller: I have not. There have been some false positives. And but in those cases, the people are not isolated or quarantined for observation until several days after they were tested.

So, like I say, if they really have the virus, then by the time the positive tests came back, everyone else would be already infected.

UCI: Yeah, it’d be too late by then.

Caller: Much too late. The danger in this virus is through the asymptomatic period where you can be contagious and not be showing any symptoms.

That’s what makes this virus so dangerous in my opinion.

UCI: Yeah. So, from the beginning of the outbreak to now, has there been any difference in how they’ve been handling it?

Caller: None whatsoever. The only difference is that when the outbreak first began, they provided us with only cloth face masks. Simple one-layer cloth masks that were handmade by prison industry authority.

But now they are providing us with N95 respirators.

UCI: At least you guys have better masks now.

Caller: Better than nothing.