Emergency exceptions

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Mule Creek.

Caller: Well, today was the first day that I had been outside. And in our gymnasium, there is a bunch of inmates, and they’re on cots. They don’t have bathroom access. They have some portable bathrooms out there that don’t look like they’ve been well maintained all that much.

They have to bring in a generator to run the power for the bathrooms, and it just doesn’t seem – this is a newer facility, and the state was not supposed to be putting people in gymnasiums anymore. But yet the state feels, I believe, that they can get away with doing that, stating that it’s an emergency.

And any time that there is an emergency, any prior rules just don’t really count because now we’re under an emergency. So, it’s just not right to be putting people – I wouldn’t treat my dog if he killed all my chickens as bad as they treat us sometimes.

UCI: And is it being handled differently now, the COVID-19 situation at your facility?

Caller: COVID-19 is not being handled any differently. It seems like there’s a lot of mistakes that are being made. Inmates are being transferred from one building to another instead of keeping everybody where they’re at.

And to mitigate the spread they had closed the chow hall, and now we all are closer together when we eat than what we would have been if we went to the chow hall. The chow hall is large and has a lot of tables, and we could spread out to eat. And now we eat very close to everybody because we don’t have tables to sit on. I sit on an apple box to eat my meals, and there’s no table.

It doesn’t make sense to do a lot of things that they did, but if you don’t do anything and something happens, then the state can be liable. So, what they have done is not any better, but at least they’ve done something. That way when somebody looks at the situation, they can at least say they’ve done something instead of done nothing at all. But unfortunately what they have done is not better than what it would have been if they’d done nothing at all.