This story was told by a person incarcerated at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison.
Caller: Well, where to start. I think the big part of why, like, a lot of the numbers are, like, really high in prison is because without getting into too many specifics, the facility isn’t – it isn’t designed for the type of quarantine or various health and safety measures that COVID-19 needs; you know?
We’re living in – well, at least I am – a dorm of 100 and some odd people up to 192 right now and, you know, with – with what we know about COVID-19 is, you know, while you’re indoors and with air circulation being what it is, you’re more susceptible to being – well, to catching it if you are indoors.
That’s why, you know, with all the restaurants and everything like that.
Caller: So with just one person getting it in a building, now that entire building has been exposed to – to the virus. And, so, at least at the facility that I’m at, you see the numbers just spike exponentially at one time because you – you’ll get one positive, for example, we’ve had – just had – we’ve just had this – we’ve had two positives, and then the next thing we know, we’re having 30 positives, 40, 100, and so on.
UCI: Okay. What – just a quick question: What facility are you currently housed at?
Caller: Chuckawalla Valley State Prison.
UCI: Okay. And, so, what – so did you say that you guys are housed, you know, up to more than 100 people?
UCI: Like do you think what is going on is okay?
Caller: No, not – not at all. It’s – it – because what – what they – their policy – at least medical’s policy is right now is that they – somebody catches the virus and that’s after, for example, they test – they tested us today. Well, they’re not going to get the results back until probably Monday.
Caller: So if one of us was positive in the building, we just – they just send us back to our building with the 190 something people that are in here, and now we’ve spent – whoever was positive has spent 72 hours exposing everybody in the building.
And, so, while a test is only a snapshot in time as if, okay, were you negative or positive on Friday, that is not necessarily the case for you being negative or positive on Monday.
UCI: Mm-hmm. And what is –
Caller: So –
UCI: And what is troubling you? Like, what’s the most concerning aspect about everything?
Caller: You know, it’s the – mainly it’s – it’s kind of the nonchalance that staff and – has – has with it, you know?
The – at least the custody staff. You know, a lot of the – the officers, they don’t take the virus seriously. They see it as a – a – like they’re – I know that – that part of it is if they catch the virus, then they get, like, 14 days paid leave. And, so, some of them that are younger are out and they don’t care if they get it because they know they’ll be paid for 14 days.
And, so, that puts the entire prison population at whatever prison they’re working at in jeopardy.