This story was told by a person incarcerated at Chuckawalla.
Caller: During this whole situation, when it first started, I had a – a free staff worker in the kitchen come up positive. They tested four kitchen workers and they had the whole setup where they could have been quarantined in the chapel and in education.
Instead of quarantining those individuals, they sent them back to four block and those individuals tested positive and got the whole building sick. Instead of quarantining them. Then they started moving people from A yard to B yard in the middle of the night, so more people got sick. And then it’s just been like that the whole time. Nobody’s been wearing masks, off and on.
It’s not enforced. They have a two-tier system where one tier is supposed to be in the day room at a time. They don’t enforce that. Staff wasn’t wearing masks in the whole beginning of this thing. Now they are intermittently and now they’re really starting to press the mask thing because people are pressing the mask thing on them. So we’ll see how that goes. It’s just been – I went out to a colonoscopy and was quarantined for 22 days.
Supposedly you’re not supposed to lose your bed or your job. I lost both. And it took me, like, two to three weeks to get both back. Then I got back to my building. So it’s just been one thing after the other.
UCI: Okay. So how was the COVID situation handled at the beginning compared to how it’s being handled right now?
Caller: How is it right now? Well, right now we have a lot of guys testing positive again in C yard and D yard. The cases jumped to, like, 200 and something. We just had one guy test positive on our building last night. Now they took one of them to quarantine and they took the other one – the other seven guys to A3, which is a – like a hold quarantine building to see if you’re going to test positive or not.
But the guy that actually tested positive came from Wasco State Prison because they’re transferring people in again. So he tested positive when he was here. I don’t know if he got it here or he brought it with him, but another one in three block tested positive and he came from Wasco State Prison also. And, so, they have over 70 cases in three block now once again.
UCI: What do you think would make the situation better at your facility?
Caller: Just basically following the rules, enforcing the rules. There’s no rule enforcement. That’s, like, we’re supposed to be separated. We’re not supposed to be together. Well, when we’re out on the yard, you’ll have five building’s yard crew workers, and three building’s yard crew workers, and we’re out there, our yard crew workers will be out there. When they’re out there, they still let inmates come in and out of the buildings from different buildings which they shouldn’t do.
It’s just follow the rules. Follow the rules that are set down. And, I mean, I can understand because the building we’re in, no matter what, it’s – it – it is what it is. We’re in cubes. Everybody’s close together. We all use the same bathrooms. We all use the same toilets. We’re only three feet away from each other in our cubes. So of course, no matter what, if it gets in here, it’s spreading.
That’s just the way it is.
UCI: How many people do you have for each?
Caller: Each cube?
UCI: Yes, sir.
Caller: Eight people.
Caller: Yeah. And they’re only three feet apart.
Caller: At the most. And like I said, everybody uses the same bathrooms, there’s only two toilets in, like, each thing, there’s only five sinks, everybody uses the same thing. They just put in hand sanitizer things last week. They finally got those in here after all this time, which they said they were going to do in the beginning.
It – it’s like I said, it’s just the whole thing is – a lot of it’s just following the rules, follow the rules, follow the rules, follow the rules.