This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Ironwood.
To whom this may concern,
I am writing to inform you of how CDCR/Ironwood has responded to COVID-19 and its protective policies. I have been housed at Ironwood since my transfer from [redacted]. An attempt to creating a socially distanced environment, and even up to present, Ironwood’s efforts to provide a healthy and safe domain have been mediocre and superficial at best.
From the beginning this compliance with COVID-19 policy has been dictated by Ironwood’s manager and supervisors who are ultimately displaying a nonchalance toward enforcing these policies and continuing to enhance the conditions of this facility where they can.
Instead of being genuinely concerned with building a safe and healthy environment, every request toward that end has been met with resistance, excuses, and an almost indifference to the legitimacy of how it will benefit and effect inmates and staff alike. From our perspective, Ironwood has only sought out ways in which they might deprive us of the few privileges that our circumstances allow, and this is orchestrated by supervisors under the guise of “policy”.
Examples of this abuse: Several months ago, inmates were restricted to the use of every other phone to create social distance, this “policy” was put in place rather than installing partitions. Myself and others submitted complaints on this deprivation and how not being able to communicate effectively with family etc. during this pandemic is causing irreparable damage to the mental and physical health of those involved. My claim was denied, but a month or so later maintenance installed partitions.
Then a new policy was put out citing that all phones would now be available for use, but that 15 minutes between usage would be occupied for cleaning. This because cell block 64 “must sit for 10 minutes” to be effective. This action is obviously an abuse of policy and intended to mock our complaints since nothing was actually intended to provide more access to phones. Under both “policies” there is approximately the same provisions, 160 sign up availabilities for 200 inmates, and this does not consider calls that are missed due to testing, training, or (now) conflict in building meals. I filed a complaint on this policy.
Again, instead of making an effort to compensate for the lack of phone availability and sanitation procedures, Ironwood supervisors have demonstrated that they do not care. Secondly, supervisors and management are condoning a measure of group punishment in confiscation and/or suspending inmate privileges where some can be seen not complying with mask or social distance protocol. Phones have been disinfected, recreation equipment confiscated, and canteen closed as a form of punishment for what amounts to a sporadic defiance perpetrated by a few individuals.
In one instance I approached two sergeants and respectfully asked why they were enabling group punishment tactics instead of using the rules violation process to directly address those in non-compliance. I also indicated that they were intentionally inciting tension and stress in an already difficult time. Both sergeants said, “I can do what I want. Write me up.”
Additionally, quarterly packages are often taking months to be issued, have been damaged and returned without notification or verification and have been issued to the wrong person. We are often relying on hygiene and cleaning products that our families are purchasing to benefit us during this pandemic, and not receiving them in a timely fashion, or at all due to the carelessness of staff, is in many ways disallowing us the ability to keep ourselves clean and safe. Ironwood is not issuing an adequate supply of cleaners or necessary rags, toilet scrubbers or gloves for cell maintenance so we are left to fend for ourselves.