Pesticides

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at CIW (California Institution for Women).

Today with this COVID-19, it has been quite scary! It is a living thing and with my COPD I have a huge concern. I had a job here working in the kitchen. I worked from 5 a.m. to 9 or later! I was considered a critical worker. At that point I became very scared. I was thinking that I didn’t want to go to work, much less come out of my room. Then I prayed to God and I became at ease.

A week or so later, one of the cooks that came in here to work, came in infected with COVID. At that time, the inmates that worked around that stall were put on quarantine! Let me say that for the record, a lot of people were not wearing their masks properly, nor practicing social distance! You run into and bump into people all the time! I just mentioned to my boss that I was scared to be at work. Then I was told, “if I do not go to work during the pandemic, I would be written up.” I am growing more concerned as more people get COVID! Then I was put on quarantine because of my job and the staff came in with it.

During my quarantine, they decided to spray inside and outside of the unit for bugs with pesticides. Everybody in that unit was able to go outside, however, me and my bunkee were not. They said that because we were quarantined. I strongly said, “I can not be in here while they spray because I have COPD.” Well, they didn’t care and left me in my room! As soon as I could smell the pesticides, I began coughing and choking with a thick saliva (COPD) and I had a medical emergency.

When I was taken out to the TTA, the nurse asked me why did they leave me in the room? I said, “I didn’t have a key to get myself out,” and the staff just said, “No”! So now I get off quarantine and I am scared to go back to work. But I must go or I will get in trouble! One day at work, I ask one of the managers (a man) for a towel to clean, and in his office, he grabs me and rapes me. Then he threatened me that if I told he would hit me and I would go to jail and get a write up. It’s one thing after another at this point.