Prison masks

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

Caller: The first two months, we didn’t have any PPE and masks or soap or anything like that.

Then a memo came out that they were going to start issuing extra soap. So, for two weeks in a row we got extra soap, an extra bar of soap. And then the PPE, the mask, the prison had to make the mask. They didn’t allow the store-bought mask, the N95, or the surgical masks that they have in their stockpile. That was not brought out for use.

They felt that it would be best to make the mask at the sewing department inside the prison and then distribute it to the 50-something prisons that are in the system. And so that took time. Instead of just using the surgical mask or the N95 mask, they made masks. So, that delayed getting us PPE.

And we all know that washing our hands and wearing a mask was one of the most important things to mitigate the spread. So, that was a delay. So, once they started doing – getting us masks, they realized after five months that those masks are not as good as the masks – the surgical mask and the N95 mask. So, now every day at lunch, I mean, at breakfast. I’m sorry. Every day at breakfast we get a new mask to wear.

And it’s a clean one and it’s a disposable one instead of wearing the same mask month after month that we were, the manufactured PIA masks, Prison Industry Authority, in the sewing department that we didn’t have access to wash or clean, no chemicals to clean the mask with. So, it’s just been one disaster after another.

UCI: And what would make the situation at your facility better?

Caller: I believe that the situation could be made better by having the ability to social distance and some education on how to clean the surfaces and how long the chemicals have to be on the surface before they do work, because the chemicals that we do have are very weak chemicals.

They are not strong chemicals because they’re afraid that some inmate might improperly use them and maybe drink them or try to splash them on an officer or something like that. So, the chemicals that we do have are not –

They’re not the strongest, and we need more cleaning supplies and education on how to properly clean surfaces and stuff, I believe, and that would be a big help on how to social distance.